JPMorgan Chase & Co. has announced a $4 million investment to create an Entrepreneurs of Color Fund that will support minority entrepreneurs on Chicago's South and West sides, while Fifth Third Bank will invest an additional $2.5 million in the fund, pending regulatory approval.
Building on the success of the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund model in Detroit, where fifty-two minority-owned businesses have created or preserved nearly seven hundred and fifty jobs since 2015, the investment will provide minority entrepreneurs in Chicago with critical access to capital, education, and other resources. As part of JPMorgan Chase's $40 million investment in creating economic opportunity in Chicago, the firm will provide $3 million to launch the fund with community partners Accion Chicago and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and $1 million to continue business mentoring programs at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University that are part of Ascend 2020, a national network of university-led programs for minority entrepreneurs.
When up and running, the fund will provide $5.5 million in flexible capital to meet the needs of minority-owned businesses on the South and West sides and will encourage the revitalization of other underserved neighborhoods through commercial and small business development. In addition, Accion Chicago and LISC will work to help a thousand entrepreneurs of color in need with a mix of capital, free technical assistance, and coaching services. Once the entrepreneurs in the fifteen selected communities are ready to apply for financing, Accion Chicago will use the investments to deploy loan capital of up to $100,000, while LISC will provide loans of between $100,000 and $500,000.
"South and West Side neighborhoods hold tremendous economic opportunity, but we can do more to ensure that everyone has a chance to participate in Chicago's continued growth," said JPMorgan Chase chair and CEO Jamie Dimon. "The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund has unlocked capital and created hundreds of jobs in Detroit, and now we're excited that Chicago small businesses will have the same chance to grow and succeed."