JPMorgan awards St. Paul nonprofit $5M to help firms owned by Black, Latina women to grow
4 Feb 2022
The Center for Economic Inclusion hopes to help 60 businesses by 2025, including by using part of the grant to start an investment fund.
By Dee DePass Star Tribune
The Center for Economic Inclusion in St. Paul received one of six $5 million grants JPMorgan Chase awarded nationwide as part of the financial giant's "AdvancingCities Challenge" to help Black and Latina women-owned businesses.
The Center for Economic Inclusion (CEI) plans to leverage the bank grant to help 60 businesses by 2025.
The grant was a big "endorsement of our vision and what we plan to do for the community," said Tawanna Black, CEO and founder of CEI.
As part of the effort, CEI is launching Project Vanguard with partners Activate Network, Certified Access, Fearless Commerce, and NEOO Partners Inc.
Also being launched is the Vanguard Fund, which will use about $1.5 million from the JPMorgan grant to help raise another $25 million through foundations, corporations, angel and venture investors.
The plan is to target businesses in high-growth fields such as the medical, technology and finance sectors. CEI and its partners will provide the support, training, equity investments and revenue-based loans so participating firms are firmly on pace to grow from $1 million in annual revenue to $10 million, Black said. The fund also will make some investments in startups.
The goal is for those 60 companies that are being helped to create 150 new jobs, generate $5.5 million in fresh revenue, win 15 government contracts and certify 25 women of color as federally "certified" minority business enterprises that can procure city, county and state contracts.