PORTLAND, Maine, July 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Maine Venture Fund (MVF), a state-sponsored venture capital fund whose board of directors is appointed by the state's governor, announced today that Dr. Brien Walton, a nationally recognized social impact investment strategist, has been appointed to chair the organization's board of directors.
Walton is the first African American to hold that position.
Walton is the CEO of Acadia Capital Management L3C, a nationally certified Community Development Entity (CDE) that advises government agencies, municipal leaders, and social impact funds on leveraging public and private resources that maximize economic growth and permanent job creation in Opportunity Zones and economically distressed communities. He is also the director of the Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business at Husson University, where he has led initiatives analyzing the challenges of Maine's entrepreneurs and developed a collaborative innovation ecosystem between academia and the business community.
Walton was appointed to the MVF board of directors by Maine Governor Janet Mills in 2020. He and the other ten members of the MVF board are responsible for determining how the fund invests in businesses that have the potential for significant growth statewide, regionally, and nationally.
"I am delighted Dr. Walton has agreed to chair the Maine Venture Fund," saidGovernor Janet Mills. "I appointed Brien to the Board because of his vast experience managing a technology-focused venture capital fund and his reputation for creating innovative business strategies for high potential companies. The depth of his knowledge and experience make him an excellent choice to chair the Board and spearhead our efforts to help businesses grow and stay in Maine."
"I want to thank Governor Mills for appointing me to the Maine Venture Fund board and for the opportunity to serve the state," said Walton. "I also want to thank my fellow directors for selecting me to chair the board. As the first African American to serve as the chair of the Maine Venture Fund, I want to encourage entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds to start and grow businesses in Maine or to pursue careers as investment professionals in ways that stimulate regional and national economic growth."
As part of Walton's work with MVF, he engages with the state legislature about banking and financial initiatives. He facilitates collaboration with regional economic development agencies, social impact foundations, state-sponsored venture capital funds throughout New England, and national private equity firms with a social impact focus.
"We're fortunate to have a leader of Dr. Walton's caliber chairing our board of directors," said Joe Powers, Maine Venture Fund's managing director. "We have developed an excellent rapport since he joined the board, and his extensive investment and business development experience make him the ideal person to help maximize the fund's assets for the benefit of all Maine citizens, especially in this era of increased collaboration between state and federal government."
Funded by the state as a revolving "evergreen" fund, MVF has invested over $25.2 million in small businesses since the fund's inception in 1997 and has attracted over $200 million in outside investment into Maine, creating high-quality jobs across the state. MVF has made 155 investments in over 80 companies, which has created over 900 jobs for Maine residents. MVF plans to further expand access to capital, especially for underrepresented founders.
"For more than twenty years, the Maine Venture Fund has helped many small businesses and entrepreneurs across our state turn dreams into reality," said U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) in a joint statement. "The MVF's two decades of service have spurred economic innovation, supported good jobs, and made important contributions to local communities – but there are always new chapters to be written in its story. We congratulate Dr. Brien Walton for his appointment to this important role to bolster Maine's economy, and we look forward to continuing our work in the Senate to promote economic development and job creation as well."
About Maine Venture Fund
Maine Venture Fund invests in dynamic businesses that have the potential for significant growth and impact in Maine. For more information, visit maineventurefund.com. For more on Dr. Brien Walton's background, visit his profile here.