Kenny Kan’s world was buzzing with incredible ideas. An international student studying finance at Babson College in Massachusetts, Kan couldn’t help noticing how many of his friends and fellow students hoped to start impactful businesses. One wanted to empower women in his native Kenya to make and sell clothing to support their families. Another, whose wife ran a school in Afghanistan, wanted to launch his own business in education technology.

But Kan also noticed something else: for these potential entrepreneurs, many of whom were people of color or women, startup funding could be elusive — even nonexistent. “A lot of founders who are international or minorities have no one to talk to, and many times their ventures fail because there are no connections and resources that they can leverage,” he says.

Kan’s own big idea was to change that. As the founder of Bridge Young Things (BYT), an investment club, he brings together investors to raise capital and fund early business ventures, particularly those led by minorities and women. Today, his club supports half a dozen businesses, some with investment capital and others by facilitating connections that will be essential to their long-term success.

And just as his organization supports nascent ventures, so too did Kan receive help to launch his — thanks to Harvard Law School’s Transactional Law Clinics.

The Clinics

The Transactional Law Clinics, consisting of the Business and Non-Profit Clinic, the Real Estate Clinic, the Entertainment Law Clinic, and the Community Enterprise Project, are led by Director Brian K. Price, and provide legal assistance to Massachusetts small business owners, entrepreneurs, musicians and artists, and community organizations. Part of the Harvard Law Clinical Program, the group of clinics support everything from the initial stages of business formation to contracts and negotiations, protection for intellectual property, permitting and licensing, and many other services.

The work, says Price, helps real people establish initiatives and businesses that sustain communities and the people who live in them. “I’ve always felt that a good way to help people is to help put money in their pocket,” he says.