New research shows high-performing small business "clusters" grew
faster and added more jobs than other businesses in major U.S. metro
Grants to small business networks will provide access to critical
resources including facilities, investors and skilled employees
JPMorgan Chase & Co. today launched Small
Business ForwardSM, a five-year, $30 million
grant program to boost small business support networks that help growing
enterprises in specific industries. Small Business Forward
connects entrepreneurs with critical resources to help their businesses
grow, create jobs and strengthen communities.
Small businesses can increase their impact on a region's competitiveness
and economic output through business concentrations known as economic
"clusters." In fact, nearly half of the high performing clusters in the
nation's 10 largest metros grew roughly three times faster than other
local businesses between 2003 and 2011, according to a new
study from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC).
"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."
JPMorgan Chase launched Small Business Forward at a forum
supported by Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the U.S. Small
Business Administration; U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, chair of the
Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee; U.S. Senator James
Risch, the committee's ranking member and Rep. Sam Graves, chair of the
House Small Business Committee.
Small Business Forward will fund nonprofit cluster organizations
that work with small businesses concentrated in a single sector. In
addition to supporting strategic planning and research, JPMorgan Chase's
grants will help cluster organizations provide participating small
- Networking that helps businesses connect with investors,
mentors, competitors and customers;
- Partnerships with colleges and universities that help drive
industry research and innovation;
- Workforce and management training that gives them access to the
skilled employees and managers they need to grow;
- Supplier networks that offer specialized products and services
to cluster businesses; and
- Export promotion to help businesses access new markets, and
source new customers and suppliers.
In addition to their impressive economic growth, businesses
participating in high performing clusters typically add more jobs than
other businesses in local/regional markets, according to the ICIC
research, which was commissioned by JPMorgan Chase. Between 2003 and
2011, many small business clusters outperformed overall employment
growth in their metropolitan areas. For example, the Education and
Knowledge Creation cluster in Los Angeles increased employment growth by
31 percent compared to general employment growth rates in the city
during that eight year period. The Oil and Gas Production and
Transportation cluster increased employment growth by 47 percent in
Houston during that same time frame. ICIC is a nonprofit research and
strategy organization founded by Harvard Business School Professor
Michael Porter in 1994. ICIC's extensive knowledge of urban economies
and small businesses has contributed to the advancement of cluster
theory and practice.
"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.
Supportive of regional, industry-specific clusters, the SBA applauded
JPMorgan Chase for developing the Small Business Forward
"America's forward-looking companies are investing in clustered
communities, because they see the return on investment," said SBA
Administrator Contreras-Sweet. "Clusters speed commercially viable ideas
from the drawing board to the marketplace. These are communities with
buy-in at every level and a proven support structure that nurtures
Inaugural investments of Small Business Forward's five year,
$30million commitment will touch the following ten cities across the
country and then expand to additional markets in the US and abroad:
- Chicago: Manufacturing Renaissance's Austin Manufacturing
Innovation Park is developing a facility for advanced manufacturing
companies on Chicago's West Side.
- Detroit: Eastern Market's new community kitchen gives small
business owners access to professional kitchens and connections, and
Bizdom is strengthening the environment for e-commerce businesses in
- Kansas City: The University of Missouri-Kansas City's Free
Enterprise Center will provide growing businesses access to high tech
equipment including 3D printing to help them develop new products.
- Los Angeles: LA Cleantech has brought together business,
government, and academia in LA to grow the city's cleantech sector and
is now developing satellites throughout California and internationally.
- Milwaukee: The Water Council connects freshwater research,
innovation, education, and business development to make Milwaukee a
hub of water technology.
- Newark: The New Jersey Innovation Institute applies the
intellectual and technological resources of the New Jersey Institute
of Technology to challenges identified by industry partners.
- New Orleans: New Orleans BioInnovation Center is a health
sciences incubator that supports promising, high growth companies.
- San Francisco: QB3 is a lead partner of BioSF, a collaboration
between academia and government to develop a biotech industry cluster
in San Francisco.
- Seattle: Washington Interactive Network is growing interactive
media and technology companies that are generating high-quality jobs
in across Puget Sound.
- St. Louis: BioSTL is building the regional infrastructure in
the bioscience sectors of health and healthcare IT.
LA Cleantech provides a good example of the kinds of success that
today's clusters are producing. In less than three years, LA Cleantech
has helped more than 30 companies create 400 new jobs, raise $40 million
in capital and generate more than $90 million in long-term economic
value for the City of Los Angeles.
"The best way to build new companies is by creating tightly focused,
all-inclusive, small business clusters that harness a region's
strengths," said Fred Walti, LA Cleantech's executive director. "With
JPMorgan Chase's support, we're building a cleantech cluster for Los
Angeles that's the second largest green economy in the nation with the
highest number of cleantech start-ups."
Small business advocates in Congress and mayors of leading American
cities reaffirmed the importance of the Small Business Forward
initiative and clusters as economic development tools to accentuate
their regional economic strengths and sow the seeds of innovation.
U.S. Senator James Risch (ID), Ranking Member, Senate Small Business
and Entrepreneurship Committee: "I want to commend JPMorgan Chase
for making a sizeable contribution to help small businesses innovate and
compete. Private sector experience and expertise can be a catalyst to
small firms, especially startups, and I look forward to seeing how this
investment helps entrepreneurs expand and hire."
Rep. Sam Graves (MO-06),Chair, House Small Business
Committee: "Private sector investments like this not only fuel
business startups but really transform communities and local economies.
We applaud JPMorgan Chase for providing private sector leverage for
these organic movements of innovation and ingenuity. As our nation's
recovery continues, this program will truly assist small business to
network and find resources within their local community that allow them
to grow and create jobs."
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: "In Chicago, we are pursuing bold new
strategies to grow our economy. JPMorgan Chase's support of the Austin
Manufacturing Innovation Park is a key element of this remarkable
public-private partnership that will bring hundreds of good jobs to
Austin and the West Side."
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: "JPMorgan Chase's support of the
clean tech sector in Los Angeles is an innovative investment in our
city's future. Small businesses are a key engine of job creation, and
JPMorgan Chase's initiative helps connect small businesses with the
resources they need to grow."
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu: "As we continue to rebuild New
Orleans, we have experienced the eye-opening impact that focused support
and investment have in creating a new economy based on knowledge,
technology and innovation. We have especially appreciated JPMorgan
Chase's support of our economic blueprint, Prosperity NOLA, and the NOLA
BioInnovation Center, which points to the potential New Orleans has to
become a world class hub for bioscience and business overall."
For more information about the grants and research, visit www.jpmorganchase.com/smallbusinessforward
and follow #SmallBizForward on Twitter.
About JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) is a leading global financial services
firm with assets of $2.5 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is
a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and
small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing,
and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average,
JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States
and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and
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Source: JPMorgan Chase & Co.