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Chase Bank Shows ‘Small Biz, Big Thanks’ and Celebrates National Small Business Week in Oak Cliff

A version of this story originally appeared in Dallas Weekly.

On Monday, May 1st, Chase for Business hosted an in-person pop-up shop at its Oak Cliff Community Center branch to kick off National Small Business Week. It invited Dallas area entrepreneurs and small business owners to see tools and resources they can use to start, run and grow their businesses. The complimentary event featured local vendors such as Savor Pastries, Urban Hydration, Get Organized and South Polk Pizzeria.

When some people hear the term “small business," they imagine a mom and pop business, reliant on its community to sustain itself—and that is very much a reality for many small companies, corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships. But small is relative: The SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration), defines small business as a company whose revenue ranges from $1 million to over $40 million and employs from 100 to over 1,500 employees. In such a competitive market, Dallas shines bright: Just last year Dallas Innovates reported that, among US cities, Dallas was number one in small business employment. Out of the 32.5 million small businesses within the nation, 3 million small businesses call Texas home.

Continuing its mission to create financial stability and wealth for the communities it serves, Chase for Business has created a free small business mentoring program that is available to both account holders and those who don't bank at Chase. This mentorship program offers direct one-on-one coaching from a Chase Bank consultant, who provides actionable insights to help accelerate a business's potential. This week's celebratory event in Oak Cliff was not only an open invitation to local small business owners but also an opportunity to showcase their success stories.

We sat down with Dallas Senior Vice President and Market Manager Susan Leinbaugh, who gave opening remarks at the pop-up event and provided insight about why this day was important.

“We knew, even before the pandemic, that we had a lot of work to do. We have the resources to help small businesses, but we need to meet the people where they are."

Susan Leinbaugh, Market Manager for JPMorgan Chase

Leinbaugh, who has been with JPMorgan Chase for over 30 years, detailing the homework that Chase for Business has done, including surveys and data collection through its partnerships with organizations like the DEC (Dallas Entrepreneurs Center). She also explained how crucial it was to boost community engagement, so that each individual branch and the people who work there know how to support community members best. To the point, one of Chase's small business week mentorship workshops provided consultation from marketing experts on best practices and services.

Sylvia Andrade, a mentor who is one of the two Senior Business Consultants overseeing the DFW program, provided the event's closing remarks. She reinforced the importance of what Chase Bank is doing to improve the DFW ecosystem through local small businesses. She gave numerous examples of local business owners she worked with, and talked about watching them catapult their business through the mentorship program.

Andrade has been with Chase Bank for over 20 years. While she isn't a native of Dallas, she completely understands the importance of giving people the opportunity to succeed. For her, just as every business and business owner is different, the approach to finding the best solutions for her mentees also varies. One of her mentees, Terrill Burnett, was a vendor at the pop-up event. His business, South Polk Pizzeria, is located in the same parking lot as the Chase Bank Oak Cliff community center. In the four months he has been working with Chase Bank, Burnett has grown his staff from one employee to nine.

“The first thing I do is sit and talk with the business owner on what their needs are. And from there we assess everything from banking practices to technological capabilities. We understand they're experts in their business but not necessarily business experts.. This is why we are here to provide the tools they need."

Sylvia Andrade, Senior Business Consultant

Even on a micro level, Andrade has shown the program's ability to help small businesses. She gave an example of simply helping a business owner obtain their Minority Business Certification. Through that certification, the business owner was able to be added to JPMC Supplier Diversity Network, which not only gave them access to other businesses, but also enabled them to become a resource for those same businesses.

Business owners and entrepreneurs are chosen for this program on a rolling basis, and they participate for three to six months. Upon graduation, the business owners are placed in a network with other graduates, and they are provided with a directory of other entrepreneurs in their industry. Again, Chase for Business understands that, in order for the ecosystem to grow, we have to feed it.

If you are interested in joining the Chase for Business mentorship program, simply go to your local Chase branch and ask to speak with a banker about your needs. You can also go online to register here and see more information.