At JPMorgan Chase, we’ve had the privilege to partner with Accion, LISC, and Fifth Third Bank on the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund. We couldn’t think of better partners to invest in. In the first year, we saw tremendous success, great impact for the businesses we were serving. We think we can do even more. We think we can serve more than 400 businesses on Chicago’s South and West Sides with an increased investment in partnership.
Fifth Third Bank wanted to make this investment into the South and West Sides of Chicago, because we really wanted to take on a key role of bringing resources into these neighborhoods to help them to thrive again. And so, like any good neighbor, we knew that it was our responsibility to pitch in and to help out.
If you have really smart people who are in their neighborhoods, and they haven't gotten anybody to pay attention to them around giving them the capital they need to grow, that working capital, or that seed funding in order to help them build their business... we’re there. Somebody has got to believe in the entrepreneurs, and put the money into those businesses to let them then do their thing.
We get paid, when they get paid. Sometimes we're working months without being compensated. Accion was a tremendous help to both me and my business. Accion helped me tremendously with financial guidance to help me achieve better credit, as well as getting that extra boost of confidence that my business will continue to grow and succeed.
Without the support really of LISC and JPMorgan stepping in to say, okay, we'll give you what you need to get started, quite frankly, I don't think this construction or development in our little small sector of this community will be happening. It's transformed not only, like, this part of the community, but the people who are here, because they get to drive by every day, they get to see their property, and that was the vision from the start, and because of the support that we've been given, now they see it come into life.
This is an opportunity for us to really give back to the residents and the people in this neighborhood to make change. Deon is a part of that change, and we're really, really excited to kind of help him with his mission. We want to see this project be just as successful as he does.
What makes the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund truly unique is that there is no pride of ownership, in this program that we think really belongs to the entrepreneurs that need this capital the most.
JPMorgan Chase has committed $17 million to the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund over its life, across the country. That initial commitment has grown because other partners have jumped on board and said, this is important and we're going to help get this work done.