Written by Kim Zeuli and Kelsey Nordine, EEP

The pandemic has both highlighted and exacerbated the systemic inequities that have marginalized socio-economic disadvantaged entrepreneurs and prevented them from equitably accessing business education, capital, contracts and networks. As a result, the pandemic has also underscored the importance of investment in equitable small business development to support the resilience of all businesses and drive inclusive economic growth.  

Across Europe, JPMorgan Chase invests in a dynamic group of inclusive, entrepreneurial support organizations (ESOs) dedicated to supporting marginalized entrepreneurs and by doing so unlocking economic opportunity and mobility. This year we evaluated the impact of JPMorgan Chase-funded programs in six ESOs—three in the U.K. and three in France. We partnered on the evaluation with the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), collaborating with Professor Mark Hart and Eugenie Golubova at Aston Business School in Birmingham, England.

2021 Impact in U.K. and France

The six ESO programs that were evaluated in 2021 provided support to 915 businesses. Amongst the 126 businesses that responded to the survey on their outcomes as of end-of-year 2020—they raised $3.7 million in capital (debt, equity, and grants), generated $57 million in revenue, and created 965 jobs. In addition, of those businesses that had employees, 42 percent reported paying all of them above the national minimum wage.

Supporting Entrepreneurs through the Pandemic

The ESOs provided critical support for entrepreneurs facing the unprecedented challenges of the COVID pandemic during 2020-2021. At the time of our survey during the summer of 2021, over half (58 percent) of those responding to the survey expected to stay in business for at least another year, which shows the optimism of this group of entrepreneurs. However, the 36 percent that reported they could not predict how long they expect to stay in business also demonstrates that some small businesses continue to face an uncertain future.   

In addition to their normal programming, which became virtual, ESOs provided new types of support, including resources for employees, access to local grants, assistance in deferring capital payments, rent, utilities, etc. and encouragement and advice. According to the entrepreneurs, the crisis-related assistance provided by the ESOs had the greatest impact in the following areas, which may explain some of their optimism:  

  • giving them hope as an entrepreneur (77 percent),
  • improving their emotional wellbeing (72 percent),
  • recalibrating business plan and strategies (65 percent), and
  • becoming a more resilient business (61 percent).

Strengthening Ecosystems to Sustain the Support of Marginalized Entrepreneurs

The following section highlights the work of the six ESOs that generously participated in the 2021 evaluation, showing their strong support for empowering diverse small businesses, commitment to building equity within their entrepreneurial ecosystems, and interest in improving their programming.

Capital Enterprise (U.K.)

The mission of Capital Enterprise’s OneTech program is to build racial, gender, and socioeconomic equality by connecting underserved communities and entrepreneurs with opportunities in the tech startup ecosystem. Launched in 2018, the programme is specifically designed to support women and minority entrepreneurs by connecting them to opportunities in the London tech world, as well as targeting London boroughs with higher-than-average poverty rates (Hackney, Newham, and Tower hamlets).  OneTech has recently expanded to provide several cohort-based programmes that provide educational resources for entrepreneurs at all stages from ideation to funding readiness, as well as community support, mentoring and coaching services, and free or subsidized workspace.

Hatch (U.K.)

Hatch’s Female Founders Accelerator, launched in 2016, provides business support and leadership training to a diverse group of women entrepreneurs running sustainable and impactful businesses in London. This cohort-based programme provides comprehensive, expert-led workshops, networking opportunities, and one-to-one mentorship. 

Newable (U.K.)

Newable established the Enabling Enterprise: Creating Inclusive Supply Chains Programme in 2020, which provides tailored support to businesses seeking to grow and expand contract opportunities. This non-cohort based, two-year rolling programme is focused on providing support to women and minority ethnic group (MEG) small businesses in London. Enabling Enterprise provides business owners with free access to experienced business advisors who provide tailored, one-to-one advice, workshops, and ‘Meet the Buyer’ events. This programme has helped businesses win over £1 million in new work.

BPI (France)

Launched in 2020, BPI’s Seine-Saint-Denis Accelerator provides small and medium-enterprises (SMEs) in Seine-Saint-Denis, including those owned by women, with practical assistance to grow into resilient businesses and achieve sustainable growth. Seine-Saint-Denis is an historically disadvantaged area of Greater Paris, with poverty and unemployment rates higher than the national average. The Accelerator is a cohort-based, 12-month programme that provides tailor-made advice to identify priority areas for growth and development, as well as a Business School e-learning course and access to a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, including the larger community of BPI France-supported entrepreneurs.

IMPACT (France)

IMPACT provides small business support programming targeted toward improving communities. They use the UN Sustainable Development Goals to steer their programming and mission. Also focused on Seine-Saint-Denis, in 2020 IMPACT launched the cohort-based accelerator (Coaching Croissance) and ‘decelerator’ (Coaching Rebound, which helps businesses with exit strategies) to support diverse entrepreneurs, about 40 percent of which are women. Committed to reconciling financial performance and social impact, IMPACT’s programs provide one-to-one coaching support, networking opportunities, and technical assistance for 12 hours/week for a total of one year.

Les Prem1ères (France)

Launched in 2019, Les Prem1ères offers four different cohort-based programmes to support businesses from ideation to growth: START, GO, PLAY and BOOST. Also focusing on women entrepreneurs in Seine-Saint-Denis, the programmes provide individual support, one-to-one coaching and mentoring, and business training and workshops. The initial programmes carried out over 2019-2021 have so far helped over 100 women start new businesses.

Looking Ahead to 2022

Entrepreneurs, especially those left out from small business ecosystems, will continue to struggle in 2022 with the challenges created by the ongoing pandemic. ESOs will play a vital role in strengthening their resilience. We look forward to continuing to gather insights on the impact and effectiveness of ESOs as they evolve and adapt to expand opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs.

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

JPMorgan Chase 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.