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Venture capital firm helps grow Delaware startups

Wilmington Green Box kiosk

Venture capital firm SmartInvest Ventures is helping a Wilmington nonprofit grow.

Entrepreneurs in the First State are getting the mentoring and funding to take their startups to the next level.

Jason Aviles started Wilmington Green Box last year to bring affordable produce to a food desert in the downtown area. He said SmartInvest is helping him develop a retail store.

“We’re actually in the process now of incorporating a for-profit arm that’s going to serve as a brick and mortar commercial kitchen in combination with a retail food market that’s 100 percent plant based,” he said.

Aviles said part of the profits from the commercial sales will be invested back into the non-profit side.

SmartInvest Co-founder Gerry Moan said he and his business advisers identify and nurture promising startups. But they also like entrepreneurs who have a social mission as well.

“So, for us, the work with Jason has been hugely rewarding when you see a young man bent on making a difference in his community,” he said.

SmartInvest Ventures holds workshops where entrepreneurs can pitch ideas for startup companies. Moan and his business advisers mentor the finalists and help launch their startups into businesses.

The next workshop will be held in February.

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