VSJF launches new flexible capital fund

first_imgThe Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) today announced the launch of the VSJF Flexible Capital Fund, L3C. The fund is the first business-lending program in Vermont focused on royalty financing for growth stage businesses ‘ and one of only two such investment-lending programs of its scale in New England.Using investment tools such as royalty financing and subordinated debt, the VSJF Flexible Capital Fund (Flex Fund) provides small businesses in Vermont with access to the flexible risk capital they need to grow – without having to give up their ownership stake in the company.The Flex Fund is also unique in that it is specifically targeted to support Vermont companies in value-added agricultural, forest products, and clean technology sectors.‘Business owners who can’t find the right match of capital to grow their businesses now have one more option available to them ‘ a flexible, higher-risk debt instrument that won’t force an exit strategy in order to pay back the investor,’ said VSJF Flexible Capital Fund President Janice St. Onge. ‘The Flex Fund provides them with the flexible and patient capital they need, and also offers investors a tangible way to support the growth of Vermont’s green business sectors.’The VSJF created the Flex Fund with the help of a $500,000 federal appropriation secured by US Senator Patrick Leahy in 2010. These funds were leveraged to raise $1.2 million from private accredited investors. The fund is seeking to raise another $2.3 million. When fully capitalized, the VSJF Flexible Capital Fund will have $4 million to invest in projects that benefit Vermont.Current accredited investors in the Flex Fund include foundations, Vermont organizations and private individuals who are looking for ways to invest locally in the Vermont community.‘This isn’t your average low-cost loan, but we’re cheaper than equity,’ said St. Onge. ‘Until now, flexible risk capital at a Vermont scale has been out of reach for many of our small businesses ‘ specifically those in our natural resource and clean technology sectors. The Flex Fund is filling a critical gap in their financing options. They need more choices of flexible capital across the risk continuum to grow and prosper, and now they’ll finally have access to it.’Businesses receiving capital through the Flex Fund also have the added advantage of instant access to the networks, expertise, mentoring services and technical assistance programs of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.‘In that sense, we’re very different from the traditional investment model. We nurture the businesses we lend to every step of the way to ensure a positive outcome – providing the strategic counsel, mentoring and critical infrastructure support that entrepreneurs really need as they grow their businesses.’‘When we were looking for growth capital a few years ago there was nothing like the Flex Fund available,’ said Tom Stearns, founder of High Mowing Seeds in Wolcott. ‘We had to go out ourselves and find the right kind of patient investor that didn’t require us to sell out. It was hard work and took a lot of time and education on our part. The Flex Fund offers another way to link into flexible capital without having to make raising money a full time job!’St. Onge said the VSJF Flexible Capital Fund is now looking for companies in Vermont’s green business sectors who are in need of flexible risk capital, as well as accredited investors who want to see their investments working directly in the Vermont communities they live and work in.About The VSJF Flexible Capital FundThe VSJF Flexible Capital Fund, L3C is a mission-based, low-profit limited liability company, an investment structure that combines the financial advantages of the limited liability company (LLC) with the social advantages of a non-profit entity (501c3) by focusing investment on in socially beneficial, for-profit ventures. It provides near-equity or mezzanine financing to targeted Vermont growth companies in sustainable agriculture and food systems, forest products, renewable energy, waste management and other green economy sectors.The VSJF Flexible Capital Fund is a separate entity created by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF), which develops markets for sustainably produced goods and services to create jobs for the next generation of Vermonters. The VSJF provides grants and technical assistance to entrepreneurs, businesses, and farmers, to accelerate the development of Vermont’s green economy.www.vsjf.org/what-we-do/flexible-capital-fund(link is external)last_img read more

Sports Ministry denies flying supporters to watch final AFCON match

first_imgSports Minister, Mahama Ayariga has denied claims that his ministry sponsored supporters to watch the final match between Ghana and Ivory Coast in Equatorial Guinea last Sunday.He said his ministry had nothing to do with the system which flew some 500 supporters to cheer the Black Stars.Speaking on Peace FMs’ Morning Show ‘Kokrokoo’, Mr Ayariga said “the ministry of Youth and Sports did not spend money on any supporter to go to Equatorial Guinea. We did not make any provision for anybody, not one pesewa from the ministry was approved for anybody to go watch the football.”He said he was only informed about the decision to fly supporters to Equatorial Guinea but is unaware of and does not know what company it was and the processes involved in sponsoring the trip.According to the Minister, the only role he played was to inform the supporters unions to send their documents to the Equatorial Guinea Embassy for processing.Mr Ayariga also denied reports that some supporters who were sent to watch the Ghana – Equatorial Guinea match were stranded after the match and had to spend the night at the Ghanaian Embassy and the ambassador’s house. He explained that the violence that erupted during the game made it impossible for the supporters to return to the airport in time to take the flight back to Ghana.“With that incident that happened at the stadium, we couldn’t leave the stadium. We were held up in the stadium for about 3 hours so the government there had to use security to clear the whole town before we were able to drive to the airport.“By the time our fans drove to the airport, the airline said they could not fly again because there are regulations on how many hours the pilot and crew should sleep and because we had delayed at the stadium, those times had been exhausted and the flight crew had to go and rest; so we could not fly that night”, he continued.The safest place for the supporters in view of the violence that had already occurred was the ambassador’s residence and the embassy, which had been provided with security by the Equato Guinean government, he indicated.He said the supporters were flown back to Ghana the next morning. AFCON Budget Prior to the AFCON tournament, there were several calls on the Sports Minister to release the approved budget before the matches began, but he failed to do so.Editor-in-chief of the Insight Newspaper Kwesi Pratt, yesterday called on the ministry to render a transparent account of the budget to Ghanaians.However, Mr Ayariga said “I refuse to discuss the budget but I will put out the report to the Auditor General and Parliament and it will be made known to the public.”He blamed the media for distracting the ministry from concentrating on its job during the tournament and said that although the distractions had been ignored, they have not relented. The most appropriate thing to do, in his view was to congratulate the players for the patriotism and hard work they displayed at the tournament.“Some people have made it their business to try as hard as they can to take attention away from the great effort of the boys and to see to what extent they can use useful airtime to discuss matters that I thought in other places will not be the subject for discussion.”last_img read more