Black Founders Praise Chase’s $100 Million Investment in Detroit Businesses


Detroit leaders and organizations are working with JPMorgan Chase to deploy the bank’s $100 million commitment in various ways that are advancing the city’s priorities when it comes to helping startups and minority-owned businesses launch, grow, and scale.

Food sector small businesses are a fast-growing part of Detroit’s community of entrepreneurs. Incubators like Shed 5 at Eastern Market and efforts like Chase’s Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, which supports minority-owned small businesses, play a key role in helping these businesses get up off the ground.

In 2014, JPMorgan Chase made a $100 million five-year pledge to accelerate Detroit’s recovery. Two years in, Detroit’s local minority-owned businesses are seeing real results, says Hajj Flemings, founder of Brand Camp University, which runs the largest personal branding conference in the midwest. He is also the author of The Brand YU Life: Re-thinking Who You Are Through Personal Brand Management (Third Generation Publishing; $14.95).

Flemings—who also launched a tech startup called Gokit, a company that develops identity kits—believes that innovative ideas and efforts that are spurring Detroit’s turnaround are providing models for other cities seeking advance progress. This past January, he headed to Silicon Valley for Rebrand Detroit: Innovating Detroit Neighborhoods, a project sponsored by the Knight Foundation. During his trip, he met with investors, VCs, influencers, and startups about partnership opportunities. Flemings gained national attention in 2011 when he was featured in CNN’s documentary Black in America 4: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley.

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Freddie Allen is the National News Editor for the NNPA News Wire and 200-plus Black newspapers. 20 million readers. You should follow Freddie on Twitter and Instagram @freddieallenjr.

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