About Us

What We Know

According to AEO, if Black-owned businesses were able to reach employment parity with all privately held U.S. firms, close to 600,000 new jobs would be created, and $55 billion would be added to the national economy. Currently, 96 percent of the 2.58 million Black-owned firms are sole proprietors, compared to 81 percent of US firms. But if 380,000 sole proprietor firms — just 15 percent of all Black-owned firms — hired one more person:

  • Black-owned employer firms to nonemployer firms would reach parity with all U.S. firms. 
  • Over 200,000 jobs would be created
  • $33 billion in revenue would be added to our national economy.
  • Could reduce the rate of unemployment in the Black community to 5 percent.
  • Overall revenue of Black-led firms would increase to $22B.

By designing policies, services, funding, and programs to support the goal of 15 percent of Black-owned firms to hire at least one more person.

By offering innovative and flexible financing products, as well as providing powerful technical support, Black-owned firms could grow revenues and create new jobs in their local communities. This reality informs our ‘why’.

AEO Black Tapestry Report

Our Why


We power equitable access and culturally responsive capital, capacity and community to ‘next stage’ Black, brown-led and rural-based businesses across MN to thrive and have long-term sustainable growth.

Our Team

Y Elaine Rasmussen Headshot

Y. Elaine Rasmussen

Founder and CEO

Ms. Y. Elaine Rasmussen is Founder/CEO of Social Impact Strategies Group (SISG) a Black/Native-led certified B-corp social enterprise. SISG provides consultation on operationalizing social impact and racial equity in the finance and philanthropy sector. Rasmussen’s clients include Allianz, Frontier Incubators, Beta.MN, Swift Family Foundation and Greater Twin Cities United Way.

Rasmussen is also the founder of ConnectUP! Institute a social finance and enterprise development innovation center. The Institute offers education workshops for investors & underestimated entrepreneurs, and produces the annual ConnectUP! MN Summit which promotes and grows inclusive and equitable entrepreneur ecosystems that drive positive, sustainable impact grounded in economic justice.

Rasmussen was named 2020 Finance and Commerce’s Top Women in Finance, AARP/Pollen’s 50 Over 50, and is currently a Boston Impact Initiative (BII) Fund-Building fellow. Rasmussen’s board service includes Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI) and serves on the investment committees of Nexus Community Partners and Swift Foundation. Her overarching goal? To move billions of investment dollars into Black/Brown and rural communities.

Ixchel McKinnie Headshot

Ixchel McKinnie

Enterprise Development Director

Ixchel brings her operational and financial experience to ICF. She leads enterprise development for SISG’s Integrated Capital Fund. She is also the Cooperative Development Manager helping to convert businesses into community owned/worker run cooperatives.

With over a decade of experience in banking and training respectively, Ixchel has worked for Rivertown Trading Company, Wells Fargo, and founded her own successful consulting firm.   During her time in the Twin Cities working in social impact, she has consulted with The Coven, was part of the Lunar Startups team, and served as the Interim CEO for the joint venture between Impact Hub and FinnovationLab. 

When she is not doing social impact work, Ixchel is active in the rowing community as a certified coach and referee, engaging Black, Indegenious, and People of Color in the sport.  She has two Yorkies, Sammy and Dexter.

Linda Wang Headshot

Linda Wang

Investment Fellow

Linda Wang is the Investment Fellow. Originally from Oakland, she attends Colgate University where she is majoring in International Relations and double-minoring in Arabic and Writing & Rhetoric. Linda hopes to have a future career in banking and finance and to become an entrepreneur. In her free time, she tries to catch up with friends, watch shows, and explore new hobbies.

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