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Key Pillars

Small Business Expansion

iconWhat We are Doing

Fueling the Fire of Inclusive Growth

Small businesses fuel the fire of local economies. As a leader in serving the small business sector, JPMorgan Chase has a unique window into the essential role these businesses play in creating jobs and generating opportunity. We see that, too often, underserved entrepreneurs — such as people of color, women and veterans — face unique barriers that inhibit their success. Through our proprietary data, our firm also has novel insights into how small businesses manage their finances.

That is why, in addition to leveraging our core business, we are investing $150 million over five years through Small Business Forward to support and scale innovative efforts to expand opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs.

Travis Latham and his Fleet
Travis Latham, owner of Fellowship Fleet in Chicago. Latham has worked with Ascend 2020 to help develop his small business.

Expanding Access to Flexible Capital

Capital is crucial for any small business, yet many enterprises owned by people of color, women and veterans face challenges accessing this lifeblood of business success. We are investing in innovative solutions for knocking down capital barriers, such as the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund. We are also partnering with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) to create a technology-enabled platform for connecting small business owners with CDFI lenders when they are unable to qualify for traditional loans. With over $2 million in support from JPMorgan Chase, AEO is now expanding the platform on a national scale.

JPMorgan Chase is also collaborating with LiftFund and we have committed $4.6 million to support the launch of LiftUP, a new web-based small business lending program to increase access to capital for underserved minority- and women-owned small businesses in 13 states in the southern U.S. LiftUP will provide small businesses with faster access to affordable small business loans, reducing lending approval time from an average of five weeks to four days.

By the numbers

The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund has nearly tripled since since launch, to more than $18 million. Additionally, two new funds were also created in San Francisco and the South Bronx, building on the EOC Fund’s success.


lent or approved to 45 minority small businesses


new or preserved jobs


of loans to minority women-owned businesses


of loans to Detroit neighborhood-based small businesses

Diversifying High-Growth Sectors

Minority-owned businesses are crucial to economic growth. And while incubators and accelerators have proved to be effective launching pads in high-growth sectors such as tech, health and bioscience, research shows women and minorities are significantly underrepresented in them. Through Small Business Forward, we are investing in efforts to support and diversify the incubators and accelerators that will propel tomorrow’s entrepreneurs to success.

An analysis conducted by Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) found that over three years, our 15 incubators and accelerators supported over 4,000 small businesses. These businesses raised almost $550 million in capital, generated nearly $450 million in revenue, employed nearly 13,000 people and paid over $357 million in wages. In addition, we have launched a diversity and inclusion peer learning network with ICIC and the 15 high-growth organizations to share best practices on effective strategies of building diversity into different components of the organization.

For example, through our collaboration with the European Business Network, we are convening European business incubators and accelerators to define and share good practices for inclusive small business growth across the continent. In South Africa, our work with the Gordon Institute of Business Science is increasing growth and employment in manufacturing and the green economy by mapping the needs of low-income entrepreneurs and accelerating the growth of over 130 small businesses.

Expanding Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Neighborhoods

In underserved neighborhoods, small businesses have an essential role as drivers of economic opportunity. However, the tools and resources that help high-growth companies succeed are not always available to the Main Street businesses in these areas. So we are giving them a boost.

For example, JPMorgan Chase committed $500,000 to the University of Washington Foster School of Business to create Ascend 2020. The initiative links business schools, business support organizations and CDFIs to create local support for neighborhood-based, inner-city and minority-owned businesses in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

The Engine that Could

In conversation with Andrew Kresse, CEO of Chase Business Banking, and Linda McMahon, the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), on how to succeed in small business.

Andrew Kresse


Andrew Kresse

Linda McMahon


Linda McMahon


What do you see as the most important role of the SBA?


Most of the time, people think about us only as giving loans. And while providing entrepreneurs with access to capital is important, our mentorship and networking programs are equally as important. This is what really helps small businesses grow.


What is one of the most important things a new entrepreneur needs to know?


The importance of cash management. The ebb and flow of cash really knocks down so many startup companies. Many entrepreneurs just don&rsquoe;t understand the capital requirements they need and the amount of time that it&rsquoe;s going to take to succeed. They have enough money for one or two months. But they really need enough for a couple of years to grow their staff and implement their ideas.


Minority-owned small businesses are one of the fastest-growing segments of new businesses. Why is it important to help them succeed?


Minorities represent a historically underserved market, so helping them succeed is a priority. The SBA provides access to counseling, loans and government contracts, which helps them thrive so they can grow and create jobs. Entrepreneurs find that owning their own business is a terrific way to secure a financial future for themselves, provide for their families and exercise their commitment to their communities. When they succeed, they create neighborhoods that are more vibrant places to live and work and contribute to a stronger economy.


