CLEVELAND, Jan. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Fresh off his appointment to the newly formed National Venture NVCA Diversity Task Force, JumpStart Inc. CEO Ray Leach has been invited to serve as a panelist at next week's 18th Annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit in New York.
Founded in 1996 by Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., and the Citizenship Education Fund, the Wall Street Project challenges corporate America to end the multi-billion dollar trade deficit with minority vendors and consumers and works to assure equal opportunity for diverse employees, entrepreneurs and consumers.
Leach will join leaders from the New York Venture Capital Association, Golden Seeds, ff Venture Capital, and StarVest Partners to explore diversity and access to venture capital during a panel discussion at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 13, at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. Executives from Intel, General Motors and Wells Fargo will also be present at the summit. More information about the event is available at www.rainbowpushwallstreetproject.org.
The NVCA Diversity Task Force was recently formed to examine the lack of diversity in the venture capital industry and develop a clear and measurable path to increase opportunities for women and men of diverse backgrounds to thrive in the entrepreneurial world.
According to a joint 2011 survey conducted by the NVCA and Dow Jones VentureSource, nearly 90 percent of all current venture capital investors are Caucasian men and only 2 percent are African American.
"While accessing venture capital can be challenging for individuals of all backgrounds, we are committed to understanding the reasons behind these unacceptable statistics and to finding solutions that enable more African Americans and Latinos to play a significant role in the venture capital ecosystem in 2015 and for years to come," said Leach.
NVCA President and CEO Bobby Franklin added, "NVCA and our member firms play a key role shaping the culture of inclusion in the innovation ecosystem. Over the last decade, Ray Leach and JumpStart has made diversity a major part of its mission. Ray's experience brings valuable insight to the NVCA Diversity Task Force and this important national conversation about making the venture capital industry more diverse."
JumpStart has made a deep and ongoing commitment to diversity in Northeast Ohio by seeking out diverse board leadership and service providers, employing inclusive hiring practices and increasing entrepreneurial opportunities for traditionally disconnected audiences. To date, JumpStart has assisted 156 diverse companies in the region – companies owned, controlled or led by women or minorities. These companies have raised more than $180 million in capital, generated nearly $55 million in revenue and created more than 280 direct jobs.
JumpStart is widely acclaimed for its unique "embedded inclusion" strategy. As the head of the organization's diversity efforts, Principal of Inclusion Gloria Ware provides strategic leadership and day-to-day planning; however, all departments and employees at JumpStart also create their own inclusion goals, which are tied directly to overall organizational performance metrics, ensuring that inclusive thinking becomes a major part of everyone's job.
"The mission of the NVCA task force is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do," said Ware. "If we want to be globally competitive, we need diverse, innovative leaders bringing their voices and ideas to bear."
Leach joins an experienced group of professionals on the task force, including Kate Mitchell (Co-Chair) of Scale Venture Partners, Ashton Newhall (Co-Chair) of Greenspring Associates, Scott Sandell (Chairman of the NVCA Board of Directors) of New Enterprise Associates, Jon Callaghan (Chairman-Elect of the NVCA Board of Directors) of True Ventures, Maria Cirino of .406 Ventures, Venky Ganesan of Menlo Ventures, Scott Kupor of Andreessen Horowitz, Terry McGuire of Polaris Partners, Art Pappas of Pappas Ventures and Sue Siegel of GE Ventures.
The group will begin its work by convening a series of public events in 2015 to gather new ideas and new perspectives on fostering more inclusion in the venture capital and entrepreneurial spaces.
About Ray Leach
JumpStart CEO and NVCA board member Ray Leach began his career at IBM before founding and bootstrapping two startup companies, both of which were sold to Multigraphics Inc. in 1997. In 2000, he founded Capella Investments, Inc., an investment and management consulting firm focused on startup IT companies. Along with serving on the board of directors for NVCA Ray also served as a founding member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship convened by the U.S. Commerce Department in 2010 and is considered one of the country's leading experts related to the intersections of inclusive economic development, entrepreneurship and venture capital.
About the NVCA
As the voice of the U.S. venture capital community, the NVCA empowers its members and the entrepreneurs they fund by advocating for policies that encourage innovation and reward long-term investment. As the venture community's preeminent trade association, the NVCA serves as the definitive resource for venture capital data and unites its nearly 400 members through a full range of professional services. For more information, visit www.nvca.org.
About JumpStart Inc.
JumpStart is committed to strengthening the economy through entrepreneurship. The nonprofit has been accelerating the successes of diverse entrepreneurs, their high growth companies and the ecosystems that support them since 2004. For more information, visit www.jumpstartinc.org and follow @JumpStartInc on Twitter.
SOURCE JumpStart Inc.