St. Cloud Capital, LLC, a lower middle market growth capital lending firm, announced today that it will be participating in the Diversity Internship Program along with six other Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) managers in the Los Angeles area in Summer 2020. The main goal of the Small Business Investing Scholars program is to create inclusive enterprises by promoting gender, racial and ethnic diversity in the private equity and direct lending industries. This program is highly supported by Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, a Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Brian Chow and Sibyl Kavak, both Vice Presidents at St. Cloud, will be heading up this program as representatives from the firm.
The selected intern(s) will be guided by a mentor from St. Cloud and will meet regularly with other members of the firm. According to Mr. Chow, “Interns gain a lot of hands on experience through projects such as deal sourcing, doing market research and due diligence and conducting analysis on portfolio companies.” Ms. Kavak added, “The intern(s) will be heavily involved in the day-to-day business of St. Cloud and be able to contribute to St. Cloud’s culture.”
While St. Cloud has been running its own successful internship program for the past 18 years, drawing students from local universities such as UCLA and USC and from universities across the country including Dartmouth, UT-Austin, Brown, Penn, Columbia, Wisconsin and Purdue, the firm sees the Diversity Internship Program as an opportunity to support diversity in the industry. Ever since St. Cloud Managing Partners Benjamin Hom and Kacy Rozelle’s introduction to the program at the Small Business Investors Alliance Conference in October 2019, they have been excited to participate in this new opportunity. Since St. Cloud deals with a wide range of industries, it also believes that having a diverse team will increase firm opportunities.
Mr. Hom said, “As a minority myself, I know it could be hard sometimes to find internships and navigate through interview processes. I try to help and guide college students navigating through internships and future careers as much as I can. I think this program will be a great addition to such effort and bring students who can bring diverse perspectives to St. Cloud.” Mr. Hom also recently attended a Wells Fargo SBIC conference where industry professionals spoke on best practices for finding, hiring and managing diverse talent.
St. Cloud believes that diverse teams generate higher returns and contribute to a more interesting company culture. “Diversity in all forms — ethnicity, nationality, gender, professional backgrounds and experience — enhances efficiency in private equity,” according to Financial Times. In order to create more diverse environments, firms should provide more role models to young professionals. Job postings for diversity positions increased 30% in 2019. St. Cloud is excited to join other professional organizations, like the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in providing diversity internships.