Press Releases

JPMorgan Chase Advancing Black Pathways and Chase for Business are partnering with StartupBus to lead 30 budding entrepreneurs in a national program designed for black technologists, designers, and innovators.


Starting on July 24, these rising entrepreneurs will board the “Advancing Black Entrepreneurs” StartupBus to compete in a five-day, high-intensity tech entrepreneurship bootcamp. Now in its 10th year, with JPMorgan Chase joining for the first time, the StartupBus competition has accelerated hundreds of emerging entrepreneurs across the globe into a community of founders who have gone on to launch companies that have attracted over $1 billion in venture funding and numerous acquisitions.

The participants were recruited through a highly selective process from New York City, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Atlanta and Oakland. They will gather at JPMorgan Chase’s Harlem branch to begin a journey that will take them to stops at historical sites and innovation hubs in Akron, Ohio; Detroit, Atlanta, and Montgomery, Alabama, with the journey culminating in New Orleans.

Along the way, the participants will hear from empowering speakers and engage in a curriculum designed to train and inspire the black business leaders of tomorrow. They will also be guided by business and financial experts as they develop their products and investor pitches. These mentors will consist of business leaders from Chase, as well as business owners, technologists and past participants of the competition.

Along the way, participants will form teams and conceive, build and launch fully functional products designed to address and improve the financial health of black Americans. On July 27-28, the Advancing Black Entrepreneurs StartupBus will converge with teams from seven other buses from across the U.S. to compete in New Orleans and pitch their startups to a diverse lineup of prominent investors and directors from Kapor Capital, Change Catalyst, Backstage Capital, and Pantegrion Capital.

“StartupBus cross-pollinates unparalleled technological, creative, and visionary talent, allowing our participants to re-inject their expanded social capital, innovative mindsets, and newfound energy into the communities they call home,” said Madelena Mak and Colleen Wong, national directors of StartupBus. “The Advancing Black Entrepreneurs bus marks a significant milestone in our efforts to pave pathways to sustainable socioeconomic growth by partnering with economic development organizations, diverse startup ecosystems, and world-class, mission-driven companies such as JPMorgan Chase.”

Sekou Kaalund, the Head of Advancing Black Pathways at JPMorgan Chase, said that through the collaboration, the bank is looking to teach rising black entrepreneurs about the startup process while enhancing their financial knowledge through advice from business bankers.

“This competition aligns with our long-term goal to drive inclusive growth by empowering more people in the black community to further their education, grow their careers and build wealth,” Kaalund said.

According to Global Policy Solutions, if people of color owned businesses at the same rates as white entrepreneurs, it would result in 9 million more jobs and $300 billion in worker income. Advancing Black Pathways and Chase for Business are focused on improving the financial health of black Americans through increased savings, improving credit, homebuyer counseling and helping black-owned small businesses get access to the capital they need.

“It’s important that we do our part to ensure diversity among those who are creating the world of tomorrow. Investing in more opportunities and resources for black entrepreneurs is a part of that effort. We’re excited about this collaboration with StartupBus because it brings the power of community and collaboration to life in a really fun way” said Christopher Hollins, Managing Director, Chase Business Banking.

JPMorgan Chase’s investment in the black community goes far beyond this competition. Launched earlier this year, the Advancing Black Pathways initiative was created to help black families benefit from economic growth through a focus on education, training, career opportunities and building lasting wealth through homeownership and entrepreneurship. Advancing Black Pathways builds on existing national JPMorgan Chase programs to strengthen diversity, including The Fellowship Initiative, Advancing Black Leaders and Entrepreneurs of Color Fund.

To give black families and more Detroiters more access to economic opportunity and upward mobility, JPMorgan Chase’s new, forward-looking investment will leverage the firm’s philanthropy and business activities, as well as the data and expertise of its employees, to support initiatives around four key areas:

Learn more about Advancing Black Pathways.

Learn more Chase for Business.

Learn more about StartupBus.


About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services Firm with assets of $3.2 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 customers 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.

About StartupBus

StartupBus is a five-day tech entrepreneurship bootcamp and competition on wheels since 2010. Equal parts hackathon, road trip, and global alumni network, StartupBus is an annual competition designed to empower the tech community, challenging top-tier talent to hop on a bus, conceive, build, and launch a startup in 72 hours. The next competition in 2019 will commence on July 24 - 28, with 7 buses heading towards New Orleans.