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Originally reported from VMH Magazine
The Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center has received a $400,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase to help grow new minority-and-women-owned tech businesses and provide funds to existing firms that need the capital to expand.
The program, Ascend 2020 Atlanta, offers minority and female entrepreneurs a network of support from experts in the fields of business management, marketing, finance, and technology that will work to help them to succeed.
Morehouse College will partner with TechSquare Labs, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, and the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech in the effort.
“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.”
Morehouse College Interim President Bill Taggart said the partnership is a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs interested in launching tech businesses. It will link minority firms to tools and resources provided by business schools, business service organizations, and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).
“This partnership could increase economic development in communities in the shadows of Morehouse College,” Taggart said. “It gives entrepreneurs access to some of our most talented professors and a team of experts working in the tech industry. We thank JPMorgan Chase for their investment in Morehouse and the minority business community.”
Research shows minority-owned businesses rely significantly more on investments of personal or family wealth than on outside debt or equity. In 2013, 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, according to a recent report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
Officials with the New York-based financial services firm JPMorgan Chase said the $400,000 grant will help to increase capital and training for minority and female entrepreneurs in metro Atlanta.
“Connecting underrepresented small businesses with the resources and capital they need to grow is not only good for the economic health of the community, 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.”
In the last six months, JPMorgan Chase has provided more than $4.6 million to nonprofit organizations supporting the growth of small businesses in Atlanta.
The Ascend 2020 program, a national effort supported by JPMorgan Chase, was first developed by the University of Washington Foster School of Business last year to grow minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses in urban centers across the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Washington D.C.