JPMorgan Chase Announces New Investment to Support Immigrant and Refugee Small Businesses in Central Ohio

  • Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services and Elevate Northland receive $500,000 JPMorgan Chase investment

JPMorgan Chase has announced a collective $500,000 investment to two local nonprofits, Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services and Elevate Northland to develop a program that will help New Americans gain the access to capital and technical assistance needed to build and grow a business.

“JPMorgan Chase knows small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and the immigrant and refugee population plays a significant role,” said Corrine Burger, Columbus location leader at JPMorgan Chase during the official opening of the new ETSS corporate office.

Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS), an organization created to improve the quality of life of immigrant and refugee families in Central Ohio, and Elevate Northland, a community development corporation, partnered to launch BEGIN with Business CLAS. It stands for Build, Educate, Grow, Invest, Nurture (BEGIN) with Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS).

The program will provide immigrants and refugees with the technical assistance and access to capital needed to build and grow a business.  Phase one of the program begins by training leaders from various immigrant and refugee communities to gain the knowledge and skills needed to mentor community members about business concepts in Central Ohio.

The second component is the design and delivery of culturally and linguistically appropriate workshops.  All workshops and curriculum will be developed to embody the cultural, religious, and linguistic nuances of the different communities. The final phase will offer one-on-one technical assistance and business plan support, covering topics such as access to capital, marketing, licensing, and legal support.

The American Immigration Council reports despite making up 4.7% of the Ohio population, immigrants comprised 5.7% of the workforce playing a key role in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), key economic drivers in Ohio. Additionally, research shows New Americans in the Columbus Metro area generated $289.6 million in business income in 2019.

“We are proud of this partnership and its goal to help increase economic prosperity by breaking down structural and systemic barriers to growing and expanding small businesses.”

“Refugees and immigrants are innovative and hardworking people,” said Dr. Seleshi Ayalew Asfaw, President/CEO of ETSS-Tewahedo.

“Refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs should be actively encouraged to provide services that not only generate income and make job opportunities available, but also directly serve their communities and contribute to the regional economic growth. On behalf of my board, staff and partner agency, Elevate Northland, I thank JPMorgan Chase for understanding the need and impact of the growing New American communities in Central Ohio and encouraging us to provide a culturally and linguistically responsive microenterprise project.”

“Elevate Northland serves a diverse and culturally inclusive community of businesses and families in the Northland area and beyond,” said Judith Cockrell, Executive, Elevate Northland.

“Our initiatives support the creation and growth of the dynamic small business economic engine that fuels our economy. Our diverse community includes New Americans, refugees and immigrants all seeking to start, sustain and grow their business. The BEGIN with Business CLAS program is the inaugural path to mitigating barriers to starting a business and provides tools to increasing the likelihood of success.”

Community Business Ambassador training will start November 2023 and the first cohort of BEGIN with Business CLAS will begin in January 2024.

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Deba Uwadiae
Deba Uwadiae is a Nigeran American international journalist, Editor-In-Chief and publisher of the New Americans Magazines, Columbus, Ohio, United States. He has reported events and stories from different countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America.

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