SBA will invest $1.5 billion in cleantech and technology companies

The U.S. Small Business Administration launched an initiative to invest $1.5 billion in cleantech and technology companies across the country.

The SBA licensed the first nationally-focused Impact Investment Fund, SJF Ventures III LP and will make equity investments in cleantech and technology companies in communities nationwide as part of an initiative to invest up to $1.5 billion in high-growth small businesses.

SBA administrator Karen Mill said the SJF Ventures fund is an important new ally in SBA’s commitment to foster small business growth and job creation in emerging sectors.

“They’re an experienced team that is well-positioned to drive more investment in high growth, positive impact companies,” she said. “We will continue to grow this and other public-private partnerships by licensing more funds and putting more capital in the hands of small business owners to grow and create good jobs.”

SJF Ventures invests growth equity in companies with strong financial, community and environmental results, she said.  SJF’s areas of focus include: efficiency and infrastructure; reuse and recycling; sustainable agriculture and food safety; and technology enhanced services. The initiative will drive funds into the hands of small businesses over the next five years, Mill said, and it provides funding for high-growth companies that will generate not only a financial but also a “social” return by focusing on businesses located in underserved communities or communities facing barriers to capital.

Citi Community Capital, the community development lending and investing group of Citi, is the lead investor in SJF Ventures. The fund is committing up to $75 million of investment capital over the next five years.

The impact investment initiative is part of Startup America, a White House initiative to bring together public and private organizations to accelerate the growth of America’s entrepreneurs. The initiative uses the infrastructure of the SBA’s Small Business Investment Company fund, an established and successful program that operates at no cost to taxpayers. In 2011, the SBIC program provided $2.8 billion of financing to 1,339 U.S. small businesses.

For more information on the impact investment initiative please visit http://www.sba.gov/content/impact-investment-initiative.