2021 Grants Challenge

MINT100 Voices of LA: Diversifying Entrepreneurial Impact

Idea by Mint inc.

MINT100 project is a video series that combines storytelling and research to increase the visibility and amplify the voices of entrepreneurs of color in the eyes of those with the ability to provide funding. Over the course of one year, we will identify, connect with, and share the journeys of 100 entrepreneurs of color based in LA County. We will base our project on researching facts and statistics on the ROI that a funding provider would gain by funding a diverse group of entrepreneurs while documenting the MINT100 through video interviews.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

A study released in 2020 by Rate My Investor and Diversity VC was done looking at the top 100 U.S. VC firms by deal activity and the 3,304 companies they invested in. The study showed that 25% of the startups that received funding were Asian, 1.3% Latinx, and 1.7% Black. And of all of the founders, only 10.7% were women. The funding disparity has only become more glaring during the COVID-19 pandemic as Black and Latinx-owned businesses have faced the heaviest amount of revenue loss in Los Angeles County. This would lead some to think that the small percentage of funding directed towards businesses of color must be due to their lack of success. Well according to a study by the Small Business Majority Organization published in 2021, the nearly 8 million businesses owned by people of color have generated $1.4 trillion in revenue and employ more than 7 million people. The problem is not ability. The problem is visibility.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

This grant will support increasing the visibility of a diverse and successful demographic of entrepreneurs impacting Los Angeles County. Through research-based visual storytelling, investors will see, beyond the numbers, the return that investing in entrepreneurs of color can have for themselves and the community. Over the course of the grant year, we will identify, connect with, and share the journeys of 100 entrepreneurs of color based in LA County while compiling data and facts on the success of their businesses to present to potential investors. A unique aspect to this project is the intention to work with LA County community college students to intern on this project. To identify the MINT100, we will hire a Communications major to develop a campaign that will be a call for entrepreneurs to be considered for this project. After choosing the MINT100, we will connect them with Business major students that we hired to gather quantitative data on their success. In order to share the quantitative data and also the qualitative data, which is the entrepreneurs’ personal stories, we will put out another call to find a LA County-based videography team of color that will film and edit short interviews of the MINT100 under the direction of a hired Film student. The MINT100 project is bringing a community-based approach to increasing funding diversity.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 112

Indirect Impact: 6,000,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

LA County can become the center of a diversely impactful funding hub and the MINT100 project will be the catalyst for this change. Through the success of this project, 100 entrepreneurs of color, multiple LA County based community college students, and every person that views the video series will be a part of a shift in the culture of private investment funding allocation. The top 100 U.S. VC firms by deal activity accounted for $68 billion in funding with only 3% of that going to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. In LA, the total funding received for all founders in the U.S. was 4.2% in comparison to 35.3% according to the 2020 study by Rate My Investor and Diversity VC. Shining a light and increasing visibility of the MINT100 entrepreneurs in LA County will increase the percentage of funding being funneled into our county in the long-term while driving local customers and supporters to the businesses in the short-term which will directly impact the economy of the county as a whole.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

For this proposed MINT100 project, we will define and measure success by the reach that the video series produces in terms of viewers as well as the dollar amount in funding access that the MINT100 entrepreneurs are connected to during the course of the project. We believe that the more individuals that view the stories of the MINT100, the more normalized it will be for people to see and expect excellence associated with entrepreneurs of color. We also believe that opening the door to as much direct funding access as possible to the MINT100 will allow them to have the opportunity to create even more impact in LA county through their businesses.

Which of the CREATE metrics will you impact?​

Global cultural and economic influence (“soft power”)

Minority- and women-owned businesses

Venture capital investment

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to LEARN