Chase launches business mentoring program for business owners of color


Four years after launching MLK Deli, Tyrone White has reached a level of success where it employs 30 people at three locations and brings in seven figures per year.

Despite this, White was unable to secure a business loan, for reasons initially unknown to him.

However, with the help of Chase’s business consultants, he strengthened his business acumen and improved aspects of MLK Deli’s operations that make it more attractive to lenders.

“It’s more important than making $ 1 million,” White told The Informer.

“You have to show your taxes and your financial statements. If you claim it all [on your taxes], you can’t show how you can repay that money.

White has just completed the first month of a six-month program that Chase coordinated to help black and Latinx business owners grow their businesses.

The company, which is part of a $ 30 billion racial equity movement, covers 13 cities where entrepreneurs connect with coaches. Eligible businesses must have been in existence for more than two years and have generated at least $ 100,000 in revenue.

Each week, White, one of the 100 local business owners expected to participate in the program this year, meets with Chase’s business coaches, Kristina Sicard and Darla Harris. This duo helps White analyze his business and develop long-term business goals.

In doing so, White explores cash flow management, business development, operations, and other intricacies of running a business.

“I didn’t learn the operations part of the business,” White said.

“You can make a lot of money and not make it because you don’t know how to work on your working capital. It’s really important to me.

A 2020 report examining business density in DC and four other cities on the east coast found that blacks owned 30% of businesses in the district. However, they generated less revenue than their racial counterparts, although they performed better than black companies in New York City, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.

To tackle this problem, Chase has not only maintained a presence in the community through business coaching, but also in collaboration with community development financial institutions.

These partnerships merge into events where business consultants discuss topics of interest to black and Latino business owners.

These workshops, which Chase hosted with the Anacostia Business Improvement District earlier this year, often focus on grant writing and cash management and building a strong budget portfolio.

Sicard, senior business consultant to Chase, vice president, described the arrangement as the ideal relationship a financial institution should have with the community. Over the next few months, she will meet with more than two dozen business owners.

“Historically, banks don’t show everyone what they need [to get loans approved], and that’s what we’re trying to fix, ”Sicard said.

“This is how the bank recognizes the disparities and inequalities that have existed. There are opportunities to uplift everyone and form an inclusive economic environment where people can strive for success. “

Throughout the pandemic, businesses owned by people of color have struggled to obtain Paycheck Protection Program (P3) loans.

Last year, less than one in five candidates of color received the requested funds. Even with the changes to the application requirements, a significant number of black and Latinx-owned businesses, especially those that have no connection with a banking institution, have not been approved for a PPP loan.

Harris, who is also a senior business consultant, vice president of Chase, said the circumstances suggest greater forces at play that need to be rectified with education. She will also help more than two dozen businesses reach their financial goals over the next three months.

“Business owners missed the P3 loan because they didn’t have the right financial package or the right information,” Harris told The Informer.

“Business is now something we can help them with. [We can talk about] cash flow management. How do you get money in and out of your business? It was left out of the community.

Photo by Sam PK Collins

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