ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- JPMorgan Chase has donated $500,000 to economic development, nonprofit organizations Prospera and Ascendus (formerly Accion East) to support more than 750 small, minority-owned businesses in Florida struggling to overcome the economic crisis. The organizations will work together to assist small business owners in the greater Orlando, Miami and Tampa Bay areas who need support to withstand the ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this donation, Prospera and Ascendus aim to retain 320 quality jobs.
Additionally, for the first time, Prospera and Ascendus are formally joining forces to offer and leverage their individual services. While Prospera and Ascendus have collaborated in the past to serve entrepreneurs, this is the first time the organizations have partnered for an externally funded initiative. Their combined efforts will include:
- individual guidance and consulting
- training in Spanish on topics that are vital for business recovery and sustainability
- technical assistance that will address specific management and operational needs
- loan repayment relief, and
- financial resources and expertise.
"We are very grateful to JPMorgan Chase for this generous contribution to help us serve more Hispanic entrepreneurs who are struggling to recover and sustain their businesses during this pandemic," said Prospera President and CEO Augusto Sanabria. "Their donation will also allow us to work even closer with Ascendus and leverage their expertise on financial products and services."
"There are few things more crucial at this time than helping small business owners—particularly minority-owned small businesses—survive and thrive," said Maria Escorcia, Vice President for the Florida JPMorgan Chase Foundation. "We are in the unique position of being able provide funds as well as expertise and advice to small businesses in need. Working with Prospera and Ascendus together enables us to have a direct and more efficient impact on hundreds of small businesses in some of Florida's largest urban areas."
"At Ascendus, we believe that collaboration is the only way to address the collective challenges faced by small business owners due to COVID-19 and the pre-existing systemic challenges they faced before the pandemic. The investment by JPMorgan Chase will not only provide a demonstration model of nonprofit collaboration, but Prospera and Ascendus are working hard to ensure that the success of the business owners we jointly serve can be a beacon of inspiration to entrepreneurs across the country of how to succeed both during and after this pandemic," said Paul Quintero, CEO of Ascendus.
Since mid-March, Prospera has been serving Hispanic entrepreneurs remotely, responding to a surge in demand for assistance. Compared to last year, it has delivered individual consulting to 29% more clients and marketed 43% more capital in small business loans. A poll among Prospera clients shows that 79% of those with established businesses have been affected, and 51% of them had to close for some period of time. At least 36% of those that closed have re-opened, but they report a combined loss in revenues exceeding $21 million.
Prospera is an economic development, nonprofit organization that has specialized since 1991 in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs who want to establish, sustain, or grow their business. In the last five years, Prospera has marketed over $59 million in loans for small businesses, trained over 20,000 entrepreneurs, and helped consulting clients create or retain over 16,000 jobs. Its offices are in Florida's central, south, and west coast regions, and in Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information, visit www.prosperausa.org.
Ascendus is a nonprofit small business lender working to create economic opportunity by providing entrepreneurs with access to the capital and the business support they need to create and grow healthy enterprises and contribute to thriving local economies. Since 1991, Ascendus has provided more than $200 million to 25,000 small businesses owners across the country through offices in Miami, Orlando, and the Northeast United States. For more information, visit www.ascendus.org.