JPMorgan Chase Invests $30 Million For Black Businesses in Paris

Expanding its urban economic development blueprint overseas for the first time, JPMorgan Chase is investing $30 million over five years that includes helping black-owned small businesses in poverty-stricken areas in Paris grow, get financing, and create jobs.

The contribution by the nation’s largest bank is the debut investment from its $500 million AdvancingCities effort started earlier this year. The firm will apply lessons in Greater Paris and build on its investments in Detroit, Chicago and Washington. The investment will include offering support to underserved small businesses and offering job training to individuals.

The $30 million will be used largely in Seine-Saint-Denis and other areas with high levels of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. The areas are home to large immigrant communities from Sub-Saharan and North Africa. Seine-Saint-Denis is reportedly the poorest area in France.

The bank’s efforts include helping residents gain access to well-paying, in-demand jobs. That will come from providing workforce training to address youth unemployment by preparing young adults for future jobs in many areas, including IT, construction, and environmental sustainability. Plus, the philanthropic investment will be used to offer long-term unemployed adults with training and skills to gain in-demand jobs in the rapidly evolving construction and logistics sectors.

On the entrepreneurship front, bank officials say small businesses have the potential to drive economic prosperity in Seine-Saint-Denis and other neighborhoods that struggle with unemployment and poverty to create jobs.

However, research shows that entrepreneurs in these areas lack access to financing, connections, and other resources necessary to start and grow a business.

Over the past five years, the bank has worked with groups like Impact Partenaire, Pact PME and ADIE to support the growth of small businesses. The bank says the increased commitment will help more local and diverse small businesses grow and become more competitive through the development of affordable work and commercial space.

“Since 1868, we have served our clients and local communities in France in good times and the toughest of times,” stated JP Morgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon. “We are deepening our commitment to Greater Paris because we know that when communities thrive, business thrives. We are excited to work together with local leaders to focus our investments on helping more people benefit from the area’s economic growth.”

The economic support is needed. Though it has a large and growing economy, 1.5 million of Greater Paris’ residents live in neighborhoods with limited access to opportunity, and big-time levels of poverty and joblessness.

The new commitment is a doubling of the bank’s engagement with Greater Paris the past five years.

The bank helped 2,500 young and long-term unemployed adults get technical training, participate in upskilling programs and gain access to mentor ships. It supported over 1,200 small businesses, helping create over 2,300 jobs.

“It is very important for us to bring learnings from our work around the world to Greater Paris as we continue to deepen our commitment to the region,” stated  Peter Scher, Head of Corporate Responsibility, JPMorgan Chase. “We have seen that by putting the full assets of our firm to work and partnering with the government, other businesses and nonprofit organizations, we can make a difference in the lives of people and communities that have been left behind.”

The bank’s latest effort  is welcomed. “We are proud of the work we have done to date with the support of J.P. Morgan to develop a new apprenticeship model and provide more young people with access to apprenticeships that will prepare them, in an innovative way, for careers in the construction and manufacturing sectors,” said Jean-Claude Bellanger, Secretary General of the Compagnons du Devoir. “We hope that J.P. Morgan’s new commitment will help even more people secure the jobs and skills training they need to succeed.”