RuralWorks Partners Announces Inaugural RuralWorks Impact Fund to Invest in Growth Stage Rural Businesses

MINNEAPOLIS & MIDDLEBURY, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–RuralWorks Partners, LLC (RuralWorks), a USDA-licensed Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC), today announced the launch of its inaugural fund, RuralWorks Impact Partners 1, L.P. which will back emerging growth stage businesses operating in rural communities in the United States that advance sustainable and regenerative agriculture, forest products, waste stream upcycling, the circular economy, and local and regional food systems.

Eight investors, including Institutions in the Farm Credit System led by CoBank, Compeer Financial, Farm Credit Services of America and AgWest will anchor the fund, which will immediately begin pursuing a significant pipeline of compelling investment opportunities across the rural landscape.

“In addition to CoBank being one of the largest private providers of credit to the U.S. rural economy, we are active RBIC investors and welcome the opportunity to join the RuralWorks Impact Fund as it extends the reach of junior capital into rural America,” said Dave Dornbirer, Vice President – Mission Investments at CoBank. “We believe the Fund’s mission to grow viable businesses while encouraging social outcomes that aim to improve the quality of life for their workforce and the communities in which they operate will make a significant impact on rural small business investment and help drive the continuing rural economic renaissance.”

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) in partnership with Conduit Capital U.S., Inc. (Conduit Capital), launched RuralWorks to create quality jobs, build rural community wealth and economic resilience, and accelerate rural-centric climate solutions by providing resources that help growth stage businesses scale locally.

“We launched RuralWorks in recognition of the need for equity capital for rural businesses at a time of dramatic change and opportunity for rural America,” said Skip Wyer, CIO of RuralWorks. “The digitalization of agriculture, Federal funding of rural broadband, and the recognition of agriculture’s vital role as a climate solution each contributed to our decision to mobilize resources and affect positive change for 60 million rural Americans and their communities.”

In addition to providing access to capital, RuralWorks offers business-building expertise, strategic advisory support, and access to networks and markets to management teams that are often isolated from resources and opportunities that exist in their local communities. The strategy aims to increase the number and quality of jobs in rural communities, promote local community wealth and resilience, and accelerate the impact of climate solutions.

“CRF is committed to providing access and opportunity to small and innovative rural businesses,” said Jennifer Anderson, RuralWorks Board Member and Chief Administrative Officer of CRF. “We view RuralWorks as an important step in enhancing the next generation of rural investors focused on building rural community wealth and resilience.”

Through its other partner, Conduit Capital, RuralWorks will source insights, resources, and networking opportunities to help rural companies grow their businesses and accelerate their impact. “Our ecosystem represents a unique set of resources available to support these businesses,” said Robert Zulkoski, Director of Conduit Capital U.S., Inc. “We look forward to helping deliver an integrated solution that includes knowledge, networks and capital.”

About Community Reinvestment Fund, USA

Founded in 1988, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is a national non-profit organization with a mission to improve lives and strengthen communities through innovative financial solutions. A leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CRF supports mission-driven organizations, increases economic mobility, and builds strong local economies through the development of solutions aimed at creating an equitable financial system. CRF has injected more than $3.5 billion to stimulate job creation and economic development and support community facilities.

About Conduit Capital

Conduit Capital believes in a world where the private sector plays a central role in social change, where impact is at the heart of every investment strategy, and where bold ideas have the resources they need to thrive. Radically collaborative, Conduit Capital leverages the Conduit ecosystem to form strategic, cross-sector partnerships, creating innovative financial products, and sharing knowledge, networks, and capital to maximize impact at every stage. Conduit Capital builds institutional grade, equity and credit, market rate return, growth strategies for private capital to make investments designed to catalyze social and environmental impact at scale by activating capital at scale. By proving the financial viability of innovative impact investment strategies, Conduit Capital is charting a course that others can follow, leading to a more just and resilient world.

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For media inquiries:
Louisa Schibli – for RuralWorks Partners