Augusta Business Daily

Fri, September 22, 2023

New York investment firm provides major funding for Paine College

A local college can now stay afloat and has the potential to grow, thanks to a multimillion-dollar investment from a New York-based impact investment firm that supports small businesses in rural and underserved communities throughout the United States, including Georgia.

Paine College, a historically black college located in downtown Augusta, received financing from Enhanced Capital Group’s impact fund in December 2021.

For many years, Paine has struggled with financial problems. The college has used this funding to restructure its current debts and free up cash, according to the company’s Georgia Director, Doug Beekman.

“They’re at or ahead of the plans they gave us,” Beekman said. “From our perspective, Paine College is in a great position to offer value to its students.”

He said the college will use the remainder of the funds to make repairs and renovate campus buildings.

“Their enrollment should increase each fall,” Beekman said. “They are back and stronger than ever.”

They have made other investments throughout the state, which is how the company learned about the college’s declining enrollment and significant financial needs. The total amount invested in state projects so far is nearly $60 million.

Enhanced Capital Chief Impact Officer, Gingee Prince said the firm has invested in 46 small businesses throughout the United States, creating more than 7,600 jobs. In Georgia, most of these investments have been made through the Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act.

The firm has invested in businesses throughout the state, including Statesboro, Helen, and Bluffton. One of the businesses is Soap Creek Marina in Lincolnton.

“These investments have ranged from $250,000 to $4 million,” Prince said.

Beekman said all GARJA funding has been used, but they will continue to support projects through impact funding. The firm only invests in projects that can’t be financed by banks.

“We look for reasons to say yes,” he said.

So far, Paine College is the only HBCU the firm has supported, but Beekman said they’re open to the idea of more. Enhanced Capital was founded in 1999.

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