Why you should care
Because small businesses are key to reinventing communities.
OZY and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have partnered to bring you an inside look at how entrepreneurs are coming up with innovative methods to help the communities around them. Enjoy the rest of our special series here.
Owning a business is never easy. In Detroit, that’s as true as anywhere else across the globe. Entrepreneurs face a number of challenges, from adopting new technology quickly enough to staying ahead of the competition. But they also face Detroit-centric challenges, owing to the state of Motor City’s economic recovery.
For Rhonda Rowe, the second-generation owner of Rowe Trucking, keeping her business afloat is a necessity. If she goes under, so do the staff she employs. Failure isn’t an option, she says, because she wants to ensure that her staff “can take care of their families,” and she’s aiming for Rowe Trucking to be around for “generations to come.”
It’s easy to say that all entrepreneurs like Rowe need is hard work to get ahead, but the truth is, sometimes elbow grease isn’t enough. The biggest problem for entrepreneurs? Access to capital. Small businesses often can’t qualify for traditional loans.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., for one, appreciates that a little financial support can go a long way in getting small businesses off the ground. To that effect, JPMorgan Chase & Co. helped launch the Entrepreneurs of Color (EOC) Fund, in partnership with the Detroit Development Fund (DDF) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The fund allows DDF to provide capital and credit to businesses that might otherwise go under, and by the end of last year, it offered 30 loans — $2.75 million in capital — to help create 79 jobs.
Thanks to the EOC Fund, Rowe has been awarded two loans for a total of $75,000, enabling her to buy new trucks to haul even bigger loads. Her company needs to pay staff and fuel the vehicles, often while waiting for contractors to pay them what they are owed, so EOC money helps provide a much-needed cushion.
If you’re wondering why JPMorgan Chase & Co. cares about small businesses, it’s because small businesses are what build communities. According to research by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, small businesses generate more revenue and create more jobs when they are well aligned with their communities’ strategic assets, like access to public transit. This is the underlying theory behind our Small Business Forward program, which supports clusters of businesses, like Eastern Market, a food incubator that has proven successful at launching businesses and creating jobs, by granting them easier access to necessary services and funding. As these clusters strengthen, they can evolve into hubs of industry innovation and expertise, catalyzing greater economic activity, which is why we are supporting them in cities around the world.
In all, JPMorgan Chase & Co. has pledged $100 million to support Detroit’s economic recovery, and many of the efforts revolve around small business owners. But from a banking perspective, we have been on the ground in Motor City for decades, providing a range of services to businesses of every size. And as a leading SBA lender, we leverage all the tools at our disposal to provide even more working capital to help companies thrive.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is also investing significantly in convenient digital solutions, so our small business clients can save time and focus on running their business, not running to the bank. After all, it’s the success of small business owners and entrepreneurs that helps cities like Detroit regain their economic strength.