The Racial Equity Portfolio provides funding to select Black enterprises focused on economic empowerment and social impact in Brazil
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#impactinvesting–NESsT, a global impact investor and venture philanthropist, celebrates the first year of its Racial Equity Initiative in Brazil by welcoming two new enterprises into the portfolio. Supported by Citi Foundation, the Racial Equity Initiative invests in social enterprises creating employment and income opportunities for low-income Black individuals in Brazil.
In Brazil, Black people make up more than half of the country’s population yet constitute close to 75 percent of the country’s low-income and unemployed communities.
Black entrepreneurs in Brazil face systemic obstacles when accessing financial services, which hinders their ability to start and grow businesses – 67 percent of Afro-Brazilians do not have formal jobs, and only 4.7 percent of executives among the country’s 500 largest companies are Black.
The Racial Equity Initiative seeks to address this issue by offering financial support, mentorship, and business assistance to impact-driven enterprises led by Black entrepreneurs. All enterprises receiving support from the Racial Equity Initiative work with people of African descent in Brazil, either in urban or rural areas, including Quilombolas, who consist of communities of Afro-descendants residing in rural territories.
“By equipping Black entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and resources, the Racial Equity Initiative ties back to NESsT’s broader mission of creating an inclusive economy that benefits all members of society,” said Nicole Etchart, CEO and Co-Founder of NESsT. “NESsT’s expertise in social enterprise development combined with the support of Citi Foundation creates a powerful alliance that will drive lasting change.”
NESsT’s Racial Equity Initiative has made significant strides in supporting Black communities in Brazil. To date, enterprises in the Racial Equity portfolio have sustained or created over 5,500 jobs since they joined NESsT. Moreover, these enterprises have trained and upskilled nearly 4,000 individuals, half of whom are from Black communities, in total impacting the lives of more than 13,500 people. NESsT aims to support the portfolio to generate 350 new jobs, contributing to the overall economic growth and development of local communities.
The initiative is welcoming two new social enterprises. Trampay is a technology-based enterprise that offers financial services and essential employment benefits to gig-worker-drivers. The second enterprise, Diaspora.Black, is an Afro-tourism company focused on expanding and diversifying experiences in Brazil’s main tourism destinations. These additions are on top of current portfolio companies, including Movimento Black Money, an innovation hub that enhances economic empowerment for Black people in Brazil, and Maré de Sabores, a social enterprise that provides culinary training and work experience to women in Rio de Janeiro’s Maré slum complex.
NESsT’s continued expansion of the Racial Equity Portfolio in Brazil represents a significant step toward improving financial inclusion and economic empowerment for Black people. With the support of Citi Foundation, NESsT aims to drive sustainable impact in the pursuit of racial equity in Brazil.
NESsT is a catalyst for social enterprises in global emerging markets. NESsT provides financial capital, training and mentoring, and access to markets for a high-impact portfolio of social enterprises that solve critical social problems within marginalized communities across Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America. Since its founding in 1997, NESsT has invested $27M, trained and supported over 30,000 entrepreneurs across 50 countries, and accelerated and financed 236 enterprises sustaining more than 89,000 formal jobs, improving the lives of close to 1.1 million people.
Sabrina Ni, Associate Director of Communications