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$30 Million Small Business Forward Program Takes Entrepreneurs To A New Level

JPMorgan Chase & Co. just launched a $30 million grant program that will connect entrepreneurs to critical resources they need to grow their businesses, create more jobs and strengthen economies. The five-year grant program is called Small Business Forward which will focus on small business clusters within specific industries.

Business clusters grow three times faster

According to a new study from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a nonprofit research organization and the leading authority on U.S. inner city economies, nearly half of the top performing clusters in the 10 largest U.S. metro areas grew about three times faster than other local businesses between the years 2003 and 2011. By focusing on grants to cluster organizations that work with small businesses within specific industries, the clusters are able to get more bang for the buck in providing entrepreneurs with training, supplier networks, and investor resources.

“Clusters are driving economic growth in major cities"

The cluster strategy is working well in major cities across the U.S. Kim Zeuli, ICIC’s Senior Vice President and Director of Research says “Clusters are driving economic growth in major cities, contributing to job creation, higher wages and innovation." Two examples are the Education and Knowledge Creation cluster in Los Angeles that increased employment growth by 31 percent, and the Oil and Gas Production and Transportation cluster that increased jobs by 47 percent in Houston. Both examples were during 2003-2011; increases were compared to general employment growth rates during the same period.

The grant program will begin in these 10 cities and expand to other areas within and outside the U.S.: Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Newark, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, and St. Louis.

For more information about the grants and research, visit 

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