JPMorgan Chase is partnering with INNOV8 Acadiana by granting the Community Foundation of Acadiana organization $75,000 to help grow Acadiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Chase says in a press release that its continued investment in Acadiana directly supports the community where its employees live, grow, start businesses and raise families. “Small and emerging companies often are where innovation and ideas happen. Right here in Acadiana, entrepreneurs are tackling some of the world’s biggest problems, creating innovative products, and helping other businesses function more efficiently and effectively. As a supporting partner of INNOV8 Acadiana, we are proud to assist budding entrepreneurs in the Acadiana region,” Ed Hebert, managing director of Chase commercial banking in Acadiana, says in the release.
INNOV8 Acadiana serves the region by helping entrepreneurs accelerate their success. Their primary mission is to introduce scaleable companies with motivated investors ready to provide capital, mentoring and contacts as equity business partners.
“We are very excited to receive this grant from one of the best friends of small businesses in the country,” Pete Prados, director of INNOV8 Acadiana, says in the release. “The money will primarily be used for personnel and programming as we continue to open doors for students, startups, and second-stage companies throughout our region.”
JPMorgan Chase serves more than 4 million small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the nation, nearly 80,000 of which are in Louisiana. JPMorgan Chase has been ranked the state’s No. 1 Small Business Association lender for three consecutive years.
INNOV8 Acadiana plans to host several pitch competitions in 2016, including the LAGCOE Energy Innovators Pitch Competition later this year. Ongoing monthly meet-ups with LEDA’s Opportunity Machine bring together mentors, investors, and entrepreneurs ready to find one another. An Angel investment group, Acadiana Angels, is being formed to streamline the investment process by bringing vetted deals to accredited investors. INNOV8 pitch contestant winners from 2015 have moved on to other funding opportunities, formal training and new growth. “All of the primary pieces of the puzzle are coming together to grow our entrepreneurial ecosystem; talent, acceleration, and access to capital,” says Prados. “Especially at a time like this in Acadiana where the energy market is hurting everyone, entrepreneurs still continue to launch great companies and create exciting new avenues for job and wealth creation.”
JPMorgan Chase, which has 3,200 employees in Louisiana, says it has donated more than $34 million to nonprofits in the state since Hurricane Katrina.