JPMorgan Chase is stepping up to the plate for minority entrepreneurs in Tampa Bay, pledging a hefty $250,000 to the Pinellas Community Foundation’s (PCF) “Diverse Ventures” program. This initiative, inspired by successful national models, aims to bolster minority and underserved business owners in the region.
The two-year commitment from JPMorgan Chase will help PCF connect grassroots organizations that support minority entrepreneurs, building on the foundation’s previous work through its Social Opportunity Works Fund. This fund played a crucial role in supporting small and minority businesses during the pandemic.
Duggan Cooley, CEO of PCF, said, “Most of the philanthropic capital awarded by JPMorgan Chase will be strategically invested to help nonprofit organizations that work with minority business owners build their capacity. Together, we aim to strengthen the regional ecosystem of small business support and make it more accessible for all.”
The Diverse Ventures program aims to enhance and diversify the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, helping more Black and minority business owners access the training, resources, and capital they need to thrive.
Karen Chassin, Executive Director Emeritus of the St. Petersburg Foundation and consultant to the Diverse Ventures initiative, said, “This support from JP Morgan Chase will help organizations that are already working effectively with minority entrepreneurs to build their capacity. It will also give us the opportunity to learn from other communities about ways to improve the overall business support ecosystem when it comes to helping business owners from under-represented groups.”
The move comes in response to a stark wealth gap, with the median white family wealth being more than 10 times that of the median Black family. Entrepreneurship and business ownership, particularly community-based businesses, can be a key factor in closing this gap.
Maria Escorcia, Southeast Region Executive of Global Philanthropy for JPMorgan Chase, said, “Small businesses are the lifeblood of any community – Tampa Bay is no exception. Often, small business owners lack access to the resources they need to prosper and become more resilient to changing economic conditions. This often impacts minority-owned businesses more significantly. By building capacity for diverse-owned startups and small businesses in Pinellas County, we hope to help more small businesses access the training, resources, and capital they need to make the Tampa Bay region prosper.”
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