Detroit’s Small Business Owners Lead the City’s Revival

Detroit, the once-thriving Motor City, has faced many challenges in the past decades, such as economic decline, population loss, and urban decay. But thanks to the efforts of its resilient and innovative small business owners, the city is undergoing a remarkable transformation and creating more opportunities for its residents.

How JPMorgan Chase Supports Detroit’s Entrepreneurs

One of the key partners in Detroit’s economic recovery is JPMorgan Chase, a global financial institution that has been doing business in the city for 90 years. JPMorgan Chase has committed $200 million to the city’s comeback by 2022, focusing on skills training and job creation, revitalized neighborhoods, access to affordable housing, small business growth, and financial security for more Detroiters.

Detroit’s Small Business Owners Lead the City’s Revival
Detroit’s Small Business Owners Lead the City’s Revival

JPMorgan Chase is providing support to Detroit’s small businesses, banking 110,000 across Greater Detroit. Over the last 10 years, it has helped 13,000 Detroit-based small businesses receive capital or technical assistance. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, as of 2021 almost 80 percent of Detroit’s businesses were Black-owned, and minority businesses are two times as likely to report that access to capital is prohibitive to business growth.

One of the initiatives that JPMorgan Chase supports is the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund (EOC Fund), a collaboration with the Detroit Development Fund and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The EOC Fund provides flexible loans and business assistance to minority-owned small businesses in Detroit. Since its launch in 2015, the EOC Fund has deployed over $9 million in loans to more than 100 businesses, creating or preserving over 1,300 jobs.

How Deana Neely Contributes to Detroit’s Revitalization

One of the beneficiaries of the EOC Fund is Deana Neely, the founder and CEO of Detroit Voltage, a Black woman-owned electrical contracting firm that provides residential and commercial electrical services in Detroit. Neely started her business in 2012 after noticing a gap in the market for contractors. She used her experience of working in government alongside contractors and city officials to become a licensed contractor herself.

Neely is one of the small business owners playing a big part in revitalizing her hometown, and the impact of her business is anything but small. By providing electrical installation, repair, remodeling, and renovation services, Neely’s company works to keep the lights on in people’s homes, while providing electrical services to other businesses throughout the city.

Detroit Voltage not only provides sustainable energy solutions, such as the installation of residential electric vehicle charging stations, but also strives to develop training resources that create opportunities for new employment paths in the e-mobility and clean energy sectors.

“Taking part in Detroit’s revitalization is a beautiful thing,” shares Neely. “Because I’m a born and raised Detroiter, I’m proud to serve the community that raised me. We’re providing safe, quality, efficient services to the community, so we can watch homes come back to life and businesses be rebuilt.”

How Detroit Inspires Innovation and Inclusion

Detroit’s comeback story is not only inspiring for its residents, but also for other cities facing similar challenges. JPMorgan Chase has learned valuable lessons from its investment in Detroit and applied them to other initiatives around the world. The firm launched AdvancingCities, a $500 million commitment to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity in cities across the globe.

For years, Detroit has been a source of inspiration and innovation for JPMorgan Chase when it comes to driving equitable and inclusive growth. The firm continues to invest in the city’s long-term success by opening more opportunities for its customers, clients and the broader community.

“Detroit’s entrepreneurs are determined, creative and gritty,” says Peter Scher, Vice Chairman of JPMorgan Chase who led the firm’s investment in Detroit. “But unfortunately, access to opportunity and capital still aren’t equally distributed. We’re letting a lot of innovation slip through the cracks, which is why we stepped up our support for local entrepreneurs.”

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