Passion, Purpose & Finance

Fueling Social Innovation And Impact With Innovation Works

Ignite Capital was established in February 2020 by Innovation Works with a clear and purposeful mission: to invigorate Baltimore's social enterprises located in communities with a history of economic exclusion. By injecting essential social and financial capital into these areas, Ignite Capital spurs economic growth and fosters the redevelopment of neighborhood economies through entrepreneurship. This initiative is grounded in the belief that purpose, passion, and finance are key to nurturing vibrant communities and sustainable businesses.

At the heart of Ignite Capital's founding is the support from early investors who believed in the vision and provided the necessary funding to get the project off the ground. These cornerstone investors include USA East Jesuits, The Wiese Family, Manuscript Christie Charitable Foundation, and Berman McAleer, alongside backing from the Baltimore Small Business Support Fund, which contributed towards our initial Loan Loss Reserve. This financial backing signaled confidence in Ignite Capital's mission and underscored the importance of courageous, collaborative investment in creating meaningful, community-led economic development.

Strengthening Community Through Collaboration:
How Ignite Capital and Innovation Works Partner for Impact

As a subsidiary of Innovation Works, Ignite Capital is grounded in the mission, vision, and strategic direction set forth by its parent company, with a unique capacity to deliver capital education, drive investment, and build a field of like-minded mission- and purpose-driven asset allocators. Innovation Works plays a critical role in deal sourcing,  due diligence, and risk mitigation, providing an initial assessment of prospects’ mission fit, readiness for investment, and appropriateness of funding request. Innovation Works’ and Ignite Capital’s long-term objectives are deeply rooted in an equity framework in order to significantly increase the number of sustainable social enterprises led primarily by Black entrepreneurs in Baltimore.


Our Approach

Our approach is characterized by a commitment to patient, individualized, and below-market-capital that goes beyond traditional investment models. We believe in the power of long-term relationships and the importance of nurturing social enterprises for sustainable impact. Here's how our approach works:

Individualized Support

We recognize that every social enterprise is different, with its own set of strengths and challenges. Our approach involves tailoring our support to your specific needs. We take the time to understand your organization, your goals, and the communities you serve. This individualized approach ensures that our support aligns perfectly with your mission and helps you reach your full potential.

Continued Friendship

Our relationship doesn't end with the investment. We believe in building lasting connections. We're here as friends and partners, not just as investors. We stand by you as you navigate challenges, celebrate your successes, and evolve over time.

Below-Market-Rate Capital

We offer financial support at rates that are designed to be accessible for social enterprises. Our goal is not to maximize returns but to maximize positive impact. By providing below-market-rate capital, we help you allocate more resources towards your social initiatives, strengthening your ability to create positive change.

Mentoring & Support

In addition to financial assistance, we offer mentorship and support from experienced professionals who are passionate about social impact. Our mentorship programs provide guidance and expertise to help you overcome obstacles and thrive.

Patient Capital

We understand that social enterprises often face unique challenges that may require time to overcome. Our patient capital means we are willing to invest in your mission for the long haul. We provide financial support without the pressure of immediate returns, allowing you to focus on your social objectives and build a strong foundation for growth.