The Venture Jobs Foundation (VJF) provides impact investing in support of its charitable purpose, funding small businesses that will use our capital to create jobs in low income neighborhoods. Our funding programs create new job opportunities tied to our investments, many at lower and mid skill levels. Small businesses are the prime driver of new job creation, which is correlated with alleviating poverty.
We are working to provide a range of capital and investment structures appropriate for a mix of regional businesses, from those needing smaller amounts of capital and associated operational support, to those early in the cycle of bringing a strong business model to the market or those needing capital to fund growth from a solid beginning. The VJF will be launching its micro-lending program in 2016. Our initial focus will be in the Rochester region, but we will assess expanding our served area later in 2016 or 2017.
The VJF offers flexibility and availability of capital beyond that of traditional commercial lenders and institutional equity sources. As one example, we have launched a crowdfunding platform that assists entrepreneurs and emerging businesses raise smaller amounts of capital simply and conveniently.
The VJF manages its deployment of funds prudently, using VC best practices in due diligence and portfolio company selection and management. This enhance the prospects for success in each investment made and returns additional capital that we can recycle into similar future investments.
We will launch our investment programs in 2016 and will work to become an important resource for building new jobs in low income neighborhoods. We expect to partner with others in a shared interest to combat poverty in our region.