General Mills announced that its venture capital arm, 301 INC, will invest a combined $15 million into two funds. These early-stage venture capital funds are Fearless Fund and Supply Change Capital. These investments are part of General Mills’ commitment to standing for good and promoting racial and gender equity in representation through economic opportunities for minority and female food entrepreneurs. They focus on supporting founders from underrepresented groups for food-related businesses that drive systemic impact and financial returns.
- Fearless Fund, a fund built by women of color, invests in women-of-color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed-level or series A financing. Its mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies.
- Supply Change Capital, a women- and Latina-powered venture firm, invests at the intersection of food, culture and technology. The firm catalyzes early-stage food and food tech founders with a focus on sustainability, health and diversity.
Thoughts from leaders
“We experience firsthand the expertise and passion of the diverse and female founders within our 301 INC portfolio. Yet, there is a systemic gap for minority food entrepreneurs looking for early-stage venture capital funding,” said Doug Martin, chief brand and disruptive growth officer, General Mills. “We’re excited to join forces with these amazing partners to uncover and accelerate more founders at earlier stages. Closing this gap means more great innovation in our food system. From new concepts to emerging food technologies, we need more inclusive cycles of opportunity for entrepreneurs, companies and communities.”
301 INC and General Mills are committed to using their scale and expertise to improve equity in food access and representation. Since the reorganization of General Mills’ corporate venture capabilities into a Disruptive Growth organization in June 2021, approximately 80 percent of 301 INC investment dollars have gone to minority-led or female-led food businesses. These businesses include Grub Market, Pet Plate and Everything Legendary.
Perspectives from Fearless Fund and Supply Change Capital
“Access to capital is one of the most prominent hurdles to women of color reaching their potential as founders. This is a hurdle for women of color despite excellent track records in building successful businesses built on great ideas,” says Arian Simone, general partner and co-founder, Fearless Fund. “We are thrilled to grant General Mills investment dollars to women of color who are looking to cook up the next revolutionary culinary brand.”
“Food and food systems are at the heart of our culture and economy,” says Noramay Cadena, co-founder and managing partner, Supply Change Capital. “As the multicultural consumer population in the U.S. grows, we are focused on unlocking changes in the venture ecosystem. We want to infuse women and people of color with the capital they need to shape our future food landscape. We’re thrilled to have the support of General Mills in our network.”
General Mills’ commitment to fostering job creation and economic development through supplier diversity
General Mills remains committed to establishing relationships with certified diverse suppliers in the U.S. for more than 50 years. In 2021, the company launched a sponsorship program funding diverse small businesses in attaining their Diverse Business Enterprise Certification.
About General Mills
General Mills makes food the world loves. Its Accelerate strategy drives shareholder value by boldly building its brands, relentlessly innovating, unleashing its scale and being a force for good. Its portfolio of beloved brands includes household names such as Cheerios, Nature Valley, Blue Buffalo, Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Annie’s, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills generated fiscal 2021 net sales of U.S. $18.1 billion. In addition, the company’s share of non-consolidated joint venture net sales totaled U.S. $1.1 billion.
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