One Year In… Growing Small Business

In Detroit’s urban core and throughout the city’s neighborhoods, JPMorgan Chase is committed to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs access the resources and expertise they need to start, grow and scale their businesses.

A central focus of our investment is supporting small business clusters – groups of companies within the same industry that share resources and infrastructure. Research from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City has shown that small businesses in clusters grow three times more quickly, and these clusters also build neighborhood density and strengthen economic momentum. This is precisely the kind of economic impact we’re working to catalyze in Detroit.

Bizdom - Join the family of companies
Bizdom: Accelerating Technology Start-ups

Bizdom’s 12-week Accelerator Program helps early-stage tech entrepreneurs build, beta test and launch their startups, then attract follow-on investment capital to grow and become commercially viable. Participants work closely with business mentors to gain feedback and industry insights, and they receive training in product development, fundraising and other vital business skills. JPMorgan Chase’s support enabled 12 high-potential entrepreneurs to participate in the program, build essential business skills and pitch their products to investors at Bizdom Demo Days.

Eastern Market Detroit
Eastern Market: Growing Food-focused Businesses

Eastern Market is a thriving neighborhood food center in Detroit that both improves access to healthy, affordable food choices and fortifies the food sector as a pillar of regional economic growth. JPMorgan Chase’s $1 million commitment provided the final funds necessary to complete renovations of Eastern Market’s Shed 5, a facility the size of a football field that includes a commercial kitchen where food entrepreneurs prepare, test-market and begin selling high-quality products.

By May 2015, when renovation of Shed 5 was complete, Eastern Market had helped incubate 18 Detroit-based small businesses, 12 of which are women-owned. Our funding is also helping Eastern Market establish three community-owned kitchen spaces in other parts of Detroit.

Techtown Detroit
Techtown Detroit: Revitalizing Neighborhoods

TechTown’s Retail Boot Camp is an eight week immersion in small business retail skills that equips entrepreneurs to launch successful, neighborhood-focused small businesses – bakeries, dry cleaners and other essential enterprises that serve residents’ needs, make communities more vital and help define neighborhood identities. Our funding allowed TechTown to graduate a new class of 10 entrepreneurs in November 2014.

We also provided support for TechTown’s SWOT City program, which conducts in-depth assessments and develops comprehensive stabilization and economic development strategies for individual neighborhoods. In the first year of our commitment, we supported TechTown’s work to assess the University District neighborhood, which yielded recommendations to help strengthen the neighborhood’s commercial corridor, including improvements to the street and storefront lighting infrastructure, a marketing campaign for the Avenue of Fashion and events to draw more local and out-of-town shoppers. In 2015, we will support TechTown’s work to implement these recommendations.

Innovation Fund To Award First Grants To Entrepreneurs In Summer 2015

JPMorgan Chase provided $1 million to enable Macomb Community College to create a $2.7 million Innovation Fund, housed in its Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The Fund will provide early-stage capital to start-up businesses and entrepreneurs that are located within the nine-county Detroit region and focused on advanced manufacturing, information technology and other high-tech sectors. Two levels of awards will be available: grants of up to $25,000 to support proof of concept activities, and awards of up to $100,000 that must be matched 1:1 by other funds, and repaid if the business is successful.

One of the significant criteria for all businesses is the willingness to provide learning or employment opportunities for students at Macomb Community College. The Fund opened its first competition in February 2015, and will award its first round of grants in Summer 2015.