JPMorgan Chase Announces $1 Million Investment To Support Women Of Color (Update)

JPMorgan Chase today announced a $1 million investment to help Black and Hispanic women-led startups thrive from Harlem to Hollis. This innovative, data-driven investment to build and grow underserved entrepreneurs is part of the firm’s $150 million Small Business Forward initiative to provide flexible financing and other support to underserved women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses and applying what the firm has learned from small business investments in other communities.

Women of color are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the U.S., with more than 1.5 million businesses (a 322 percent increase since 1997), yet they receive less than one percent of all venture investment. They are also far less likely to have the wealth, financial safety net, or friends and family network other entrepreneurs rely on to launch and grow their businesses.

Women of color are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the U.S., with more than 1.5 million businesses (a 322 percent increase since 1997), yet they receive less than one percent of all venture investment. They are also far less likely to have the wealth, financial safety net, or friends and family network other entrepreneurs rely on to launch and grow their businesses. [#ProjectDiane]

“Women of color have not had equal access to the resources they need to be successful in business,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase. “My hope is that our investment continues to help unlock doors for Black and Hispanic women entrepreneurs to grow and showcase their tech startups to get ahead once and for all.”

Half of the investment, or $500,000, will support two projects within DIDTechnology Inc. (“digitalundivided”), a social enterprise founded in 2013 to support Black and Hispanic women in innovation-focused entrepreneurship:

  • Incubating an additional 40 startups founded by women of color for a 26-week cohort based on lean startup methodology. As part of the incubation program, digitalundivided will provide mentorship, business planning, marketing and communications strategy, and will teach these startups how to test, iterate and scale their businesses to be successful.
  • Identifying gaps in venture capital by financing the second version of #ProjectDiane, digitalundivided’s proprietary research study about the state of Black women in tech entrepreneurship in the United States. The new report, to be released later in 2018, will expand the research to include Latina startup founders.

The Case Foundation, with its long-term commitment to catalyzing the inclusive entrepreneurship movement and supporting female entrepreneurs and founders of color, supports digitalundivided as well as other incubators and leaders in the field.

“The data highlighting the barriers female entrepreneurs and founders of color face gaining access to the capital, mentoring and networking they need to have a chance to succeed is clear” said Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation and Chairman of the National Geographic Society. “That’s why it is so important to have champions like JPMorgan Chase join us in investing and supporting efforts like digitalundivided and the development of an ecosystem that ensures anyone from anywhere can have access to the American Dream. It is good for the investors, the entrepreneurs and for the American economy.”

“Our mission is to create a more inclusive economy in which entrepreneurs from all backgrounds have a fair shot at building and scaling their companies,” said Janis Bowdler, Head of Small Business Initiatives, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “We are proud to support digitalundivided and iNTENT Manifesto in their goal to elevate women of color as technology business leaders and owners. Thanks to their efforts we are beginning to change the face of entrepreneurship in the tech industry .”

The other half of the investment, $500,000, will be used to launch the iNTENT Manifesto, an educational and investment platform based on good design, intent and investment to drive meaningful amounts of capital to women of color tech startups. Hosted at New Venture Fund, iNTENT Manifesto will educate, engage and invest with diverse groups nationally, particularly in communities of color. Through an education campaign and series of convenings and capacity building workshops to raise the visibility of women of color founders, the project hops to create a self-sustaining solution that will empower women of color entrepreneurs and the communities they live in. The campaign begins with learning more about women entrepreneurs, investing, and supporting startups by signing the Manifesto located on the website www.intentmanifesto.com. iNTENT Manifesto is designed for, and led by women of color to provide education and flexible investment options that include equity investments and venture debt to promising founders; direct investments will be made later this year into a number of innovative startups.

“Women are walking alpha. The smartest investment the world can make is in women of color entrepreneurs. Together with good design, intent and investment we can create a world we can all be proud of,” said Gayle Jennings-O’Byrne, Founder and CEO of iNTENT Manifesto.

A Commitment to Diverse Entrepreneurship

This new $1 million investment applies learnings from the firm’s broader effort to help minority entrepreneurs in over 10 U.S. cities, including Detroit, New York, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and New York. These efforts are helping to increase their access to capital, leverage additional investments from the private sector and provide critical technical assistance to support their business growth. For example, in December 2017, JPMorgan Chase helped nearly triple the size of the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund in Detroit to $18 million and in February, expanded the model to create Entrepreneur of Color Funds in San Francisco and South Bronx as well.

Additionally, the firm has programs throughout the world to bolster women-owned small businesses, including Female Founders, which is part of our broader commitment to support small businesses, revitalize communities and make local economies more diverse and inclusive in the UK and Europe. Alongside technical support provided by entrepreneurial support organizations, female entrepreneurs are paired with a mentor from JPMorgan Chase for four months. The program was launched in London in 2017, is expanding to Paris this year and has supported more than 25 women trying to grow their small businesses so far.

Update. Also just out, the debut of digitalundivided’s video created by the Case Foundation featuring their work to support female founders of color is live HERE. The video includes and interview with Kathryn Finney who founded the organization that JP Morgan supported. She explores why she built a wide tent of diverse collaborators to help drive forward her mission to support Black and Latina women entrepreneurs.

For more information, visit www.jpmorganchase.com/smallbusinessforward and follow #SmallBizForward on Twitter.

Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

Learn more about women entrepreneurs, investing, and supporting startups by signing the iNTENT Manifesto at www.intentvc.com.

Photo via Women-Entrepreneurs-NYC.

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