Kim Folsom, founder and CEO of Founders First Capital Partners.

Founders First Capital Partners announced its initial close for a $9 million financing that will allow the San Diego based financier to support the growth of underfunded and underrepresented entrepreneurs throughout the United States.

“With this investment (by the Rockefeller Foundation and others), we can greatly increase our reach to diverse business owners who are poised for high growth but aren’t a fit for venture capital or have the assets to meet traditional lending requirements,” said Kim Folsom, Founder and CEO of Founders First Capital Partners.

In an interview with the I’m There for You Baby podcast, Folsom talked about the obstacles she has overcome as a Black woman on her entrepreneurial journey that led her to start seven companies.

“When I was an undergraduate, I knew that I wanted to start a business like Bill Gates and Ted Turner,” said Folsom. “I saw that it was the only way that I would ever enter the C-suite (executive level)…It took me eight years after college. There wasn’t diversity and inclusion or affirmative action. I knew that I had to use a different playbook because the folks who were writing checks to tech entrepreneurs were used to a different demographic.”

Folsom started her first company as a “side hustle” during the dot-com area, and it was profitable before she raised any outside capital. She was fortunate that she and her husband owned their house, and the bank required them to pledge their house and all their other assets in order to obtain a $100,000 loan.

Founders First is Folsom’s seventh venture. “I would speak to so many programs, and it was a common thread that I was the only Black woman, the only minority. There are so many other talented women (and BIPOC entrepreneurs) who need access to opportunity to scale their business,” she said on the podcast interview.

Founders First focuses on BIPOC-owned service based and light manufacturing companies that repay their loans through pledging a percentage of their revenue. BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color.

Barbara Bry and her husband Neil Senturia host a podcast on innovation and entrepreneurship, I’m There for You Baby, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to the Galaxy.

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