On Monday, May 1st, Chase for Business hosted an in-person pop-up shop at its Oak Cliff Community Center branch to kick off National Small Business Week and invited Dallas area entrepreneurs and small business owners to see the tools and resources they can use to start, run and grow their businesses. The complimentary event featured local vendors such as Savor Pastries, Urban Hydration, Get Organized and South Polk Pizzeria.
Some people may hear the term “small business” and literally think of a small mom & pop business, reliant on their community to sustain themselves. And that is very much so a reality for many small companies, corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships which have a small number of employees. But in this vast business world, small is relative. In fact, the SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration), defines small business by any company revenue that ranges from $1 million to over $40 million and employment from 100 to over 1,500 employees. With such a competitive market, Dallas shines bright and just last year Dallas Innovates reported that Dallas is #1 in small business employment. Out of the 32.5 million small businesses within the nation, 3 million small businesses call Texas home.
Continuing their mission to create financial stability and wealth for the communities they serve, Chase for Business created a free small business mentoring program which is also available to non account holders. This mentorship program offers direct one-on-one coaching from a Chase Bank consultant and they provide actionable insights to help accelerate a business’s potential. This week’s celebratory event in Oak Cliff was not only an open invitation to local small business owners but also an opportunity to showcase their success stories.
We sat down with Dallas Sr. VP Market Manager, Susan Leinbaugh who gave opening remarks at the pop-up event and gave insight to why this day was important.
“We knew, even before the pandemic, that we had a lot of work to do. We have the resources to help small businesses, but we need to meet the people where they are.”Susan Leinbaugh, Market Manager for JPMorgan Chase
Leinbaugh – who has been with the firm for over 30 years – continued detailing the homework Chase for Business has done with surveys and data collection through their partnerships with organizations like the DEC (Dallas Entrepreneurs Center). She also explained how crucial it was to boost community engagement, so that each individual branch and the people who work there, know how to support community members best. To the point, one of Chase’s workshops this week for the mentees provides consultation from marketing experts (one of them is their own) on best practices and services.
Closing remarks were made by Sylvia Andrade, a mentor who is one of the two Senior Business Consultants that oversee the DFW program. Talking to Andrade reinforced the importance of what Chase Bank is doing to improve the ecosystem through local small businesses. Passionately, she gave numerous examples of local business owners she worked with and watched them catapult their business through the mentorship program. One of her mentees was a vendor at the pop-up event, and that was Terrill Burnett, founder and owner of South Polk Pizzeria which is located in the same parking lot as the Chase Bank Oak Cliff community center. Since working with Chase Bank, Terrill Burnett has grown his staff from just 1 to 9 employees in a 4 month period. Sylvia Andrade has been with Chase Bank for over 20 years, and although not a native of Dallas, through her own life experiences, she 100% understands the importance of giving people the opportunity to succeed. For her, just like every business is different with a different owner, the approach to finding the best solutions for her mentees varies as well.
“The first thing I do is sit and talk with the business owner on what their needs are. And from there we assess everything from banking practices to technological capabilities. We understand they’re experts in their business but not necessarily business experts.. This is why we are here to provide the tools they need.”Sylvia Andrade, Senior Business Consultant
Even on a micro level, Sylvia Andrade has shown the program’s ability to help small businesses. She gave an example of simply helping a business owner obtain their Minority Business Certification. Through that certification the business owner was able to be added to JPMC Supplier Diversity Network, which not only gave them access to other businesses but they also became a resource for those same businesses.
Business owners and entrepreneurs are chosen for this program on a rolling basis, and they participate for three to six months. Upon graduation, the business owners are placed in a network with other graduates, and they are provided with a directory of other entrepreneurs in their industry. Again, Chase for Business understands that in order for the ecosystem to grow, you have to feed it.
If you are interested in joining the Chase for Business mentorship program, simply go to your local Chase branch and ask to speak with a banker about your needs. You can also go online to register here and see more information.