Kresge-backed fund aimed at removing systemic barriers to Detroit’s minority real estate developers
Ebiara, a new fund designed to provide early-stage capital and litigation support so minority-owned development companies can increase their impact in Detroit’s growing economy, was launched today by nonprofit economic growth organization Invest Detroit in partnership with consulting firm URGE Imprint and funding from The Kresge Foundation.
Emerging Detroit developers, particularly minorities, are struggling to access capital to start scalable real estate development firms, resulting in developers looking only for project financing. Ebiara, a fully backed lending fund, is attempting to bridge this gap by helping Black and Brown-owned development firms improve operational capacity, build a transaction pipeline and secure the best talent available.
“Ebiara exists to help address the challenges minority developers face to grow their businesses – from accessing capital to securing talent and resources,” said Roderick Hardamon, CEO and chief strategist at URGE Imprint. “Ebiara wants to be a partner for real estate development companies looking to increase their impact in Detroit. As the ecosystem has evolved to lower the barrier to entry into real estate development, more work is needed to crack the code to scalability.”
Behind a $10 million programmatic investment from Kresge’s social investment practice, the $11 million Ebiara fund relies on three primary support tools: a low-cost alternative to equity as early-stage capital for the developer, coaching and technical support to help navigate city processes and ensure project completion and access to assets. In its first two-year pilot phase, Ebiara intends to work with about 10 developers and support US$100-200 million in new development activities.
“Ebiara is an extension of Invest Detroit’s commitment to ensuring equitable growth in Detroit’s economy,” said Keona Cowan, executive vice president of lending at Invest Detroit. “It helps leverage other existing Invest Detroit programs and neighborhood efforts while creating growth paths for development firms that are committed to and representative of Detroit.”
Although there are similar programs in other markets, Ebiara is unique in Detroit, offers a lower cost of capital and is more inclusive of earlier stage companies.
“Detroit’s minority-led developers need better access to capital on their balance sheets to bid for and bid on public projects and community development in the Detroit neighborhoods where they live and work,” said Tosha Tabron, a Social Investment Associate at the Kresge Foundation. “The status quo of restricted access to capital is unacceptable. It greatly reduces these developers’ ability to accumulate wealth and hinders their efforts to advance Detroit neighborhoods. This fund addresses both of these issues directly and is one of several city funds that Kresge is working with partners like Invest Detroit to build.”
“This fund will go a long way in creating more opportunities for color developers in our city,” said Donald Rencher, group leader for housing, planning and development for the City of Detroit. “I thank Invest Detroit, URGE Imprint and the Kresge Foundation for their commitment to improving equity and addressing under-representation in Detroit’s growth and revitalization efforts.”
For more informationsvisit Ebiara.com.
About Invest Detroit
Invest Detroit is a not-for-profit lender, investor and partner that supports business and real estate projects that will propel economic growth in Detroit and the region. Their goal is to increase density and employment opportunities in a strategic and inclusive manner. Learn more at www.InvestDetroit.com.
About URGE Imprint
URGE Imprint is an integrated boutique management consulting firm headquartered in Detroit, MI. URGE focuses on helping clients advance and implement ideas across three distinct practice areas – Public Sector, High Growth SMEs and Real Estate. URGE’s approach is based on intellectual stimulation rooted in open and thoughtful communication, meaningful change and a commitment to partnership.