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04/26/2022

General Mills Invests $15M to Support Minority & Female Entrepreneurs

The investment is part of the company's commitment to "standing for good and promoting racial and gender equity."
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MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills' venture capital arm, 301 INC, will invest a combined $15 million in the Fearless Fund and Supply Change Capital. The venture capital fund investment is part of General Mills' commitment to "standing for good and promoting racial and gender equity in representation through economic opportunity for minority and female food entrepreneurs."

"We experience firsthand the expertise and passion of the diverse and female founders within our 301 INC portfolio, and yet there is a systemic gap for minority food entrepreneurs looking into early-stage venture capital funding," said Doug Martin, chief brand and disruptive growth officer for General Mills. "We’re excited to join forces with these amazing partners to uncover and accelerate more founders, at earlier stages. Closing the gap means more great innovation in our food system — from new concepts to emerging food technologies — and more inclusive cycles of opportunity for entrepreneurs, companies and communities."

301 Inc and General Mills are committed to using their scale and expertise to improve equity in food access and representation, the companies stated. Since the reorganization of General Mills' corporate venture capabilities into a "Disruptive Growth" organization in June 2021, approximately 80 percent of 301 INC investment dollars have gone to minority-led or female-led businesses, including Grub Market, Pet Plate and Everything Legendary.

Fearless Fund is built by women of color and invests in women-of-color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed-level or series A financing, with a mission to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for founders building scalable, growth-aggressive companies.

"Access to capital is one of the most prominent hurdles to women of color reaching their potential as founders, despite having an excellent track record in building successful businesses built on great ideas," said Arian Simone, general partner and co-founder of the Fearless Fund. "We are thrilled to grant General Mills investment dollars to women of color who are looking to cook up the next revolutionary culinary brand."

Supply Change Capital is a woman- and Latina-powered venture firm that invests at the "intersection of food culture and technology." It catalyzes early-stage food and food tech founders with a focus on sustainability, health and diversity.

"Food and food systems are at the heart of our culture and economy," said Noramay Cadena, co-founder and managing partner of Supply Chain Capital. "As the multicultural consumer population in the United States grows, we are focused on unlocking change in the venture ecosystem to infuse women and people of color with the capital they need to shape our future food landscape. We're thrilled to have the support of General Mills in our network."

Minneapolis-based General Mills has a large portfolio of brands, including household names Cheerios, Nature Valley, Blue Buffalo, Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Annie’s, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki, Bisquick, Bugles, Cascadian Farm, Chex, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Dunkaroos, Autumn's Gold, Fiber One, Cookie Crisp, Doolies, Gardetto's and more.

General Mills generated fiscal 2021 net sales of $18.1 billion. In addition, the company's share of non-consolidated joint venture net sales total $1.1 billion.