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Advantage Capital Makes First Investment from Empower the Change Fund with a $7.5 million Commitment to General Trucking

ST. LOUIS & NEW ORLEANS , June 01 /Businesswire/ - Advantage Capital, a leading impact investment firm, announced today a $7.5 million investment to support minority investors and entrepreneurs, Tannis Fussell of Ascentria Capital and James Collins of Eastwood Capital, in their efforts to acquire a controlling stake in long haul trucking company, General Trucking. The investment was made in connection with the firm’s Empower the Change Fund—a growth capital fund dedicated to providing access to capital to minority entrepreneurs and minority-owned businesses enterprises (MBEs).

“I am excited to see this first investment come to fruition,” said Sandra M. Moore, Chief Impact Officer and Managing Director, Advantage Capital. “We have been working tirelessly to reach this momentous milestone, and I am pleased to see this fund support such a strong business right out of the gate. Empower the Change is designed at its core to support MBEs with flexible financing solutions to support growth and create wealth in minority communities. Today, we took a significant step forward in achieving that goal.”

The Empower the Change Fund has secured capital from 13 Limited Partners including Deere & Company (John Deere), Truist, U.S. Bank, Enterprise Bank & Trust, UMB Bank, Altria, Busey Bank, Carrollton Bank, First Bank of the Lake, Midwest BankCentre, Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), M&T Bank and Southern Bancorp.

“We are pleased to be partners in this fund and support this important work. We are also excited to see this first investment close and look forward to the company’s continued growth,” said Wallas Wiggins, Vice President of Global Supply Management and Logistics for John Deere. “We’re confident this fund will continue to support scalable MBEs.”

General Trucking is a Warren, Michigan-based long-haul trucking carrier with a specialization in carrying time-sensitive freight for Tier One automotive part manufacturers. While the investment will shift control to Tannis Fussell and James Collins, the founders will hold significant roles in the operations and management of the business.

“This financing provided strong support in our efforts to acquire a controlling stake in General Trucking. The company has a significant revenue base and approximately $10 million of operating profit. The Empower the Change Fund worked to help us arrange our new senior debt partners while providing the junior capital needed to complete the transaction. We believe the Empower the Change Fund’s limited partner base and relationship with the NMSDC Business Consortium Fund (BCF) will continue to provide exciting business development opportunities,” said partners Tannis Fussell and James Collins.

In addition to the funding from Empower the Change, Parkside Financial Bank & Trust provided senior debt financing in support of the transaction. Parkside Financial will further provide an equipment financing line along with Empower the Change Limited Partner, Midwest BankCentre, which will support the future growth of the company.

“We know that targeted investing works—we’ve been doing it for 30 years,” said Brian Anderson, Principal and Empower the Change Investment lead at Advantage Capital. “With this first investment through Empower the Change we are providing capital to proven and talented investors and entrepreneurs who are acquiring a business with significant existing scale and attractive growth potential.”

Empower the Change was started in partnership with the NMSDC Business Consortium Fund (BCF) after the social unrest that ensued in the summer of 2020 following George Floyd’s death. The mission of the fund is to close the racial wealth gap through targeted investing in entrepreneurs of color who are building the products and services of the future.

“BCF’s mission is to expand capital resources to businesses owned by people of color,” said Sahra Halpern, President & CEO of BCF. “This first investment is the first of many businesses we will support through this effort, and I am excited to see where we go next. Additionally, the corporations, banks and institutions we work with share our vision and together we will thrive in our work to drive capital to MBEs.”

Advantage Capital has a more than 30-year history of targeted impact investing and has provided more than $250 million to 72 MBEs. To learn more about Advantage Capital and the Empower the Change Fund visit

About Advantage Capital

Advantage Capital provides financing to established and emerging companies located in communities underserved by conventional sources of capital. Since 1992, the firm has invested more than $4.2 billion in companies from a diverse array of industry sectors and has helped support more than 67,000 jobs. Learn more at, or via Twitter or LinkedIn.

About the Business Consortium Fund

The National Minority Supplier Development Council Business Consortium Fund, Inc. is a certified United States Department of the Treasury Community Development Financial Institution. BCF is America’s most comprehensive financing and consulting support organization exclusively serving NMSDC certified minority-owned businesses.

About General Trucking

General Trucking is an over-the-road, long haul 53” dry van carrier specializing in transporting manufactured goods for automotive suppliers. The company carries time sensitive and expedited loads to their final destinations point-to-point in the US, Mexico, and Canada.

Advantage Capital is an Investment Adviser registered with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. Such registration, however, does not imply a certain level of skill or training. This release has been prepared for informational purposes and to announce a prior event, and nothing herein should be construed as an offer of investment advisory services or as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to purchase any securities or investment product. All offers of investment interests in any fund or investment vehicle, including the Empower the Change Fund, managed directly or indirectly by Advantage Capital are and will be made only to qualified prospective investors pursuant to separate and definitive offering and subscription documents in accordance with applicable federal and state securities laws. Advantage Capital is an equal opportunity provider.

The third-party statements in this release from Ascentria Capital (“Ascentria”), Eastwood Capital (“Eastwood”) and the NMSDC Business Consortium Fund (“BCF”) are statements by persons other than current clients or investors in any private fund directly or indirectly managed by Advantage Capital. Sahra Halpern (BCF’s president) has not received any direct compensation, whether in cash or non-cash form, for the statements or opinions expressed in this release. Although Advantage Capital, through Empower the Change Fund, has assisted Tannis Fussell of Ascentria and James Collins of Eastwood in their efforts to acquire a majority stake in General Trucking, Advantage Capital has not provided direct or indirect compensation, whether in cash or non-cash form, to Tannis Fussell or James Collins or any other employee or affiliate of Ascentria or Eastwood, for the statements or opinions expressed in this release. There are no known material conflicts of interest on the part of BCF or any of its employees or affiliates making or expressing such statements or opinions resulting from Advantage Capital and BCF’s partnership relating to Empower the Change Fund. There are no known material conflicts of interest on the part of Tannis Fussell or James Collins making or expressing such statements or opinions resulting from either party’s relationship with Advantage Capital or from Empower the Change Fund’s investment in General Trucking.

John Deere (“Deere”) is a current investor in the Empower the Change Fund that is managed by Advantage Capital. No one associated with Deere, or the organization itself, have received any direct or indirect compensation, whether in cash or non-cash form, for the statements or opinions expressed in this release. There are no known material conflicts of interest on the part of Deere or any of its employees or affiliates making or expressing such statements or opinions resulting from such party’s relationship with Advantage Capital or from any compensation arrangement, except that the benefits to Deere investing in the Empower the Change Fund may be enhanced, and any risks associated with such investment may be reduced or mitigated by additional investment and participation of others in the Empower the Change Fund.

STORY TAGS: Contract/Agreement, Funding, Product/Service, Other Transport, Trucking, Finance, Transport, Professional Services, DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), Socially Responsible Investing, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Other Professional Services, United States, North America, Louisiana, Missouri,


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