Indianapolis, IN (September 12, 2016) – The JPMorgan Chase Foundation has awarded the Indy Chamber’s Business Ownership Initiative (BOI) a $100,000 grant to bring business coaching, microlending and small business training programs to the new Source River West Entrepreneurship Center on West Michigan Street. By supporting new business growth, the grant gives a financial boost to the Great Places 2020 plan for the River West neighborhood near IUPUI and the 16 Tech innovation district.
BOI provides free, one-on-one coaching to entrepreneurs and business owners, and administers the nation’s largest Chamber-affiliated microloan program; these modest loans up to $50,000 provide critical capital for small businesses that may not meet traditional lending standards. BOI is a U.S. Small Business Administration microloan partner that also receives funding from the City of Indianapolis and corporate partners like JPMorgan Chase.
“The JPMorgan Chase Foundation has supported our microlending and coaching programs from the start,” said Carrie Henderson, President of BOI and Sr. Director of Entrepreneur Services for the Indy Chamber. “You can see the entrepreneurial spirit of River West in its Great Places 2020 plan – with the continued commitment of JPMorgan Chase to Indy’s business community and its neighborhoods, we’ll be able to make a real impact on up-and-coming small businesses in an up-and-coming area.”
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) leads Great Places 2020 along with partners like the Indy Chamber, United Way of Central Indiana, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership and City of Indianapolis. ‘Great Places’ neighborhoods create long-range strategic plans for economic development, infrastructure, housing, and quality of life initiatives that contribute to redevelopment and growth.
“JPMorgan Chase is a proud supporter of Great Places 2020 – we believe that great neighborhoods make a great city,” said Al Smith, chairman of JPMorgan Chase Indiana. “By bringing much-needed expertise and access to capital to the planned Source River West center through BOI, this grant will be a down payment on a thriving business community in and around River West.”
In 2015, the Indy Chamber’s Entrepreneur Services team provided nearly 5,000 hours of free business coaching, and another 5,500 combined hours of classes and workshops aimed at small business issues. BOI made roughly $280,000 in microloans last year; its efforts led to 85 new business start-ups.
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation grant will allow a BOI business coach to staff the Source River West center, working one-on-one with business owners, administering the microloan program and facilitating a regular schedule of small business and entrepreneurship classes and other outreach programs. IUPUI is the institutional partner behind the center’s development. Serving as fiscal agent to support the launch of Source River West Great Place Entrepreneurship Center, IUPUI provides staffing, planning expertise, and educational services for the center.
“The Source River West Entrepreneurship Center is more than just a location on West Michigan Street,” said Phil Votaw, Executive Director of the Westside Community Development Corporation, the lead agency in the River West Great Places 2020 application. “It will help many businesses get started that will potentially locate in the River West/ Near West area.”
Indy Chamber CEO Michael Huber explained that expanded business coaching, microlending and other small business and entrepreneurship programs is part of a comprehensive regional growth strategy, adding that under-served neighborhoods like River West also have unique opportunities in today’s economy.
“Across the country, most new business and job creation is happening in major cities, where people can live and work in walkable neighborhoods,” Huber said. “We support the 16 Tech innovation district east of the White River, and convenient mass transit that also connects River West to IUPUI, downtown and the rest of the city.
“This area could quickly become another frontier for high-tech jobs and new development, with plenty of potential for homegrown entrepreneurship. Thanks to the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, we can play a bigger role in helping this ‘Great Place’ live up to its potential.”
LISC recently announced funding for an additional two neighborhoods to join Great Places 2020; visit GreatPlaces2020.org for details and to explore River West and the other Great Places plans. Learn more about the Indy Chamber’s Entrepreneur Services at IndyChamber.com and businessownership.org.