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Indiana-based organization looks to close minority business wealth gap

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A group of investors is working to close the wealth gap for entrepreneurs in Indiana.

The Minority Entrepreneurship Institute (MEI) is the organization behind this push. Founded In Fort Wayne, its work has helped feed millions of dollars into startup minority businesses. Supporters said the pandemic did a number on small business, and this is a tool to build them back up.

For many businesses, all they need is one investor to take a chance. But for many Black and minority owned startups, that’s a far-fetched idea — especially if you live in middle America.

“I don’t think anyone is going to be as motivated as we are to see that our parents and ourselves when we enter those ages have the care that we need so that we don’t repeat mistakes of the past,” said Raymond Fraser.

He’s in the startup phase for Vital View Technology — it’s a health tech startup that’s hoping to create a medical device to improve outcomes for health failure patients, while improving costs.

“MEI was one of the first to step up and say, ‘Hey, we want to be on that table and we want to help you achieve that goal,’” he said.

He said getting investors’ support is a little easier for people living on the west or east coast. But for the Midwest startups, it’s not always as easy.

MEI is working to improve those odds.

Nick Turner, Deliverend owner, was one of the finalist in the 2019 Indiana Showcase, which is an annual pitch competition for Black, Latinx and female entrepreneurs.

“Where I’m from, there’s not many success stories that are out there, especially in the Black community,” said Turner.

He said MEI is inclusive and creates a bridge for financial success. He says investors who get on board early are typically far and few in between, but the investor forum is bringing together dozens who could potentially help guide the next round of local minority entrepreneurs forward.