How a $39 Million Loan Fund is Helping Underserved Entrepreneurs Grow

JPMorgan Chase’s Entrepreneurs of Color Fund is providing necessary capital to fuel more than 200 U.S. black- and latino-owned businesses.

According to research by Professor Michael S. Barr from the University of Michigan, black and latino-owned businesses are opening at a record rates, however they are more likely to rely on personal and family savings than outside funding – restricting their growth.footnote i

Melissa Butler, founder and CEO of The Lip Bar, knows this problem all too well. While preparing to launch with a major national retailer, Butler couldn't secure the funding she needed to grow her budding cosmetics company, despite having a contract in place. It was then that she learned about the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund – a program supported by JPMorgan Chase’s Small Business Forward initiative, a $150 million effort to help entrepreneurs access the capital and the technical assistance they need to expand.

With the help of local partners like the Detroit Development Fund, in 2017 Butler obtained an initial loan to produce the necessary inventory and is now in over 450 stores nationwide.

Between 2015 and 2018, more than 200 minority-owned businesses, like Butler’s, have received more than $9.5 million in capital from the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund.

Initially launched in Detroit, the fund has since expanded to assist entrepreneurs in Chicago, San Francisco, South Bronx and – most recently – the Greater Washington region. To date, JPMorgan Chase’s $17.25-million investment has attracted an additional $22 million in external capital and has created or preserved more than 1,200 jobs in the process.

Helping to drive this progress are local partners across the nation, including:

Read more inspiring examples of entrepreneurs of color breaking down barriers in their communities.

DETROIT

Regina Gaines of House of Pure Vin, one of the first loan recipients from the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund in Detroit.

$6.5MM for Innovative Lending to Support Detroit

After years of friendship, Regina Gaines, Andrea Dunbar and Terry Mullins decided to start a business together in Detroit. While developing the business plan, they always came back to their non-negotiable mission: the venture had to reflect and participate in their city’s ongoing economic revitalization.

CHICAGO

SAN FRANCISCO

Faces of Opportunity: Finding the American Dream in a Parking Lot

Patty Rodriguez’s tragic past – fleeing from civil war-torn El Salvador at a young age – fueled her promising future as an entrepreneur. Rodriguez started a parking management company in San Francisco at a time where latino-owned businesses were growing at twice the pace of other ethnic groups, but it wasn’t as simple at it seems.

SOUTH BRONX, NEW YORK