JPMorgan and the New Voices Foundation launch business bootcamp for WOC

JPMorgan Chase wants to make sure that businesses from all across the U.S., not just in the major cities, are represented

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JPMorgan Chase announced on Monday that it will be partnering with the New Voices Foundation, a organization dedicated to productive community-building and entrepreneurial development for women of color, to launch a business banking educational program called the New Voices Banking Bootcamp

The program will find 15 business-savvy female entrepreneurs of color to participate in the bootcamp which will take place at the end of this year. Applications are open until Nov. 22.

And although JPMorgan Chase and the New Voices Foundation are looking to engage companies that have promising futures and have been incorporated for at least two years, they want to make sure that businesses from all across the U.S. — not just in the major cities — are represented.

“Because of this new virtual environment, it allows us to have zero bias towards where you’re geographically located,” said Advancing Black Pathways’ head of wealth, Tosh Ernest, in an interview.

“With this virtual bootcamp, we’re actually hoping we’ll be able to find those gems that are maybe in the middle of Idaho somewhere, but are overlooked when it comes to the east coast, west coast nature of some of these startup communities and ecosystems,” Ernest continued.

Read More: Black businesses get fewer loan opportunities, study shows

Upon completion of the program, the chosen businesses will be given $10,000.

“Access to capital continues to be out of reach for women of color entrepreneurs with investors both less likely to be exposed to these entrepreneurs and less willing to diversify their applicant pools. Moreover, research has shown that most investors have different standards for women of color when evaluating their funding eligibility,” said Richelyna Hall, New Voices Foundation’s chief impact officer in a statement. 

The program will consist of three intensive half-day training sessions and participants will hear from experts from JPMorgan Chase and the New Voices Foundation’s networks. One session will cover risk analysis, another will cover bank-businesses relationships, and the final one will touch on securing capital and scaling one’s business. 

The entrepreneurs will also be paired with seasoned industry mentors to help advise them on next steps for their businesses in between bootcamp sessions. 

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This program is part of JPMorgan’s ongoing Advancing Black Pathways initiative which launched in early 2019 to address the racial wealth gap and the systemic inequalities we see across the country. 

“Our objective for this is making sure we don’t just help them through this bootcamp, but we help them with their banking relationships in an ongoing way and a sustainable way, as they continue to grow their business,” said Ernest.

“We are unapologetically looking to bank Black businesses and to let them know that we’re invested in their futures,” she continued.

Black businesses are often based in Black communities and JPMorgan Chase says they want to help scale these Black businesses, so that they can hire employees in their communities.

Ernst noted that only 4% percent of Black business actually hire employees while about 15% of white owned businesses hire employees. “If Black business could reach employee parity,” said Ernst, “We could eradicate the joblessness numbers in the Black community.”

“How’s that for closing the wealth gap!” She exclaimed. 

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