Women, minorities and veterans have grabbed JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s attention. Especially individuals in those groups with small businesses, which is a vastly growing sector.
JPMorgan Chase announced that over the next there years, it will commit $75 million to increase available funding for women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses. This number includes the almost $2 million grant to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) in support of programs connecting small business owners with alternative funding options if they don’t qualify for traditional loans.
The company says it has noticed that small businesses are growing quickly, especially with ownership under Latinas and African American women. That said, the company also adds that minority-owned businesses tend to rely heavily on family or even personal wealth as investments, rather than external debt or equity. There may be reason for that relying: JPMorgan cites a compounding issues that only 16 percent of small business loans find their way to entrepreneurs that happen to be women, and only about two percent going to African American owned businesses.
“Increasing access to capital to underrepresented small businesses is vital to economic growth and the communities they serve. Small Business Forward will support a wide, diverse base of entrepreneurs so that economic growth is shared by all,” says Janis Bowdler, Head of Small Business Initiatives, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase.
The initiative is focused, according to JP Morgan, on supporting not only small businesses but offering quality employment and crating economic opportunity for vulnerable populations.
By awarding AEO the $1.9 million grant, JPMorgan says it is supporting the advancement of AEO’s technology-enabled platform connecting Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) with small businesses, so that owners can receive resources, repair their credit, and get the small business off the ground.
The company says it is also extending the previous collaboration with nonprofit lender LiftFund by way of a $4.6 million grant aimed at increasing small business and economic opportunities in Texas, Louisiana and Georgia. The goal here is to bring down the loan approval process from five weeks to less than one week.
“For a small business owner, quicker access to capital remains one of the top concerns and I’m excited to announce that we have developed a program in response to this need,” said Janie Barrera, LiftFund President and CEO.
JPMorgan says the new initiatives are not just focused on funding, but also providing resources and tools to entrepreneurs. Providing a $500,000 grant to the University of Washington Foster School of Business’ Ascend 2020, the company says it will be helping to promote local ecosystems for neighborhood businesses in Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, all linked by business schools, related organizations and CDFIs.