What role does an organization like the SBA play in supporting minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses — and how are their needs unique?


The SBA recognizes that different populations have different challenges, so specialized programs work to meet their unique needs. For example, women often have a harder time accessing capital from traditional lenders, so SBA-guaranteed loans may help them get the cash they need to start or grow their businesses. A variety of historically disadvantaged small business owners can access government contracting opportunities by using SBA’s 8(a), HUBZone, Women-Owned Small Business and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned programs.

The SBA also provides vets and their spouses training and counseling as well as resources and a connection to a community through our Office of Veterans Business Development. The SBA’s Boots to Business program has already trained 70,000 people on how to start or grow a business, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers in communities across the country offer counseling on their unique needs.

Felicia Maxwell gives Jamie Dimon a tour of Fit4Life


Partnership Spotlight

EOC Fund, Scaling a Model that works: Felicia Maxwell, who opened her Fit4Life fitness center in Detroit with the help of a loan from the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, gives JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon a tour of the facility.

A downtown wine shop and tasting room. A vegan soul food restaurant. A health and fitness center. Each of these Detroit small businesses is thriving with support from the Entrepreneurs of Color (EOC) Fund. The fund takes an innovative approach by combining customized technical assistance for small business owners before and after they receive a loan; tailored loan products, such as a contractor line of credit; and explicit marketing to underserved entrepreneurs of color, who are more likely to need access to CDFI lending but are perhaps unaware of the EOC Fund.

Facilitated by the Detroit Development Fund, with funding from our firm and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the EOC Fund was launched in Detroit in 2015 with a $6.5 million investment, resulting in new jobs and increased economic development for communities. To date, the EOC Fund has lent or approved $4.7 million to more than 45 minority small businesses — 53 percent of them owned by women — resulting in over 600 new or preserved jobs. To meet the strong demand for accessing capital for underserved entrepreneurs, the EOC Fund has tripled in size to more than $18 million with support from new funders Fifth Third Bank, Kresge Foundation and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.

Building on the EOC Fund’s success, in 2018 we are replicating the model in San Francisco and the South Bronx, New York City. As we did in Detroit, we are working with local organizations on the ground to adapt the model for each unique community.


Bunker Labs: Boosting Success for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Twenty-five percent of military veterans want to start a business when they leave the military. Yet many of them won’t succeed. Todd Connor, a U.S. Navy veteran of the Iraq War, saw a potential reason why: Many veterans haven’t built solid business networks — an essential ingredient for entrepreneurial success.

He founded Bunker Labs in 2014 to change this. The organization helps former service members and their spouses start and grow businesses through building online and in-person networks, learning business skills and connecting with resources. “We’re part of a very niche community where there’s a language, a lingo and a way of working,” says Connor. “Veterans like the idea of being surrounded by other veterans who can help create connectivity in ways they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do on their own.”

Bunker Labs meets every entrepreneur where they are. For example, it provided a working space, networking opportunities and mentoring for Refill, a mobile marketplace for grocery stores and stadiums. For 3-D printer re:3D, Bunker Labs was critical in making introductions to strategic partners and corporate leaders. And the organization helped grow Veteran Elite Services — which provides cleaning and maintenance services and employs other veterans — through introductions to new clients, bankers, lawyers and insurance agents.

People at Bunker Labs
Veteran small business incubator and accelerator, Bunker Labs

Over the past two years, JPMorgan Chase has committed $1.8 million to Bunker Labs. Among other things, the support is helping fund the Bunker Builds America Tour, a series of events held across the country showcasing local veteran entrepreneurs. The tour has enabled veterans and their spouses to connect in 10 cities, bringing together over 1,500 veterans and active duty service members and reaching more than 4.7 million people on social media. Over 250 veterans have pitched their companies through the #BunkerBuilds hashtag.

Now that Bunker Labs has expanded to 15 cities around the country, Connor is continuing to grow his company while supporting others to grow theirs. “The biggest challenge for most entrepreneurs is to convince themselves that they have the capacity to do what they want to do — and to get started,” he says. “That’s the thing I’m constantly trying to role model.”

Jill Biden

“Quite simply, veterans are a critical part of our nation’s economic engine. When we invest in them, we all go further. By giving veterans greater access to capital and networking, JPMorgan Chase has gone to its strengths to offer innovative support of our transitioning service members. As a leader in this space, they have done so much for our veterans, and I hope other companies follow suit.”

— Dr. Jill Biden, Former Second Lady of the U.S. and member of the JPMorgan Chase Military and Veterans Affairs External Advisory Council

In addition to the firm’s work with Bunker Labs, in 2017 JPMorgan Chase committed $4.2 million to organizations working around the country to provide veterans with financing to start their own businesses. Learn more about our firm’s programs and initiatives to position military members, veterans and their families for success in their post-service lives at:

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