Ten U.S. cities, or business clusters, have been chosen for the inaugural Small Business Forward program launched by JPMorgan Chase to boost small business support. The five-year, $30 million dollar grant will be distributed among the clusters that include New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Newark, San Francisco, Seattle and St. Louis.
The local organization chosen for the program is the New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC), a technology and business incubator that focuses on stimulating entrepreneurship in the life sciences. NOBIC and its entrepreneurs will be connected to resources to help businesses grow, create jobs and strengthen the community.
“Beyond their vital role in our economy, small businesses are often the source of innovation and inspiration,” said Scott Geller, CEO of Chase Business Banking. “Helping local, small business clusters grow faster and create more jobs will take JPMorgan Chase’s involvement in the entrepreneurial community to a new level.”
Resources provided by the grant program will include: networking, partnerships with college and universities, workforce and management training, connections to supplier networks that offer specialized products and services, and export promotion to help business access new markets, and source new customers and suppliers.
“Clusters are driving economic growth in major cities, contributing to job creation, higher wages and innovation. But the impact of clusters on small business growth could be strengthened. Most cities currently lack a unifying strategy for supporting clusters and small businesses,” said Kim Zeuli, ICIC’s Senior Vice President and Director of Research.