TechSquare Labs Partners with MCEC on JPMorgan Chase’s $400,000 Grant

Local organizations partner to increase capital and training for entrepreneurs in Atlanta’s inner cities

JPMorgan Chase announced today a $400,000 grant to the Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center to develop a new program, Ascend 2020 Atlanta, to help grow hundreds of minority and women-owned technology companies in low-income communities across Metro Atlanta.

Morehouse College will partner with local organizations to create a support system that will provide management skills training, access to capital and customer acquisition strategies to underserved entrepreneurs. These local partners include:

  • Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs
  • Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech
  • Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
  • TechSquare Labs

The Ascend 2020 program was developed by the University of Washington Foster School of Business last year. It links business schools, business service-providing organizations and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to provide tools and resources that are not always available to businesses in underserved neighborhoods.

Research shows minority-owned businesses rely significantly more on investments of personal or family wealth than on outside debt or equity. Only 16 percent of conventional small business loans went to women entrepreneurs, and less than two percent of African-American owned businesses received SBA loans in 2013, according to a recent report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

This new initiative will bring together resources that bridge the gap for small businesses that might not need or are not ready for a traditional banking relationship.

“Morehouse is very excited about the potential of this partnership which allows the college to extend our reach and support to minority entrepreneurs here in Atlanta,” said Tiffany Bussey, Director of the Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center. “These engagements afford us the opportunity to build upon our leadership in decreasing the income inequality gap in our communities.”

The group will host an event today at TechSquare Labs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to educate local businesses about the program and the resources that are available to them.

“Connecting underrepresented small businesses with the resources and capital they need to grow is not only good for the economic health of the community, but it’s also good business,” said Rey Curva, head of Chase Business Banking in Atlanta. “Over the past several years, Chase has referred hundreds of small businesses to our trusted CDFI partners, and we’re pleased that many come back to Chase for a small business loan when the time is right.”

“By bringing together management education, market access and access to capital through loans and investments for the first time at a national scale, Ascend 2020 will accelerate the growth of minority-owned and inner city businesses that create jobs in communities where they’re needed the most,” said Michael Verchot, Director, Consulting and Business Development Center, University of Washington Foster School of Business.

In the last six months, JPMorgan Chase has provided more than $4.6 million to nonprofit organizations supporting small businesses growth in Atlanta.

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