ACEnet Ventures (AV) is a community development venture fund with a mission to create quality jobs and establish a sustainable economy in Central Appalachia by providing investments and technical assistance to businesses with an emphasis in the food, tourism, manufacturing and technology sectors. AV provides flexible financing and investment for small businesses, which in turn create jobs for low-income residents.
ACEnet Venturesí capital products meet the need for capital where risk is too high for banks and loan funds. Furthermore experienced ACEnet Ventures staff provides comprehensive services to assist the business in its expansion. Products and services include:
Subordinated debt - the fundís primary investment product and meets the need for equity-like capital for growth.
Senior loans - they comprise less than 25% of the portfolio and are administered at a very early stage to businesses with limited or no credit history. These loans are collateralized and priced according to the fundís risk assessment worksheet.
Delayed payments of principle or interest - applied to cases where the delay will help overcome the short-term cash flow or improve profit margins by improving the quality of their sales restructuring debt, or investing in a new manager or team.
AV serves businesses in a 27 county region covering portions of Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Sixteen percent or 125,791 people in the area are living at or below 100% of the federal poverty level. Athens County, Ohio and Lewis, Kentucky have rates over 20% (20.2% and 26.9% respectively).
Over 58% of AV clients have a household income below 80% of the area median income, and unemployment is about 1.5 times the national rate. The fund hopes to alleviate this distress by encouraging new businesses and development through investment and technical assistance.
To date, 36 loans made for a total of $1,754,662.24 invested in the region. With the support of the Calvert Foundationís investment, 205 jobs have been created and retained in the region. By investing in new businesses, AV aids in creating quality jobs that potentially reduce unemployment and increase median income in impoverished communities. ACEnet Ventures in conjunction with ACEnet, Inc. works with over 500 businesses annually to start-up, innovate, and expand.
Aaron Thomas, the owner of Class A Sounds in Athens Ohio, created a successful small business with the help of ACEnet Ventures. Class A Sounds originally only sold car stereo parts, but has expanded to include home theater equiptment as well. Mr. Thomas has been nominated and has won a number of small business awards in the state of Ohio. Full Story