Craig Hall Commits $1 Million in Grants for Entrepreneurs Impacted by Opportunity Gap: Female, Diverse and Rural Founders

Craig Hall's commitment of $1 million in grants will close the opportunity gap for female, diverse and rural entrepreneurs.

Today’s encouraging news about funding for diverse entrepreneurs focuses on Craig Hall – an entrepreneur, philanthropist, vintner, art collector and New York Times bestselling author.

To mark HALL Group’s 50th anniversary, the founder and chairman has committed to provide $1 million in grants from the Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation to help nonprofit partners invest in and support entrepreneurs who are most impacted by our country’s opportunity gap. Through partnerships with select nonprofits, this first grant will provide under-served entrepreneurs with critical access to capital, mentorship and other resources through the selected nonprofits, which HALL Group will source.

Hall is a New York Times bestselling author and has published six books, with one in the publishing process. His current book – titled BOOM: Bridging the Opportunity Gap to Reignite Startups – is slated to release in spring 2019 and is focused on the current state of entrepreneurship in America and how we can fix it.

Keen Observations About Technology and Innovation  

The Dallas-based entrepreneur founded HALL Group in 1968 at age 18 with the purchase of his first rooming house in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Purchased with $4,000 he had saved from childhood ventures, the rooming house launched Hall’s 50-year entrepreneurial career, which has seen highs, lows and the creation of many successful entrepreneurial ventures.

As someone who personally understands the challenges facing founders, here are some of his thoughts about technology and innovation:

“We live in a revolutionary time in the U.S., when technology and innovation have really taken hold and entrepreneurship should be booming. But the fact is, the U.S. has a widening opportunity gap for traditional entrepreneurs. In all but certain geographical areas of the country and big technology sectors, U.S. entrepreneurship is struggling,” said Hall.

“Although this technology and innovation is benefiting big companies, the rate of startup formation on an annual basis is roughly half of what it was four decades ago, and the situation is even more dire for women and people of color, along with entrepreneurs in many rural regions of the U.S. This $1 million grant is just the starting point for what our foundation intends to do with entrepreneurial non-profit partnerships long-term.”

Step Toward Greater Funding for Diverse Entrepreneurs

With his commitment to offer $1 million in grants, Hall has taken action toward creating greater equity for female, diverse and rural start-up founders who frequently do not have access to funding. Here are some of the statistics calling for greater balance in funding for diverse entrepreneurs:

  • Female entrepreneurs made up only 4.4% of aggregate venture capital deals and only 2.2% of venture capital funding in 2017.i In addition, their loans were approved 33% less often than those of their male counterparts. The dip from 44% of female entrepreneurs in 1997 to just 37% in 2016 means we’re closing in on a historic low.ii
  • People of color represent only 1% of startup founders, and The Small Business Association (SBA) reports that “Black/African American-owned firms … [are] 81% less likely to be employers than non-minority firms. Similarly Hispanic-, Native American-, and Pacific Islander-owned firms are about 40% as likely to be employers.”iii 
  • According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, the chances of being granted loans are significantly lower for people of color than for those of non-minority firms that many minority business owners often won’t bother to apply. When they do receive business loans, they’re usually forced to pay higher interest rates.iv
  • In the 1980s, 20% of U.S. companies started in rural areas. That percentage shrunk to 12.2% in 2017.v In fact, 80% of available startup capital goes to just a few markets.

“The more we put roadblocks and increased regulations in people’s way, the more we put the future of our country at risk. My hope is that by increasing awareness of these issues and encouraging policy changes and increased investment in startups, we can reverse these trends and safeguard the future of American entrepreneurship,” said Hall.

Entrepreneur’s Belief in the Power of Public Art

As a visionary entrepreneur, Craig Hall also understands the ways that art can nurture people in shared spaces and energize business settings. HALL Collection comprises an immense number of local and international art pieces displayed throughout HALL Group‘s properties including:

  • HALL Park, the 17-office building, 162-acre office park in Frisco, Texas
  • HALL Arts, the three-phase, 5-acre, mixed-use development in the Dallas Arts District
  • HALL Structured Finance, the direct private lender to the real estate industry
  • HALL Wines, located in St. Helena and Rutherford, producing highly rated Bordeaux varietals; WALT Wines, producer of handcrafted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals; BACA Wines; Hall’s newest wine brand, featuring Zinfandel; and SENZA hotel, a Napa Valley boutique hotel and luxury resort

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v Kauffman Foundation 2017 State of Entrepreneurship report

About artsbiz365 104 Articles
Andrea Karen Hammer, a Philadelphia-based freelance writer, is the founder, CEO and owner of Artsphoria Inclusive & Collaborative Publishing, Media Group & Shop ( She leads the operation and innovation at Artsphoria: Arts, Business & Technology Center (, Artsphoria Event Advertising & Reporting (; Artsphoria International Magazine (, Artsphoria Movie Reviews & Film Forum (; Artsphoria: Food for the Soul (; Artsphoria's Animation & Imagination World ( and Artsphoria Shop (

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