Closing The Gap

JPMorgan lent $5 billion to women entrepreneurs over the last year, halfway to its $10 billion commitment

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In 2019, JPMorgan Chase announced a three-year, $10 billion lending commitment to women small business owners in order to help them grow and scale their companies. To date, the banking firm says it is pleased to announce that it has already reached the halfway mark of that goal, having committed $5 billion to female entrepreneurs thus far. 

JPMorgan announced its progress on hitting the goal at its fifth annual Women on the Move event on Sept. 29, which will be made available for the public to watch on Oct. 1. 

"We understand that getting funding is such an important piece to helping female entrepreneurs start and scale their business," Samantha Saperstein, managing director of Women on the Move at JPMorgan tells CNBC Make It. Saperstein adds that in addition to lending capital, the bank is helping women entrepreneurs "find new revenue streams, manage their vendors and preserve their cash." This is being done through the bank's new free digital series called "Navigating Your Cash Flow."

A person on a scooter rides past a JPMorgan Chase & Co. bank branch in New York, U.S., on Thursday, June 11, 2020.
Jeenah Moon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"Our goal is to help small business owners solve key pain points so that they can continue to scale and grow," says Saperstein.

While thousands of small business owners have taken a hit since the coronavirus pandemic, data shows that women entrepreneurs are being hit the hardest. In January 2020, 60% of women small business owners ranked their businesses's overall health as "somewhat or very good," but by July 2020, that percentage had dropped by 13 points to 47%. That's compared to the number of male business owners reporting "good" business health falling by just five points from 67% to 62%, according to a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Additionally, less than half of female business owners believe their revenues will increase in 2021, compared to 57% of male business owners. And, according to the survey, women business owners are less likely to increase investments and staffing over the next year than male business owners. 

The disproportionate impact that the pandemic and economic crisis is having on women entrepreneurs is linked to long-standing disparities in the entrepreneurial world. In 2019, according to American Express, women-owned businesses, which is defined as businesses that are at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more women, generated just $0.30 in revenue for every dollar generated by all other privately held companies. 

In addition to its lending commitment to women entrepreneurs, JPMorgan has also invested $51 million in initiatives over the past year that benefit women overall. This includes investments in All Raise, a nonprofit that aims to build a more equitable future for female founders and funders; SaverLife, an organization that supports workers impacted by the coronavirus crisis by providing them with emergency savings and financial coaching; Institute for Women's Policy Research, a leading national think tank that is doing new research on the gendered impact of Covid-19; and Compass Working Capital, an organization that provides savings and financial coaching programs to low-income families.

"While we have long supported organizations that work with women, we see the disproportionate impact that the pandemic has had on women and want to make sure our investments are helping them in the areas of financial health, skill building and other job creation efforts," says Saperstein. 

She adds that the goal of JPMorgan's Women on the Move initiative is to support the "professional financial and health goals of all women" as "there's no room for silence or complacency in the current environment." 

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