It’s no secret that Black and Latina entrepreneurs often face many unfair disadvantages in business. However, some initiatives seem to be turning the corner in helping women small businesses grow their entrepreneurial potential.
Studies show that “women of color are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the U.S. with more than 1.5 million businesses– a 322% increase since 1997.” This is amazing, right? And yet they only receive “less than one percent of all venture investment.” They also have less advantages when it comes to wealth, financial safety nets, and networks that other entrepreneurs rely on for success. [#ProjectDiane]
These statistics are discouraging, but changes taking place within the entrepreneurial landscape offer hope.
JPMorgan Chase announced a $1 million investment to support Black and Latina entrepreneurs’ startups. This investment is part of their Small Business Forward initiative which strives to provide “flexible financing and support to underserved women, minority, and veteran-owned small businesses.” The investment will be divided and invested into two programs: digitalundivided (DID) and iNENT Manifesto.
Both programs are focused on supporting and empowering Black and Latina entrepreneurs, specifically focused in the tech field.
DID and its two projects for Black and Latina entrepreneurs
DID is a social enterprise founded in 2013, that works to support Black and Latina entrepreneurs in innovation focused entrepreneurship.
- Half of the $1 million investment will go towards two projects within DID. The first project will incubate 40 startups founded by women of color. This is a 26-week cohort that will provide mentorship, business planning, and marketing strategies to teach these start-ups helpful tips to make their businesses successful.
- The second DID project that will be funded is a second version of #ProjectDiane, a research study about the state of Black women in tech entrepreneurship in the United States. This second study will expand to include Latinas and will be released later in 2018.
The iNTENT Manifesto
The other half of the investment will go toward funding the iNTENT Manifesto, “an educational and investment platform based on good design, intent and investment to drive meaningful amounts of capital to women of color tech startups.” The project aims to raise the visibility and support for women of color entrepreneurs through a series of workshops and educational campaigns.
“Our mission is to create a more inclusive economy in which entrepreneurs from all backgrounds have a fair shot at building and scaling their companies,” said Janis Bowdler, Head of Small Business Initiatives, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “We are proud to support digitalundivided and iNTENT Manifesto in their goal to elevate women of color as technology business leaders and owners. Thanks to their efforts we are beginning to change the face of entrepreneurship in the tech industry.”
This investment is a great start in leveling the playing field for Latina entrepreneurs and women of color in business. Hopefully it will inspire others to follow in the firm’s footsteps and invest in these women and their ventures.
For more information, visit www.jpmorganchase.com/smallbusinessforward and follow #SmallBizForward on Twitter.