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New Loyola Angels Fund will support venture capital education and Baltimore businesses

| By Jessica Goldstein
Members of the 2020-2021 cohort of the Loyola Baltipreneurs Accelerator, advisors, and mentors at the Terra Café in July 2021

Loyola University Maryland has created the Loyola Angels Fund, which supports the launch of a yearlong interdisciplinary undergraduate learning opportunity that ultimately provides student innovators with angel investment experience while serving as a funding vehicle for local under-resourced entrepreneurs, especially Baltimore-based Black-, Brown-, and female-owned businesses. Loyola recently expanded its fundraising goal, from $100,000 to $250,000, for the charitable fund.

The new courses in the yearlong program, offered by the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CI&E), will launch in the academic year 2022-23, with the first investment recommendations to be made by student angel investors in spring 2023. The Loyola Angels Fund will specifically provide capital for the investments in Maryland ventures. The fundraising campaign, launched in spring 2020, has almost met its initial goal of $100,000 and seeks to raise the additional $150,000 by December 2021.

“I’m proud to continue supporting the growth and expansion of Loyola's inspirational Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship through the new Loyola Angels Fund,” said Tim Frank, MBA, ’85, a founding donor of the CI&E and the Loyola Angels Fund. “The Loyola Angels Fund takes the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship to the next level of nurturing our student innovators through hands-on experiences while investing not only in local talent but in the future of Baltimore.”

“The new Loyola Angels program sets itself apart from venture classroom experiences across the country,” said Wendy Bolger, founding director of Loyola’s CI&E. “We’re proud that Loyola’s program takes a unique multidisciplinary course approach at the undergraduate level while addressing historic disparities in funding opportunities for women and entrepreneurs of color.”

Open to all students, the fall introductory course will be cross-listed between the interdisciplinary minors in Innovation & Entrepreneurship and African and African American Studies. The course will focus on the history and experience of female and Black entrepreneurs and how angel investment can help create economic and social benefits for these entrepreneurs and their communities, especially redlined communities subject to racist policies and systemic inequality in wealth creation and access to capital.

Bill Romani, Ph.D., entrepreneur in residence, and Raenita Fenner, Ph.D., associate professor of engineering and director of the African and African American History minor, were recently awarded a $13,818 grant from the American Jesuit Colleges and Universities Business School Deans in sponsorship with the International Association of Jesuit Universities to create materials for five video-based learning modules to support the creation of this groundbreaking new course. “Stories, Context, and Lived Experiences of the Black Entrepreneur” is in collaboration with the Office of Digital Teaching and Learning, GreyComm Studios, and the Rev. Timothy Brown, S.J., special assistant for mission integration.

Students from the fall course can apply to take the second semester applied angel investing course. The class will teach students how to conduct due diligence on early-stage ventures, the role of effectuation in successful startups, and generally how the angel investment process works. By the end of the year, students will make investment recommendations of approximately $10,000-15,000 per company to the managers of the Loyola Angels Fund, with eventual returns plowing back into the fund.

The two courses will be taught by an affiliate faculty member with industry expertise in investment and social wealth creation.

“Loyola and our supporters want to put their capital to work in line with their values and to be a force for transformation in Baltimore and beyond,” said Brian Oakes, '99, MBA, '10, associate vice president of advancement. “The Loyola Angels Fund is the perfect opportunity to embrace the University’s commitment to inspiring our students to learn, innovate, lead, and serve in a diverse and changing world.”

If you are interested in learning about how to contribute to the Loyola Angels Fund, please contact Kevin Kalis, director of development, at kjkalis@loyola.edu.

Pictured above are members of the 2020-2021 cohort of the Loyola Baltipreneurs Accelerator, advisors, and mentors at the Terra Café in July 2021. Baltipreneurs will be among the Maryland ventures eligible for investments from the fund.

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