Supporting startups and small businesses in underinvested communities looking to attract capital for growth.

Unlock Capital is an accelerator program for startups and high growth businesses focused on raising capital from investors that seek both financial and social returns. Unlock Capital offers education, mentoring, technical assistance, and individualized advisory services to help businesses attract investments and raise capital.

Because of our experience and focus on venture capital and private equity investments, CDVCA has a deep understanding of what it takes to prepare businesses to raise capital effectively. Our program is free of cost thanks to a grant from the Minority Business Development Agency. The 2024 inaugural national cohort kicks off this spring. Apply today!

Unlock Capital. Invested in Your Growth.

Understanding the investor mindset
Engaging investors and venture capital firms
Building the company’s capital stack
Looking at investors as potential partners and board members

Understanding the due diligence process

Developing shareholder agreements

Pitching to different types of investors

Understanding equity and near equity investment options

Accessing nondilutive financing

Preparing an initial investment round
Using capital raising agents
Understanding company valuation

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Unlock Capital do?

Unlock Capital offers a suite of services, including education, technical assistance, and mentoring for businesses seeking high-level support to attract venture capital and equity financing. The program features industry leaders and experts who provide workshops, webinars and one-on-one mentoring. Services are offered remotely and tailored to individual business needs.

What makes Unlock Capital different from accelerators or incubators?

Rather than providing general business advice, Unlock Capital is laser-focused on helping companies identify and attract risk capital and equity financing to help high growth businesses reach their next stage.

Who is encouraged to apply?

Startups and small businesses located in communities across the United States that are traditionally overlooked by venture capital investors. Businesses with high growth potential that are owned by entrepreneurs facing social and economic disadvantages in securing investments and equity financing are especially welcomed.

Will there be a fee for the services offered through Unlock Capital or will it require giving up equity?

Unlock Capital services are provided free of charge thanks to an award from the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Capital Readiness Program. CDVCA has partnered with MBDA to promote access to capital, access to networks, and capacity building efforts for high growth businesses.

When will the services be available and how long will they last?

CDVCA’s National Unlock Capital program typically runs from April to September, barring necessary changes or exceptions. During this span each participating business develops a tailored investment readiness plan, and takes part in a series of cohort activities to address shared growth needs and challenges that are specific to each business.

Can a single person/solo founder apply?

Yes. Solo founders are welcomed to apply, however, Unlock Capital will be of greater benefit to businesses that already have a core team in place and are positioned to scale.

Does CDVCA invest in companies selected by the Unlock Capital program?

CDVCA evaluates businesses for investment potential after they’ve successfully completed the program. During the program, participants are introduced early on to venture capital funds and investors in the CDVCA network.

If we have participated or currently participate in an accelerator/incubator program, can we apply for Unlock Capital?

Yes. Because Unlock Capital is laser-focused on helping founders with their capital raising journey, our services may complement those offered by other programs. You might receive more general business development services from another program and apply to Unlock Capital for assistance in securing investments and growth financing.

Do businesses interested in applying need to be part of a specific industry?

No. Businesses from all industry sectors can apply. However, company’s will need to meet certain eligibility criteria that are related to underinvested geographies and socially and economically disadvantaged groups.

How to apply to Unlock Capital?

Complete the online application by following this link. The application period begins February 15, 2024.

The Community Development Venture Capital Alliance

Private Equity for the Public Good

The Community Development Venture Capital Alliance (CDVCA) is a 28-year-old organization dedicated to driving economic development in underserved communities through venture capital and equity financing. CDVCA is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that also provides growth capital to businesses in underinvested markets, seeking market-rate financial returns and job creation.

CDVCA manages over $330 million of investments in funds and businesses. With a focus on risk capital, CDVCA works with private investors, state governments and federal agencies to promote economic and community development across the United States. We are currently active in 36 states and territories across the nation and manage a network of over 180 investors.

What is the Community Venture Capital Alliance (CDVCA)?

CDVCA is a 27-year-old, not-for-profit organization, certified by the Department of the Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). We accomplish our mission by both building the field of business finance impact investments and by making investments directly in businesses. We have raised and are deploying over $300 million of impact investment capital in a variety of funds, including the $45 million Puerto Rico Fund for Growth, of which we are the managing general partner. In 2022, CDVCA is launching Unlock Capital, an investment readiness program.

What does Unlock Capital offer?

Unlock Capital will offer a suite of services including education, technical assistance, networking and mentoring to businesses seeking high-level support to attract growth capital.

Unlock Capital will have industry leaders and experts providing workshops and webinars, which may include determining your financial needs (i.e., raising the right investment capital), where to look for capital, fundraising strategies, due diligence, risk mitigation, negotiation, financial modeling and presenting financial data, art of pitching, among other. These may be subject to change depending on the participant’s business needs.

What makes Unlock Capital different from other accelerators or incubators?

Unlock Capital is laser-focused on finance, growth and investing. Unlike other programs, Unlock Capital seeks to offer services tailored to each participant’s needs to increase investment readiness.

Will the services offered through Unlock Capital be charged or require giving up equity?

No. The services provided through Unlock Capital will be free of charge to those businesses selected to participate in the program.

When will services be available and how long do they last?

Unlock Capital’s service period runs from March 1st, 2022, to August 31st, 2022, barring necessary changes or exceptions. Each participating business will receive an investment readiness plan with recommended activities to complete within this period. Core workshops/webinars will be provided throughout those six (6) months, but technical assistance will be tailored to the participant business’ specific needs and scheduled according to each party’s availability.

Can a single person/solo founder apply?

Yes. Single owner businesses are encouraged to apply as well, and the business can be represented by a single owner. However, the program is meant for business that already have a core team in place and are in position to grow further.

Does CDVCA invest in every company selected for Unlock Capital?

CDVCA invest in active program participants. However, depending on the participants’ progress, CDVCA will introduce them to other investors and/or funds in its network.

If we participated or currently participate in another accelerator/incubator program, can we apply for Unlock Capital?

Yes. Unlock Capital is not and exclusive program. The type of services provided through Unlock Capital can differ from other accelerator/incubator programs and it could be beneficial for some companies to participate in both. Moreover, Unlock Capital will be collaborating with some accelerators to complement services as best as we can.

Do participants need to be part of a particular industry, such as Tech, to participate?

No. All types of businesses are encouraged to apply.

Our Partners

We are proud to have formed strong partnerships with a diverse range of collaborators who share our vision and values. Our collaborators offer valuable insights, mentorship, and access to networks that complement our core program, enhancing its effectiveness and maximizing your chances of investment success. Together, we provide a comprehensive ecosystem of resources and expertise to propel your investment readiness journey forward.

Meet Our Team

At Unlock Capital, we are committed to empowering entrepreneurs like you to take their businesses to new heights. Our program is designed to equip you with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to attract investment and fuel your growth. Meet our team of dedicated professionals who will guide you on your investment journey.

Ernesto Villarini-Baquero, DBA

Managing Director

Emmanuel Loubriel Carreras, CPA, CIMA®, Esq.

Program Manager

Supporting Business with High Growth Potential. Learn. Collaborate. Achieve.

Complete this contact form to submit your questions or request a personal orientation.

For general inquires write to:


475 Riverside Dr.

Suite 1264

New York, NY 10115