An investment by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation will help The Porter House KC fill a void in entrepreneur support programming in Kansas City, said Dan Smith.
“Our goal is always to find a solution to the problem. We felt there was a gap. There was a whole population of people being missed. People who come from where we came from weren’t being calculated in Kansas City’s ‘entrepreneurial city,’” explained the co-founder of the Porter House KC (PHKC), a program of Credit & Homeownership Empowerment Services (CHES).
JPMorgan Chase announced the $175,000 investment on Wednesday — aiming the funds toward helping provide entrepreneurship access and resources to underserved populations.
The Porter House KC is an inner city-based co-working community that provides entrepreneurship access and resources to underserved populations in Kansas City, Missouri.
PHKC operates as a launch pad and bridge for businesses unable to access support in the existing entrepreneurial and small business ecosystem.
The nonprofit provides a 12- to 15-week, cohort-based small business training program for low-to-moderate income and underserved small business owners/entrepreneurs. The training includes small group in-person and virtual sessions, one-on-one mentoring, and assistance with accessing capital. Sessions are taught by specialized consultants and include guidance on accounting, legal services, marketing, strategic planning, and accessing banking resources.
PHKC was launched in 2018 by serial entrepreneurs and fraternity brothers Smith and Charon Thompson, who — with a few startups on their resumes — pledged to do more than just focus on their own success. PHKC is the embodiment of how they’ve made good on their promise to help other small business hopefuls in their community get off the ground, Smith said.
“JPMorgan Chase is focused on strengthening small business ecosystems in Kansas City by providing access to capital and technical assistance that lies women- and minority-owned businesses,” said Nathaniel Tesmer, executive director for middle market banking for JPMorgan Chase who also heads the firm’s leadership team in Kansas City. “Many of these small businesses have been historically excluded from mainstream systems and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. We’re proud to support PHKC’s work.”
The investment is expected to focus on mitigating the impact of the pandemic by:
- Helping doors stay open for small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)
- Increasing the number of successful starts by BIPOC-owned small businesses in Kansas City, and
- Strengthening the coordination and quality of services offered to entrepreneurs of color in the Kansas City small business ecosystem
In a 2019 report from LendingTree, Kansas City and St. Louis rank 49th and 50th, respectively, out of 50 major metropolitan areas where minority entrepreneurs are succeeding. In Kansas City, the report states, just 30.7 percent of minority-owned businesses generate $500,000 or more and just 42.6 percent of minority-owned businesses in Kansas City have been in operation longer than six years.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.