San Diego Business Journal

San Diego-based investment firm, Founders First Capital Partners announced it has launched the San Diego Clydesdale Community Leaders Program with a $500,000 combined grant.

Pacific Western Bank is a leading sponsor of the Clydesdale program, among other community and bank contributors.

Growth-Oriented Entrepreneurship

“We are thrilled to help position San Diego as a center for growth-oriented entrepreneurship by continuing to have a significant impact in using best practices, experience, and leveraging combined expertise to guide and implement a deliberate, sequenced, and prioritized small business development strategy,” said Kim Folsom, CEO of Founders First Capital Partners. “We are super excited to have the support of Pacific Western Bank as a leading sponsor of the Clydesdale program.”

Founded in 2015, Founders First Capital Partners is a firm investing in revenue generating small businesses led by underrepresented founders.

The San Diego Clydesdale Community Leaders Program will include a 24 month intensive transformational growth program.

Participating companies will have access to new minority small business contracts averaging $75,000 per year with corporations and government organizations to help support growth.

In addition, the chosen companies will have access to flexible revenue-based business growth loans of $10,000 to $25,000.

Four-Phase Program

The four-phase program kicks off with a 60 day workshop curriculum taught virtually with small groups and individual coaching sessions. The small business owners are expected to average 25% growth year-over-year.

“We’re specifically focusing on one of the most vulnerable groups of business owners and businesses. Helping them with their business and financial health  —  it’s not a do-it-yourself type of deal,” said Folsom.

In an effort to create a generational impact, the firm is also collaborating with Rhymes with Reason, to educate 500 5th grade students at the Monarch School in San Diego.

The 5th grade students and their families will participate in youth entrepreneurship and a financial literacy program to expose and educate them about concepts related to local economic development and small business leadership.

In particular, the program will also expose the students to entrepreneurial concepts and financial terminology through vocabulary found in popular music.

Austin Martin, founder of Rhymes with Reason, said he is excited to partner with Founders First to provide a culturally relevant introduction to the world of business for students from marginalized backgrounds.

Collaboration

“Our young people are capable and brilliant; but largely lack exposure, lack tools that are designed with them in mind, and aren’t challenged enough by what they are learning,” said Martin. “This collaboration changes this in a boldly intentional way.”

The students who demonstrate the highest level of mastery of the vocabulary, as shown through their completion of various exercises and quiz questions within the module, will also serve as junior judges for the program’s pitch competition.

Folsom said the demand for this program has extended beyond the region, with over 20 additional cities requesting a similar program be implemented nationally. The founders joining the first cohort will be announced later this month.

More than 300 Companies

To date, Founders First Capital Partners has helped more than 300 companies grow revenues in excess of $130 million. In addition, companies that have graduated from its programs have raised over $20 million in capital.

More notably, over 70% of its total portfolio companies that have gone through its program have experienced 25% growth year over year.

The firm has offices in San Diego, Chicago, Dallas and Austin, Texas. With plans to expand to Miami, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania as early as next year.

“We actively work to improve the well-being of those we serve by committing financial and human resources in San Diego County and throughout the state of California and beyond,” said Folsom.

In 2019, the firm secured a $100 million credit facility to use to make 500 investments over the next five years. The company also received a portion of the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA) $10 million fund.