Barclays and NMSDC Team Up to Host Capital Connections at 2024 Minority Business Economic Forum

Access to Capital

Black women in a blue suit at a refreshment table next to a screen that says Barclays.

Last month, at the 2024 Minority Business Economic Forum in Seattle, Barclays and NMSDC teamed up to host a Capital Connections event aimed at creating stronger pathways for MBEs to raise the funds they need to grow and scale their business. It brought together leading minority capital providers, high-performing minority business enterprises, corporate members, and other NMSDC partners to network and hear updates about some of the organizations’ efforts to increase capital for minority-owned businesses. Highlights from the event include:

  • An overview of the Capital Managers Program from former NMSDC entrepreneur in residence and current Nclude Capital CEO, Kurtis Trevan and former NMSDC board member Harvey Butler. Funded by Barclays, it maintains the most comprehensive database of capital firms with an ethnic minority founder and/or a focus on the minority business ecosystem.
  • An update from Totem Enterprise Group president and managing member, Mark Harrison on recent changes to several NMSDC-certification programs, most notably the Growth Initiative Certification, that make it easier for MBEs to access equity financing while maintaining their certification and new advantages for NMSDC-certified private equity firms.
  • A look at Barclays Black Formation Investments (BBFI), a partnership with Zeal Capital Partners formed in 2023 to address the lack of venture capital going to Black founders at the earliest stage. Aran Rudrakumar, Barclays vice president of U.S. principal investments and Stefanie Thomas, Zeal Capital managing director, BBFI shared background on BBFI, some early success stories, and what the future holds for the program.

In addition, participants engaged in a unique networking activity where funders, corporations, and MBEs were asked to provide their perspectives on several topics related to capital opportunities for minority businesses including:

  • Categories that corporate buyers see a greater need for MBE participation (and more capital to support those businesses).
  • Strategies and practices capital firms are pursuing to create greater funding access for minority-owned businesses.

After a robust discussion, which included perspectives from a diverse number of funders and buyers alike, entrepreneurs in the room provided an elevator pitch of their companies. The event concluded with a promise that this was just the beginning of the conversation and that the movement to create greater equity in business financing will continue at future NMSDC events.

To learn more about our efforts to increase capital access for MBEs visit the MBE Center for Accelerated Growth, Innovation, and Resiliency at and the Capital Managers Program at

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