Perhaps nothing symbolizes Detroit’s turnaround more than its vibrant, growing and entrepreneurial small business community. Small businesses act as engines that drive job creation and economic development—and in Detroit, they are doing just that as they also bring excitement, buzz and new residents to the city.
The people who want to start or grow small businesses in Detroit need access to critical resources—including training, networks, mentorship, markets and capital—to succeed. These resources are essential for small businesses anywhere, but in underserved communities like Detroit, they are scarce and often difficult to access.
What we are doing
JPMorgan Chase is investing$7 million
to support innovative programs and organizations that are helping Detroit’s small business owners and entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses and stimulate broader development throughout the city’s urban core and surrounding neighborhoods. Our investments are focused on:
Supporting and Catalyzing Business Clusters
Key to our approach is supporting Detroit’s small business clusters, which accelerate business development by enabling companies to share resources and infrastructure. For example, we are supporting two organizations that are strengthening the city’s existing clusters:
Bizdom is a startup accelerator launched by Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Rock Ventures/Quicken Loans, which provides seed funding and intense mentorship to entrepreneurs looking to launch and grow innovative tech-based startups in the downtown urban core of Detroit. JPMorgan Chase’s support will enable Bizdom to enhance its entrepreneur training programs and help expand Bizdom portfolio companies’ access to investors.
Detroit Eastern Market
Eastern Market’s vision is to create the most inclusive, resilient and robust regional food hub in the United States; improve access to healthy, affordable and fair food choices; and fortify the food sector as a pillar of regional economic growth. JPMorgan Chase will support Detroit’s food cluster by enabling Eastern Market to establish a community kitchen that will help entrepreneurs access low-cost cooking equipment.
Expanding Access to Small Business Development Services
Entrepreneurs in Detroit’s neighborhoods face a variety of challenges to sustaining a new business—and have access to fewer support services than businesses located downtown. To expand access to business development services in Detroit’s neighborhoods, we are supporting organizations such as TechTown.
TechTown is a business accelerator and incubator founded to develop and grow sustainable technology businesses in Detroit. TechTown’s SWOT City program assesses neighborhood strengths and identifies opportunities to improve the environment for businesses operating in those locations. This includes developing revitalization plans for neighborhood business districts, offering training for entrepreneurs and addressing the specific challenges identified – such as replacing broken streetlights that discourage customers from shopping after dark. JPMorgan Chase’s support is enabling TechTown to expand the program first to the University District neighborhood and later to additional areas that are the focus of the city’s redevelopment efforts.
In addition, we are using the expertise and relationships of our small business banking business to help Detroit small businesses access loans that are not available through conventional financing. Through our Small Business Referral program, we will connect business owners with two CDFIs that are well-suited to provide financing and technical assistance: Invest Detroit and Community Reinvestment Fund, both of which are long-standing partners of our firm.