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CHICAGO, Oct. 9, 2014 – JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced investments in five not-for-profit entrepreneurial organizations. The partnerships are part of the company's recently launched Small Business Forward initiative—a five-year, $30 million grant program designed to boost small business support networks that help growing enterprises in specific industries.

Small businesses can increase their impact on a region's competitiveness and economic output through business concentrations known as economic "clusters." In fact, nearly half of the high performing clusters in the nation's 10 largest metros grew roughly three times faster than other local businesses between 2003 and 2011, according to a new study from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC).

“Our company recognizes the importance of local nonprofits that provide on-the-ground assistance and structure for small businesses across the country and those companies are what drive our economy,” said Melissa Bean, JPMorgan Chase’s chairman of the Midwest. “It was only natural for Chase to combine its support for American small businesses with Chicago’s entrepreneur community.”

The Small Business Forward investments are:
1871/Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center: $100,000 of continuing support for educational workshops in the Chase Knowledge Center that focus on start-up law, patents and other topics to help small businesses grow. 1871 is an entrepreneurial hub for digital startups. The organization is located in a 75,000-square-foot facility that provides businesses with programming, access to mentors, educational resources, potential investors and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Accion: $100,000 of continuing support for educational workshops and training for small businesses, including CDFIs and SBDCs. Accion’s Small Business Development Program provides underserved entrepreneurs with the comprehensive business support and capital they need to achieve financial security, grow their businesses and create jobs.

Chicago Innovation Exchange: a new grant of $100,000 to support educational workshops at the University of Chicago’s new facility in Hyde Park. The Chicago Innovation Exchange helps entrepreneurs affiliated with local universities, as well as Mid-South Side residents, learn about legal issues, business models, pitching to investors, sales, marketing, accounting and more.

Manufacturing Renaissance: $200,000 for continued support of the development and implementation of the Austin Manufacturing Innovation Park, which helps regional manufacturers compete in the global economy and train residents of Chicago’s West Side in advanced manufacturing skills to create a sophisticated workforce.

MATTER: a new grant of $150,000 to support educational workshops for small and emerging businesses in the biotech industry. MATTER is a new innovation hub in downtown Chicago focused on supporting all phases of venture creation by bringing together the health technology ecosystem to foster mentorship relationships, promote access to investors and serve as a “one stop” location for innovators.

JPMorgan Chase’s Small Business Forward initiative targets non-profit networks that focus on supporting industry “clusters,” like MATTER’s focus on biotech and Manufacturing Renaissance’s on advance manufacturing. The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City conducted research that demonstrates that this strategy is quickly becoming a critically important economic development tool for top metro areas around the country and around the world. In fact, the research, commissioned by JPMorgan Chase, shows that over an 8-year period, metro areas with high performing clusters produced three times the value of products and services than other businesses in those markets.

Learn more about Small Business Forward

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands.