CLEVELAND, June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Surdna Foundation has awarded a $250,000 grant to Cleveland-based nonprofit venture development organization JumpStart, Inc. for its JumpStart America initiative (www.jumpstartamerica.org). The grant will support efforts to help regions across the country develop plans to accelerate the successes of diverse entrepreneurs with the potential to create jobs and wealth in their communities.
"Through our Strong Local Economies program, we aim to create robust and sustainable economies that include a diversity of businesses and sectors, improved access to quality jobs and opportunities for economic mobility. We are proud to support JumpStart in its efforts to expand this valuable program," said Surdna's president, Phillip W. Henderson.
Specifically, Surdna's support will advance JumpStart's activities aimed at encouraging minority, women and inner-city based entrepreneurship and assist the organization in formalizing a toolkit of inclusion resources. While women and minority entrepreneurship is growing—with women owning 30 percent of all small businesses, and minorities accounting for 40 percent of all entrepreneurs—disparities still exist when these groups attempt to grow larger-scale businesses, access risk-based capital and build strong networks. For example, reports show that in 2010 less than one percent of all venture capital investment went to digital startups with African American founders. "Minority and women entrepreneurs growing larger scale firms can contribute meaningfully to the country's economic output by becoming more significant job creators," says Darrin Redus, JumpStart's Chief Economic Inclusion Officer. "With Surdna's help, JumpStart can continue to develop and share inclusion best practices and make key connections that will help speed the growth, market entry and success of these high potential young companies."
JumpStart America, which is part of the Startup America Partnership, is a community-focused effort leveraging public, private, philanthropic and institutional partnerships to help regions identify, develop and implement plans that foster entrepreneurship and build on their unique assets. Currently, JumpStart is partnering with eight regions under the initiative. Surdna's financial support for these nationally applicable inclusion efforts adds to the momentum JumpStart America gained from a $1 million challenge grant awarded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in February.
"In an increasingly diverse and global economy, we need everyone participating to contribute to the nation's economic output," explains Redus. "Amassing a strong national network of diverse talent which is connected to regional technology-based economic development activities ensures that we create the types of inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems in our communities that are critical for the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of the nation."
SURDNA FOUNDATION Established in 1917, the Surdna Foundation is one of the nation's oldest and largest family foundations. The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster just and sustainable communities in the United States-communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. For more information, visit www.surdna.org or follow @surdna_fndn on Twitter.
JUMPSTART AMERICA JumpStart America is a national initiative of Cleveland-based nonprofit JumpStart Inc. designed to help regions tap into their entrepreneurial potential in order to transform their economies. JumpStart brings stakeholders together to develop and implement a plan that maximizes a region's unique opportunities and accelerates outcome-driven entrepreneurial initiatives focused on high-impact startup and existing firms. For more information, visit www.jumpstartamerica.org and follow @JSAmerica on Twitter.
SOURCE JumpStart, Inc.