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Exelon creates $36M fund to support minority-owned businesses

Exelon, the parent company of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., on Wednesday announced the creation of its Racial Equity Capital Fund, which aims to use $36 million to help minority businesses obtain capital to fuel growth and spur job opportunities in underserved and under-resourced communities.

The capital fund is expected to invest in numerous businesses throughout Exelon’s service areas, including Maryland, over the next three years, according to a news release. Loan amounts are estimated between $100,000 and $300,000, and equity investments will approach $1 million. It’s not clear how much of the fund will be directed to Maryland businesses.

The fund is intended to support minority businesses, which have historically been denied bank funding in disproportionate numbers and often lack the initial equity and capital to grow and sustain their small businesses.

“Too often, we see small, minority-owned businesses struggle to obtain financial backing to fuel their ideas and innovations, and that problem has only grown worse during the pandemic,” Calvin Butler, CEO of Exelon Utilities, said in the release. “Yet these same entrepreneurs are often the greatest source of economic opportunity in their communities, especially in underserved and under-resourced areas that struggle to attract major service providers, retailers and other community-sustaining employers. With this fund, we can help minority job creators overcome barriers to their growth and success and ensure that the benefits of our post-pandemic economic recovery are shared more equitably.”

Exelon’s utilities business, in partnership with the Exelon Foundation, will fund the program, and it will be managed by RockCreek, a minority- and woman-owned global investment firm, which will independently select the financing recipients  of other parties, the release states.

“RockCreek is excited to partner with Exelon’s utilities to invest the Racial Equity Capital Fund, which will bring much-needed capital to minority businesses to help them grow, create jobs, and strengthen communities in the years and decades to come,” Afsaneh Beschloss, founder and CEO of RockCreek, said in the release.