The following was released on Thursday, December 19, 2019:
Fort Wayne, Ind. – The City of Fort Wayne's Community Development Division and JPMorgan Chase are working together to continue the Summit City Match program, designed to promote entrepreneurship and help revitalize Fort Wayne's commercial corridors.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has awarded $250,000 over the next two years to support the effort, which will receive matching funds from the City's Community Development Division. The program is administered by the City's Summit City Entrepreneurship & Enterprise District (SEED).
“I appreciate JPMorgan Chase's support of entrepreneurship in Fort Wayne,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “Supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses is critical to the long-term economic success of our community and I am excited for the opportunities this partnership will offer.”
The Summit City Match pilot program aims to match emerging entrepreneurs with building spaces, start-up technical assistance and gap grant opportunities. The goals are to encourage the launch of more small businesses, the leasing of empty retail and commercial space, and the revitalization of urban commercial corridors. Outreach includes special emphasis on recruiting women and people of color to participate in the program.
“Small business growth is critical to creating economic opportunity for more people in Fort Wayne,” said Jim Cook, JPMorgan Chase Market Executive for Fort Wayne. “Summit City Match helps address two obstacles that entrepreneurs typically face – finding the right space and bridging financial gaps. This program's goal is to help start new, permanent businesses in Fort Wayne's commercial corridors, and we are pleased to support this effort.”
The program kicked off in April, 2019 and has focused on connecting businesses with vacant building spaces on South Calhoun Street. The additional funding will support a continued focus on South Calhoun Street, as well as a commercial corridor in southeast Fort Wayne. The specific location will be determined as part of the City's and community's current efforts to revise the Southeast Strategy, which addresses economic development, housing, quality of life and infrastructure needs in southeast Fort Wayne.
“The Summit City Match has created a lot of buzz with South Calhoun Street building owners. They are giving tours to businesses referred to them by the program and three grant requests are pending to help those projects happen,” said Trois Hart, Director, SEED Fort Wayne.
Summit City Match is supported by Greater Fort Wayne Inc., the Greater Fort Wayne Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Fort Wayne Black Chamber, Latinos Count, Fort Wayne Community Schools Anthis Career Center, UAW 166, Allen County, and Brightpoint.
Information about SEED Fort Wayne can be found online at www.SeedFW.org.