great-lakes-women-business-councilThe Great Lakes Women’s Business Council is pleased to announce it has received a $320,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase. These funds will support the Detroit Business Growth Initiative, an innovative program to grow existing certified businesses in Detroit-specifically advanced certifications for minority women and veteran-certified businesses.

The grant is part of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s $100 million, five-year commitment to Detroit’s economic recovery. Launched in 2014, the investment in Detroit focuses on community development, blight mitigation, job skills training, small business promotion and other economic growth initiatives. The Detroit Business Growth Initiative addresses the priority of accelerating small business growth.

There are approximately 32,000 minority-owned small businesses in Detroit, according to the U.S. Census, which makes Detroit the fourth largest U.S. city for the number of minority-owned businesses.

Small businesses require three elements to be sustainable: capital, capacity and customers. There are several organizations in Detroit addressing capital and capacity. What has not been a focus is connecting small businesses to contract opportunities through major corporations and government entities.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy in Detroit and, together, we can do more to not only improve their chance to succeed but also reduce unemployment in the city and expand opportunity for all,” says Tosha Tabron, Relationship Manager for Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “By investing in this program, we are improving access to customers and that’s the best way to help them grow their businesses.”

The program, which is expected to create 25 new jobs, leverage $500,000 in financing and increase sales by 35% on average, will provide expert led training and coaching to connect existing Detroit-based businesses to contract opportunities in the corporate and government arenas. Participants will have access to our 20+ years’ experience in procurement and certification along with 30+ years of relationships and small business loan programs. The Detroit Business Growth Initiative will feature a series of trainings, individual counseling and coaching streamlined to help participants fully utilize certifications, capital and contract opportunities.

“Detroit small businesses deserve the best we have to give.  We are providing all of our business growth skills and experience as well as our relationships with 100+ corporations interested in doing business with certified business owners.  These Detroit businesses will accelerate their growth”, says Michelle Richards, Great Lakes WBC Executive Director.

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