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Morehouse receives $1M grant for Black entrepreneurship efforts


In its ongoing efforts to help Black entrepreneurs, Morehouse College received a major boost from JPMorgan Chase after they awarded the Morehouse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (MIEC) a $1 million grant over the next two years to conduct new research on metro Atlanta’s business assistance ecosystem and expand a certificate program for small businesses. 

Half of the JPMorgan funding will go to new research on organizations that assist businesses. It is the first research that the Morehouse Center has done since its founding. MIEC will also be hiring three new positions to help with the research — a data analyst, a key lead researcher, and a program manager — and the center is establishing the Atlanta Small Business Ecosystem Hub.

Since 2017, JPMorgan has given a total of $2.6 million to the MIEC. The grant also allows the financial giant to engage in research with real-world applications. Alicia Wilson, the bank’s managing director of global philanthropy for the North America Region said, “In particular, the gift to MIEC is one that allows for us to build upon the relationship and the work that we have been able to do in partnership with Morehouse over a period of time.”  Wilson also added that The MIEC, which was founded in 2004, is one of many organizations in metro Atlanta with a mission to help entrepreneurs build businesses. But finding out what entities exactly are helping and what assistance they provide isn’t always clear.

Tiffany Bussey, Executive Director of the MIEC hopes to provide clarity on who and what saying, “What we’ve heard from businesses is that the landscape, the ecosystem has gotten very noisy, very busy. And there’s a sense of, ‘I don’t know who is doing what to whom. I think there is a huge gap in the literature and what we know about what works specifically for Black businesses.”

Following the announcement of the $1 million gift to Morehouse College, representatives from JPMorgan Chase and the Morehouse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (MIEC) met with representatives of eight minority business servicing organizations to begin talks on building uniformity, sharing best practices, identifying partnerships, and establishing collective strategic priorities for serving minority entrepreneurs throughout metro Atlanta. Tiffany Bussey, Ph.D., director of the MIEC, and Alicia Wilson, the new managing director and global head of philanthropy for the North American region of JPMorgan Chase, were in attendance for the event. The JPMorgan Chase commitment will fund an expansion in the MIEC’s Small Business Executive Certificate Program, which will help more Black entrepreneurs access the technical support that they need to scale their businesses successfully. In addition, MIEC is partnering with JPMorgan Chase to establish the Atlanta Small Business Ecosystem Hub (E-Hub), a new initiative that will spur collaboration between business servicing organizations in the metro Atlanta region and provide data for research on Black businesses.

SPECIAL TO THE AJC from Morehouse College
One of the goals of the research is to map the organizations that help business owners, what types of assistance the groups provide and what sorts of businesses they help.

After the announcement of the $1 million grant, representatives from JPMorgan Chase and the Morehouse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (MIEC) met with representatives of minority business servicing organizations to discuss the next steps. 


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