Impact investment fund expanded | Small Business Administration

Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Maria Contreras-Sweet, announced today it has expanded the Impact Investment Fund.

Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Maria Contreras-Sweet, announced today it has expanded the Impact Investment Fund, a feature of the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program.  The SBA is implementing a series of policy changes that promise to broaden access to the fund and strengthen the impact of SBIC’s.

“As head of the SBA, my main goal is to increase access to capital for our nation’s entrepreneurs, especially to our underserved communities. This expansion of the Impact Investment Fund today puts more capital into the hands of entrepreneurs, while offering impact investors a tremendous platform to reach small business owners with innovative ideas,” said Administrator Contreras-Sweet.

The SBA launched the Impact Fund in 2011 as a five-year, $1 billion pilot initiative to capitalize investment funds that seek both financial and social return.  This announcement reaffirms SBA’s commitment to impact investing beyond 2016.  The agency will continue to allocate roughly $200 million of its $4 billion annual investment authority to Impact SBIC’s investing in underserved areas and sectors of national priority.  The detailed policy memo that outlines this new commitment can be found at:

In addition to extending the Impact Investment Fund, SBA has introduced policy changes based on extensive consultation with SBIC Program stakeholders and experts in the impact investment industry.  The major changes include:

Advanced Manufacturing Businesses and SBIR/STTR Recipients Now Eligible: Currently, Impact SBICs must invest 50 percent of their capital in businesses located in underserved communities, the education sector or the clean energy sector.  The new policy will add advanced manufacturing to the list of recognized sectors and allow businesses that have received Small Business Innovation Research (“SBIR”) or Small Business Technology Transfer (“STTR”) grants to become eligible for impact investments.

Incorporating IRIS-based Measurement: Impact SBICs may also now designate their own, self-identified impact investment strategy, but must commit to measure their social, environmental or economic impact using an assessment system based on The Global Impact Investing Network’s Impact Reporting and Investment Standards.

$200 million Restriction Lifted: During the pilot initiative, Impact SBICs were collectively limited to a restricted pool of $200 million in annual SBA-guaranteed leverage commitments.  Under the new policy, Impact SBICs will be able to access leverage on equal footing with Standard SBICs.

SBA anticipates licensing a few new Impact SBICs by the end of the year.  These funds will join the two existing Impact SBICs, Michigan Growth Capital Partners and SJF Ventures III.  Together they manage over $182 million in assets and have invested in seventeen (17) companies that collectively employ about 1,500 people.  Fiber By-Products, a portfolio company of Michigan Growth Capital Partners located in rural White Pigeon, Mich., collects wood waste otherwise destined for the landfill and uses it to produce animal bedding, wood mulch and premium pellet fuel.  Think Through Learning, an impact investment of SJF Ventures III, is an education technology company that provides online instructional systems for schools and students nationwide.  Its flagship product, Think Through Math, helps students master key mathematical concepts and is designed to aid the transition many schools are making to the Common Core Curriculum.

The 290 funds in the SBIC Program portfolio, which collectively manage $21.5 billion in assets, are already focused on increasing investment flows to sectors and regions where capital formation gaps are widest.   Last year, about one-quarter of the American small businesses SBICs financed were owned by minorities, women, and veterans – or conducted business in HUBZones, rural or distressed urban areas and other Competitive Opportunity Gaps.

For more information about the Impact Investment Fund and the SBIC Program, visit

More in Business

Railroads implementing positive track

While the investigation continues into the deadly AMTRAK derailment near Dupont, the clock continues to tick on the implementation of Positive Track Control (PTC). The deadline is Dec. 31, 2018.

Keep the holiday spirit all year long | Don Brunell

During the holidays, our thoughts naturally turn to giving — not just giving gifts, but donating our time and money to charities, disasters and community programs.

Finding balance in occupational licensing

Recently, the Institute for Justice (Institute) determined state licensing barriers for lower-income workers and aspiring entrepreneurs not only hurts people trying to establish themselves in a profession, but annually drives consumer prices up by $203 billion.

Remember 1993

Twenty-five years ago, business took a beating in Olympia. The swing to the left in the 1992 general election was swift and potent. It drove higher costs to employers and more government regulations.

Remembering Ed Carlson, Vietnam POW

Since last Veteran’s Day, Ken Burns’ in-depth documentary on the Vietnam War has aired. It is a powerful reminder of an unpopular war in which many “baby boomers” fought and died.

Rural prosperity essential to Washington

While Seattle is growing rapidly, our rural areas continue to struggle. They don’t have the corporate giants such as Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing creating jobs and economic opportunities. Farms are predominantly family-owned.

Amazon’s plan reminiscent Boeing’s Chicago move

Last year, Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates wrote about the similarities and differences between Boeing’s corporate office move to Chicago and Amazon’s plan for a second headquarters.

LiveLocal98022 meeting cancelled

Bob Green, the night’s speaker, notified the organization he couldn’t attend due to an illness.

Expanded Panama Canal among challenges for Washington Ports

The $5.4 billion spent to expand the Panama Canal is paying off for East Coast and Gulf of Mexico seaports; however, it is putting more pressure on the Northwest to remain competitive.

Players taking a knee hurting the NFL | Don Brunell

On a recent Saturday afternoon in Portland, a young woman stepped onto the playing field at the beginning of the University of Montana vs Portland State football game and started singing our national anthem. She immediately drew a blank on the words and briefly stopped, but as she started apologizing, the fans spontaneously took up the singing.

New metal collecting machine may clean up contaminated waters

There is a new machine being tested in Montana which could decontaminate toxic mine tailings while recovering valuable precious minerals for everyday use.

Workshop will focus on business, social media

All are invited to learn how social media can impact business and how it can be used to create a positive experience for customers.