Oakland, CA — ICA is thrilled to announce our latest round of seed capital investments in Bay Area small businesses. ICA is an accelerator and not-for-profit investment fund that partners with local businesses founded by women and people of color to scale their businesses and create good jobs. Each of these new seed capital recipients were selected after participating in the Lab at ICA, our seed-level business mentorship program. These investments were made using the ICA Impact Note, ICA’s innovative investment structure that helps entrepreneurs prioritize growing good jobs, by achieving metrics like workforce diversity and employee wealth creation.
“Each of these four founders have already built impactful businesses that serve our local community. We’re excited about their growth potential and look forward to partnering with these founders for a long time to come.” — Princess Aghayere, ICA Investment Analyst and Seed Capital project lead
Learn more about 5 Element Foods, Bolita, P. Harrell Wines, and Ziva Naseer, the latest recipients of ICA Growth Fund seed capital.
5 Element Food Therapy
5 Element Food Therapy takes a holistic nutritional approach to health and healing for dogs and cats. Their products are designed to help improve and maintain wellness in cats and dogs by adding whole food supplements to their regular daily diet.
Founder: Sharon Tuggle (And we couldn’t do it without team member Alli Moses, our chef as well as the operating and marketing lead!)
What's next for 5 Element Food Therapy in 2023: This year we’re looking to expand from our flagship location in Jack London Square into another local retail location, as well as grow our statewide reach through more retail partnerships.
Most impactful learning with ICA: Getting to know my finances better was an eye opener. I’m in this business because I love cooking and feeding animals, this part of my business doesn’t come as naturally. I’m continuing to spend this year really getting to know my numbers, and it was working with ICA that awakened me to how important this is.
What ICA Impact Note metrics are you focused on achieving: I have the best employees, and it’s really important for me to take care of them. In 2023, I’ll be hiring more employees and I’m working to get health insurance and 401K plans going for our team.
Why healthy pet food matters: Pets are our family members, we have to really consider expanding their bowl, expanding the foods we feed them. Our pets need probiotics, bone broths, protein from animal sources and fresh fruits and vegetables. We have to think about feeding them differently and feeding them better. We either pay for better food, or we’ll pay for treatment at the vet. If we feed them better, we can love them longer.
Bolita offers fresh stone-ground masa, hand-pressed tortillas and other Mexican food products that showcase the diversity of Mexican landrace corn and the art of working with fresh masa.
Founder: Emmanuel Galvan
What's next for Bolita in 2023: We are moving into a larger production facility so we can increase volume to meet the demand for our masa. This year we’ll be growing into more farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and other retail locations. I’ll also be offering more opportunities to learn about masa and experience our food at pop-up dinners, classes, and workshops. We’ll also be investing in a new molino (corn mill) to increase production and make our product more accessible across the Bay Area.
Most impactful learning with ICA: Community. After working with ICA, I understand the necessity of building and activating a community around your business, and getting support as a founder of a small business.
What ICA Impact Note metrics are you focused on achieving: This year we’re focused on creating 2-3 more jobs with Bolita. It’s important to me that these jobs have equitable wages and that we’re building towards a profit-sharing model for workers. Additionally, a big part of my purpose behind this business is connecting with Latinx communities. Whenever I can I work to support Latinx-owned farms to keep money and resources in our community
P. Harrell Wines
P. Harrell Wines is a Black & Latina Woman-owned boutique wine company committed to making high quality yet approachable wines, to be enjoyed by the novice and connoisseur alike.
Founder & Vinter: Paula Harrell
What's next for P. Harrell Wines in 2023: Expanding to additional airlines, adding two more varieties to our portfolio, tripling our wine club membership, implementing a sales ambassador program
Most impactful learning with ICA: The content of the program, and the knowledge, support and feedback from the ICA team
What ICA Impact Note metrics are you focused on achieving: Creating at least one full time job prior to conversion, but in the interim, creating at least 3 part time jobs in 2023. Also, developing a board of directors with people representing diverse demographics.
Ziva Naseer is a luxury mosaic handbag brand established in Abu Dhabi, and based in Oakland, CA. Our bags are made with meticulous attention to detail and feature vibrant colors and intricate designs.
Founder: Dominique Waters
How Ziva Naseer got started: Before starting Ziva Naseer I was a math lecturer at the college level and my big passion was bringing women into STEM careers. This work took a lot of creativity, finding ways to encourage my students to be bold. It was through this that I really motivated myself to follow my dreams to work in fashion and be a business owner. I kept finding opportunities, asking questions, and slowly built up business.
What's next for Ziva Naseer in 2023: Our big goal for 2023 is to enter the retail market with high-end retail department stores nationwide. The first step is entering trade shows around the country and we're thrilled to be doing our first trade show in Las Vegas this February! Thanks to ICA, I've met people in our industry who are helping me get to this next level.
Most impactful learning with ICA: One of the most impactful lessons during my time in the Lab at ICA, was that you need to have a really good relationship with your finances and understand your money to run a successful business. Money is a tool that helps you get to where you need to go. Another incredible part of the program was getting access to the people and spaces that can move your business forward, and it would always be in a low-pressure situation that helped us grow our networks. These connections, and the community we built, were a huge take away from the program.
What ICA Impact Note metrics are you focused on achieving: We've been growing our team and our goal for 2023 is to create two full-time jobs with benefits and healthcare. ICA helped me see a clear pathway to make this a reality. It's important to me to really take care of my employees and make sure they are growing their career by creating environments and roles where we can all lead and learn.
ICA seed capital grows economic justice
ICA’s seed capital bridges a financing gap for early-stage businesses that are systemically overlooked by mainstream funders. These founders may lack access to “friends and family” financing and can only have access to high-cost debt options. With seed capital, these businesses get the option of equity for much-needed flexibility and growth capacity. ICA seed capital is available to companies who have been mentored through ICA's accelerator programs.
As a nonprofit venture capital community development financial institution (CDFI), ICA makes investments that support our vision of building an economy that works for all. Equity financing from the ICA Growth Fund is paired with business coaching and advising through the Accelerator at ICA and Lab at ICA. Through ICA's coaching, capital, and connections, we help great Bay Area businesses grow so they can create good jobs and shared wealth in our communities. Join us — Learn more about investing with ICA.
In the news:
ICA Growth Fund backs four Black and Latinx businesses with ‘impact notes', Impact Alpha, January 31, 2023