(Photo by Flickr user Sue, used under a Creative Commons license)
Financial services giant JPMorgan Chase is making a $600,000 investment to help scale a venture that’s designed to help minority-led small businesses get access to relief funds and was co-created by a Baltimore-based bank and the business and investment portfolio of music legend and mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs.
The funding will support OurFairShare.com, which was created through a partnership between Harbor Bank of Maryland Community Development Corporation and Combs Enterprises.
I’ve come up with a solution to help access PPP stimulus funding for all small businesses and entrepreneurs.
— Diddy (@Diddy) April 23, 2020
The platform is designed to guide business owners through the aid programs such as the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
It comes as small businesses are being rocked by the economic downturn that came alongside the COVID-19 pandemic. In a crisis where inequalities are exacerbated, minority small business owners are facing particular challenges. A recent Washington Post report states that the number of working Black business owners fell 40%, which is a higher share than other racial groups.
At the same time, loans from the federal government that were designed to keep small businesses afloat aren’t reaching many women and minority-owned businesses.
“The Paycheck Protection Program at $659 billion and seeking to move funds on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis needed a solution to address the known challenges, especially given the significantly condensed timeframe. OurFairShare has been successful in providing a solution for a key portion of the access to capital issue,” said John Lewis, executive VP of Harbor Bank, which has worked with the community and studied the challenges to minority participation in the SBA 7(a) loan program.
The funds will support digital education and awareness resources available on the platform, as well as technology and staffing.
JPMorgan Chase is investing $1 million in small business and efforts in the region, and $250 million to business and philanthropic efforts during the pandemic. Along with OurFairShare, it is also making a $400,000 investment to help the D.C.-based Latino Economic Development Center provide technical assistance and zero-interest bridge loans.
“The COVID-19 crisis is disproportionately impacting underserved people and vulnerable small businesses in the Greater Washington Region,” said Alexis Bataillon, head of market strategy in the mid-Atlantic at JPMorgan Chase, in a statement. “At JPMorgan Chase, we are building on the lessons learned from our investments and collaborating with local government, businesses and community organizations to provide immediate relief for small businesses across the region.”
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