Financial services giant JPMorgan Chase has announced that it is more than doubling the size of its global Small Business Forward program and will commit $75 million over the next three years in support of small businesses owned by women, minorities, and veterans.
According to the company, small business formation is growing fastest among people of color, particularly Latinas and African American women. Despite the importance of small businesses to the economy, however, research shows that minority-owned businesses rely significantly more on the investment of personal or family wealth than on outside debt or equity, with only 16 percent of conventional small-business loans going to women entrepreneurs and less than 2 percent of Small Business Administration loans going to African-American-owned companies. To help address the situation, JPMorgan Chase will award $1.9 million to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity in support of its efforts to connect small business owners who are unable to qualify for a traditional loan with community development financial institutions (CDFIs).
Launched in 2014, Small Business Forward is designed to help small businesses with the potential to grow, offer quality employment, and create economic opportunity for vulnerable populations and their communities by facilitating access to flexible capital, seeding new funds with trusted CDFIs, extending entrepreneurial support systems to underserved entrepreneurs and neighborhoods, and expanding opportunities for founders who are minorities, women, or veterans in high-growth sectors of the economy.
"Small business clusters provide the support and resources that social enterprises require to be successful and make an impact," said Andrea Chen, CEO of Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation. "We're pleased to see JPMorgan Chase's expanded commitment to growing the cluster model and impact by providing critical assistance to underserved small businesses that can really move the needle in their communities."