The Fibers Fund reached another milestone this month, awarding its first five business technical assistance grants to U.S. fiber, textile, and dye businesses. These grants will play a key catalytic role for both the Fibers Fund, a project of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) and Fibershed with Mission Driven Finance, and for the business recipients. Grants from the Fibers Fund are specifically designed to help fiber businesses unlock other sources of capital.
Two grants were awarded to businesses profiled in the SAFSF Fibers Roadmap Case Studies. First, Seattle-based Botanical Colors received support to set up data management systems that will help it improve income projections and secure additional contracts with apparel brands as it moves into an expanded dyehouse. The second grant was awarded to Oregon-based Fibrevolution to enable the launch of its first funding round, allowing it to access additional investment capital to support its planned flax mill for linen production. Both businesses, along with the other Case Studies, have helped inform the development of the Fibers Fund from the beginning.
The next set of grants supports a critical new group of businesses for the Fibers Fund, the Black Fiber Cohort. Envisioned and facilitated by Fibers Fund Co-Managing Director Teju Adisa-Farrar, this cohort will provide tailored support to Black fiber entrepreneurs as their businesses develop and better position Black businesses to secure other forms of capital in the future. Businesses supported by these grants are:
- Kept Studio, Brooklyn NY. Kept Studio is a textile studio, natural dye processor, and knit manufacturing processor, and their TA grant will provide support for accounting, business structure set-up, and planning support to obtain a permanent studio with garden space.
- ROOLĒ, Durham NC. ROOLE is an upcycled and bio-fashion brand focused on reworking natural fibers. Business TA will support the development of a local regenerative supply network for ROOLĒ, specifically partnering with a local Black farmer growing organic cotton and finding a local manufacturing partner.
- MAHDIYYAH, Ewing NJ. MAHDIYYAH is a circular fashion brand with a focus on upcycled apparel of cotton, linen, and wool. TA grant support will facilitate sourcing of U.S. soil-based textiles and natural dyes for the purpose of creating a research-based collection and hiring additional capacity for business expansion.
These five grants represent the first funds out the door for the Fibers Fund. This momentum builds on the Fund’s high-energy launch webinar in April, the Fund’s selection for the 2023 Transformative 25 list, and extensive behind-the-scenes work to implement the Fund’s integrated capital approach. Our larger strategy also includes public policy work led by SAFSF to support structural reform for the fiber sector. Learn more at fibersfund.com.