JPMorgan Chase kicks off Denver Startup Week with grants for underserved entrepreneurs

DENVER – Chase for Business is returning as a title sponsor of Denver Startup Week, and will spotlight programs that assist Denver’s underserved entrepreneurs, plus engage U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon in a conversation focusing on startups and entrepreneurs.

Chase’s highlights include:

Community investment announcement at kickoff
At the Monday kickoff breakfast at the Seawell Ballroom, JPMorgan Chase & Co. will announce $300,000 total in philanthropic investments – $60,000 each – to five Colorado nonprofit organizations that help Denver’s underserved entrepreneurs. The nonprofits receiving grants are: Accion, Colorado Enterprise Fund, The Commons on Champa, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA and Mi Casa Resource Center. (See next page for details).

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s support of these nonprofits is part of the firm’s global Small Business Forward program, a $75 million three-year effort that connects underserved women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses with capital, targeted technical assistance and support networks to help them grow and succeed.

Fireside Chat with SBA Administrator Linda McMahon
Chase Business Banking CEO Andrew Kresse hosts a conversation with SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. Their discussion will touch on SBA’s support of small business owners and entrepreneurs in Denver and around the country. Topics will include small business policy initiatives and how the SBA can help entrepreneurs gain access to capital and counseling.
Thursday, Sept. 28, 10-11 a.m., Chase Basecamp at The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St.

Access to Flexible Capital, Training and Technical Assistance
Underserved entrepreneurs, such as people of color, women, and those with lower incomes, encounter barriers to entry into the startup world. This panel will highlight the work local organizations are doing to help entrepreneurs gain access to capital, training and technical assistance; shed light on some of the challenges these small businesses face; and provide recommendations on how to overcome these barriers.
Tuesday, Sept. 26, 10-11 a.m., Basecamp at The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St.

Capital Formation: Funding Your Dream
Ricardo McKenzie, Executive Director with J.P. Morgan Private Capital Markets, and Carly Levin, Head of J.P. Morgan NEXT, will host a discussion with local entrepreneurs who have battled to build their companies and fund their growth trajectory from startup to late stage financing, with details on the private market and examples of deals that have been completed during the last few years.
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 12-1:30 p.m., Basecamp at The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St.

$300,000 in investments to nonprofits assisting underserved entrepreneurs

On Sept. 25, JPMorgan Chase will announce philanthropic investments of $60,000 each to the nonprofits listed below. These investments are part of the firm’s global Small Business Forward program, a $75 million three-year effort that connects underserved women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses with capital, targeted technical assistance and support networks to help them grow and succeed.

Accion. By offering character-based business loans at affordable rates to economically underserved and vulnerable entrepreneurs, Accion bridges the credit gap that hinders community and economic development and prevents entrepreneurs from succeeding. The grant will support Accion’s ability to make loans and provide financial education and technical assistance to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs across Colorado, with a focus on underserved entrepreneurs, such as people of color, women, and those with low incomes.

Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF). CEF is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), and strives to accelerate community prosperity by financing and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses. The grant will help CEF provide access to capital for underserved entrepreneurs. Grant funds also will help provide outreach and technical assistance as part of its lending program, including continued work with healthy food businesses. Prior to this current grant, JPMorgan Chase’s annual PRO Neighborhoods CDFI Collaborative competition provided a $2 million, 3-year grant to some CDFIs called the ReFresh Collaborative. From that grant, $400,000 was allocated to CEF for participation in ReFresh to help CEF scale its Healthy Foods Fund, which finances food production, small grocery retail, local food distribution, and other Colorado healthy food businesses. The Healthy Foods Fund aims to improve access to fresh, healthy food and to promote economic and health benefits for communities designated as “food deserts.” To date, CEF’s Healthy Foods Fund has made 49 loans to 44 businesses in Colorado for a total of $2.4 million, which has helped create or retain 187 jobs.

The Commons on Champa. The Commons is a resource center supporting economic development, innovation, and entrepreneurship to keep Denver as one of the best places in the country to start and grow a business. The grant will support programs for underserved entrepreneurs, including women, military veterans and minority populations. They will provide group/cohort training, one-on-one technical assistance, resource connectivity and referrals, support programs and networking events.

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF). CRF’s mission is to empower people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities through innovative financial solutions. This grant will support CRF’s Patient Capital program in Denver, focusing on lending for underserved entrepreneurs. Prior to this current grant, CRF in 2014 was part of a CDFI collaborative, Emerging Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Cluster Initiative, which received a PRO Neighborhoods $7 million, 3-year grant. The collaborative, which focused on a number of cities and rural communities across the country, provided almost $170 million through 309 loans that helped create or retain 4,463 jobs, which included 400 jobs in Colorado and 23 CRF loans in Colorado totaling $12.2 million.

Mi Casa Resource Center. Mi Casa works to advance the economic success of Latino and working families by expanding opportunities for educational, professional and entrepreneurial advancement. The grant will support the organization’s program for underserved entrepreneurs, which includes one-on-one technical assistance (available in English and Spanish); courses for startups and existing businesses; and outreach to make the community aware of these programs.

Quotes from the organization’s leaders:

“We are tremendously grateful to Chase,” said Accion President and CEO Anne Haines. “Chase’s financial support helps fuel the growth of Accion-funded businesses in Colorado and enables local business owners to provide jobs in their communities.”
Media contact: Brinn Pfeiffer, 720-498-3828, main 800-508-7624,

Colorado Enterprise Fund
“We are very honored to receive this grant that will enable Colorado Enterprise Fund to serve more Colorado businesses with access to affordable capital and business advisory services,” said Ceyl Prinster, CEF’s President and CEO. “It will expand our partnership with JPMorgan Chase to advance economic opportunity and prosperity in underserved communities by supporting small businesses, which are the engine of our economy. CEF will leverage this grant with other public and private sources of funding to maximize impact in our Colorado communities.”
Media contact: Alisa Zimmerman, 720-473-4069, cell 303-921-0441,

The Commons on Champa
“The Commons on Champa was founded to grow Downtown Denver’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. By reducing barriers to entry and supporting entrepreneurs from all walks of life start and grow businesses we are creating a stronger, more integrated entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership and co-founder of The Commons on Champa. “Economic growth and city-wide prosperity happens when entrepreneurs come together to create community, share ideas and empower themselves, and we thank JPMorgan Chase for their continued support to help ensure that The Commons is a place where this can happen every day.”
Media contact: Brea Olson, 303- 775-4712,

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA
“We are grateful for Chase’s continued support of CRF’s mission,” said Brian Burke, Vice President of Business Lending for CRF. “With small business owners struggling to find access to flexible capital, this grant will help us reach more underserved entrepreneurs and continue to create positive impact in underinvested communities throughout Denver.”
Media contact: Kavita Wishart, 612-224-9594,

Mi Casa Resource Center
“JP Morgan Chase’s investment allows Mi Casa Resource Center to target some business training on upcoming infrastructure projects. Our established construction-related entrepreneurs deserve the opportunity to benefit from some of the largest regional projects in a generation, such as Central 70, National Western Center, DIA and the re-development of Sun Valley,” Monique Lovato, CEO of Mi Casa Resource Center.
Media contact: Michele Soli, 303-539-5613,

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