Building Businesses with Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs in Europe

Written by Kim Zeuli, EEP


The interest in supporting socio-economic disadvantaged entrepreneurs in Europe has grown over the past several years as cities and countries come to understand the importance of removing systemic barriers to entrepreneurship and wealth creation. Many new initiatives have been launched in service of this goal, including new programs and new outreach to this group of entrepreneurs at established entrepreneurial support organizations (ESOs).

Across Europe, JPMorgan invests in ESOs that are building new programmes to provide disadvantaged entrepreneurs with business education, access to capital, new networks and more opportunities for growth. This year we evaluated the impact of JPMorgan-funded programs in nine ESOs—two in the U.K., four in France and three in Germany. In 2022, they provided programming to 352 entrepreneurs.

We partnered on the evaluation with the Munich-based European Center for Social Finance (ECSF) in Germany. The ECSF is led by Professor Dr. Barbara Scheck and Dr. Wolfgang Spiess-Knafl, both of whom collaborated on the evaluation.


Building Ecosystems to Support Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs


  • Capital Enterprise designed their OneTech programme to support women and ethnic-minority entrepreneurs—targeting London boroughs with higher-than-average poverty rates—by connecting them to opportunities in the London tech world.
  •  Newable established the Inclusive Supply Chains programme to help small businesses owned by women and ethnic-minorities in London expand contract opportunities.


  • BPI created the Seine-Saint-Denis Accelerator to serve small and medium-businesses, including those owned by women, in this historically disadvantaged area in Greater Paris.
  • IMPACT also offers support programming in Seine-Saint-Denis for diverse small businesses, including those owned by women, through various coaching programs.
  • INCO developed Resilience 93, an accelerator exclusively for Seine-Saint-Denis entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds, including women, to support small businesses accessing procurement opportunities related to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
  • Les Premieres developed four different cohort-based programmes—Start, Boost, Play and Go—for women entrepreneurs in Seine-Saint-Denis to support businesses from ideation through growth stages.


  • Jumpp designed Shape Your Future to support women-owned businesses (low-to-moderate income female founders in the first five years of business) in Frankfurt – Rhein Main.
  • KompassFrankfurt created Gemeinsamdeins—Crisis Intervention to support small businesses during the pandemic. Now the program is focused on helping socioeconomically disadvantaged self-employed and entrepreneurs, with a focus on women with international backgrounds in Frankfurt Rhein-Main, to improve access to business opportunities in a more digital economy.
  • Social Impact Lab Frankfurt developed Stattkapital—a virtual platform where disadvantaged small businesses in Frankfurt can find the experts and mentors they need.

2022 Impact on Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs

We surveyed current and alumni entrepreneurs for the nine ESOs we evaluated. Amongst the 271 entrepreneurs that responded to the survey on their outcomes as of end-of-year 2021—they raised $9 million in capital (debt, equity, and grants), generated $68 million in revenue, and created 2,442 jobs. In addition, of those businesses that had employees, they paid $47 million in wages. Since the data is from our survey and we did not achieve a 100 percent response rate, the true impact of the ESOs included in the evaluation in U.K., France and Germany is likely significantly higher than what is documented in this report.




Scaling Disadvantaged Businesses

The full impact of ESOs on the entrepreneurs they serve can only be observed over time. Outcomes from changes in mindsets, business strategies and resources are realized over years, not months. We capture this by asking the entrepreneurs each year to assess annual growth for a few key performance indicators. Over half of those responding to the survey, on average, reported growth in numbers of customers/clients and revenue. This was followed by 44 percent, on average, reporting growth in their total assets and 40 percent, on average, reporting growth in employees. Further, 45 percent on average had also diversified their customer base (i.e., added contracts with new types of organization) during 2021, which offers resilience. These results show the effectiveness of the European ESOs in terms of growing disadvantaged businesses during a time that is challenging for all businesses.

Year-over-Year Growth (2020-2021) for Businesses in U.K., France and Germany


  All Country Avg.
Revenue growth 60%
Customer growth (number of customers/clients) 53%
Total assets growth 44%
Employee growth 40%
Customer base diversification (types of customers/clients) 45%

Supporting the Whole Entrepreneur

 We also ask the entrepreneurs to rate the impact of the overall support from their ESOs on a few broad measures. According to the entrepreneurs, their ESOs had the greatest impact in the following areas:

  • giving them hope as an entrepreneur (67 percent),
  • improving their emotional wellbeing (51 percent),
  • recalibrating their business plan (49 percent), and
  • keeping their business open (48 percent).

The mental health and wellness of entrepreneurs has received more attention as a critical factor in business success after the pandemic. Entrepreneur wellness is not a traditional measure of ESO impact, but for the past three years the entrepreneurs—in both Europe and in the U.S.—have rated aspects of wellness as the area where their ESOs have had the greatest overall impact. These results may be a legacy of the pandemic, but they also may reflect greater challenges faced by socio-economic disadvantaged entrepreneurs.


Looking Ahead to 2023

In 2023, we look forward to partnering with the European ESOs to gather insights into their effectiveness as they continue to develop programming for disadvantaged entrepreneurs. Their support is critical for this group of entrepreneurs that typically lack robust networks and resources.


Find insights from EEP’s evaluation of ESOs in the U.S. here.

JPMorgan is also working with Kite Insights to facilitate exchanges between small business support organisations it supports philanthropically in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, to share best practices in supporting marginalised entrepreneurs, particularly around common challenge areas including digitalisation, financial sustainability, marketing, and community engagement. Follow Kite Insights here for more information.