New investments build upon the continued expertise, data and other firmwide resources provided to help open, expand and strengthen minority entrepreneurs and nonprofits citywide
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is investing over $2 million as part of it’s $40 million commitment to Chicago to strengthen minority entrepreneurialism in neighborhoods and boost economic growth across the city’s South and West Sides. The new investments will help six nonprofit organizations provide local entrepreneurs with access to capital to mentorship and networking. In addition, the firm is investing in IFF to bring essential services to distressed Chicago neighborhoods.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the main job creators in neighborhoods so helping them get a head start through these terrific programs is a smart way to build a financially healthier future for the whole community,” said Whitney Smith, Head of Midwest Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “We are proud to partner with local nonprofits in these neighborhoods to help entrepreneurs of color get the resources they need to grow and thrive.”
Data from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) — a nonprofit research and advisory organization, which evaluates JPMorgan Chase’s work in other cities – revealed that small businesses have the potential to play a major role in lowering unemployment rates in distressed neighborhoods. Yet many low- and moderate-income small businesses lack access to vital resources needed to grow and thrive.
An ICIC analysis of the firm’s first nine small business investments found that these programs (in cities other than Chicago) supported 990 businesses, raised $185 million in capital, generated $139 million in revenue and received nearly 80 new patents in 2014. These businesses created nearly 3,400 jobs, 20 percent of which were local, and paid nearly $80 million in wages in 2014.
Informed by data and expertise, the firm continues to seek ways to address barriers to success and create more creative opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs to access capital. JPMorgan Chase’s 2017 small business investments in Chicago include:
1871 (Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center) ($150,000): Working to drive inclusive economic growth, 1871’s WiSTEM program helps female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, and with this funding will triple the size of their 12-week incubator program. JPMorgan Chase has been one of the largest funders of 1871 since its founding five years ago. In 2016, the firm separately invested $150,000 to help them develop WiSTEM. 1871 also partners with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber and Bunker Labs on targeted programming for under-served populations.
“We’re excited to expand our partnership with JPMorgan Chase to create pathways for women to start and grow their businesses,” said James J. O’Connor, Board Chair, 1871. “Through our WiSTEM program, female business leaders are finding a long lasting impact by expanding their networks, improving their technology, and finding more access to capital to help them grow.”
Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation (IHCCF) ($200,000): Through the Hispanic Tech Incubator, IHCCF is diversifying the small business community by targeting around 30 minority-owned firms that are strongly positioned to grow and providing them with tailored mentorship and coaching as well as access to capital.
“IHCC is excited to lead a first-of-it’s-kind initiative to help develop this next generation of Latinx tech founders” said Omar Duque, President and CEO, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “As we work to help these innovative entrepreneurs build successful businesses we’re proud to partner with JPMorgan Chase and we’re glad JPMorgan Chase has expanded its philanthropic commitment to Chicago.”
Blue1647 ($150,000): Blue1647 works in underserved Chicago communities to improve access to capital, provide resources for neighborhood-based small businesses, and educational programming to promote diversity with the small business tech industry. JPMorgan Chase’s investment will double the number of small businesses served through this program from three to six businesses per quarter.
“If we want small businesses to grow and thrive in our neighborhoods, it’s on us to help them get off their feet,” said Emile Cambry, Founder, Blue1647. “Blue1647 and JPMorgan Chase have the know-how and resources to help these entrepreneurs kick-start their businesses and establish themselves in the community.”
Women’s Business Development Center ($200,000): This investment from JPMorgan Chase will allow the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) to expand into the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s South side, delivering business services, ongoing mentorship and technical assistance, access to growth capital or direct lending, and expanded networks to neighborhood-based entrepreneurs. In 2015, WBDC was selected to be part of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) inaugural class of eight awardees nationally, to deliver a ScaleUp Program targeted at communities with small businesses experiencing slow/no growth due to a lack of a strong economic development infrastructure. WBDC used the SBA funding to launch a pilot in Aurora, a far west suburb of Chicago and the second largest city in Illinois, rich in diversity and entrepreneurship but very underserved. Based on the success of that pilot, JPMorgan Chase’s support will allow WBDC to expand this successful program in other underserved communities.
“Innovation is the key to growth and if we want our communities to thrive, we have to make it easier for women to get the skills they need to excel with and in the tech field,” said Emilia DiMenco, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Business Development Center. “JPMorgan Chase and WBDC are investing in the future of our workforce—women—and bringing our transformative ScaleUp program to the Englewood neighborhood.”
World Business Chicago ($400,000 over two initiatives): Chase will provide $300,000 to support Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) and its development of a proprietary and intuitive technology platform which will help Chicago’s small- and medium-sized businesses assess their readiness for growth. CASE is one of World Business Chicago’s initiatives and helps local, highly qualified businesses connect with Chicago’s most prominent universities, health systems, private corporations and public agencies, supporting neighborhood vitality and promoting inclusive economic growth across the city.
JPMorgan Chase will also provide $100,000 to World Business Chicago to form a “Quarterly Project Review Panel” for the recently launched Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge, which involves a group of eight nonprofits scaling up and promoting technology entrepreneurship in Chicago. Through the review panel’s work, World Business Chicago will share its findings and best practices for creating successful programs that serve entrepreneurs from marginalized communities.
Sunshine Enterprises ($200,000): Concentrating on Chicago’s most vulnerable communities, Sunshine provides technical assistance to approximately 200 entrepreneurs annually to help them prepare for owning and operating small businesses through a 12-week business development program. More than 95 percent of participants are people of color.
“Chicago is an amazing city and in order to keep it that way we need to invest in the people who bring the city to life,” said Joel Hamernick, Executive Director, Sunshine Enterprises. “With help from JPMorgan Chase we can better prepare more entrepreneurs to succeed, and when they do, more people will have jobs and the community will thrive.”
IFF ($1,100,000): JPMorgan Chase is also building on its support for a strong nonprofit sector on the South and West Sides by investing in two new programs through IFF (formerly the Illinois Facilities Fund). The first investment establishes the Chicago Community Facilities Fund to provide financial resources for nonprofits in Chicago to improve access to healthy food, childcare, healthcare and job services through new community facilities. A second investment will help approximately 20 Chicago-based nonprofits improve their financials and grow their real estate and net assets. The initial list of nonprofits working to strengthen and expand their organizations include Albany Park Community Center, Austin Coming Together, BUILD, Inc., Centers for New Horizons, Chinese Mutual Aid Association, Greater Chatham Initiative, La Casa Norte, LUCHA, National Latino Education Institute, and the North Lawndale Employment Network. JPMorgan Chase and IFF have a long and successful track record of working together in communities as a result of a $3 million investment the firm made in 2013 through the PRO Neighborhoods initiative to invest in nonprofit facilities and a $4 million investment it made in 2011 to support affordable and accessible housing.
“We are so proud to work with JPMorgan Chase to invest in and strengthen Chicago’s network of nonprofits. Together, the nonprofits we work with are making a difference in the lives of Chicagoans all across the city, from providing access to fresh and healthy food, healthcare and a better education, they’re an essential part of the social fabric of our communities,” said Joe Neri, President and Chief Executive Officer, IFF. “We couldn’t do this work without the help from JPMorgan Chase.”