Minority owned small businesses received another big boost, as JPMorgan Chase announced a three year, $2.5 million expansion of its Ascend 2020 program from six U.S. cities to 10. The expansion additionally formalizes consulting services, business education, and partnerships with anchor institutions that are committed to increasing spending with minority-owned firms over that period. The overall goal is to close the wealth gap across the nation.
Headquartered at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, Ascend 2020 connects minority entrepreneurs to suppliers, business schools, and community partners to increase access to markets, money, and management strength through education. Since its launch in 2016, the program has helped 140 businesses gain $8 million in investments, including $3 million in new capital and $5 million in contracts.
JPMorgan Chase’s global head of corporate responsibility, Peter Scher, talked about this expansion in a press release, saying that, “Ascend 2020 is a model for supporting minority-owned small business that is working, and we are excited to be driving inclusive economic growth by bringing it to other U.S. cities. By joining forces with the University of Washington, we’re improving minority-owned businesses access to the capital, education and new clients they need to thrive.”
Additional funding from JPMorgan Chase, a $100,000 planning grant, is going to support entrepreneurs in Long Island, New York, the first new city announced as part of Ascend 2020. All of this funding represents an ongoing effort by JPMorgan Chase to support minority-owned businesses, with this latest expansion applying insights from JPMorgan Chase’ efforts in Detroit two years ago. That included $6.5 million for the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, providing minority-owned small businesses with access to capital and technical assistance as part of the firm’s $150 million investment in Detroit’s economic recovery.