(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson State University is part of a historic partnership that will invest $130 million into small businesses in the deep South. The University joins Goldman Sachs, Hope Enterprise, seven cities, and eight HBCUs in a united launch of the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative (DSEMC).
The initiative is designed to bolster and preserve under-represented and under-resourced communities and businesses facing economic hardship while dismantling economic inequality.
“We are certainly pleased to be an anchor institution of the DSEMC. We are also invested in Hope Credit Union’s and Goldman Sachs’ commitment to helping extinguish barriers impeding the economic growth of our communities and alleviating the financial strain for minority businesses,” said Thomas K. Hudson, president of Jackson State University. “At JSU, there is an overabundance of talent and imagination, and the work that DSEMC does now can help ensure a generation of graduates will have equitable access to the proper resources and opportunities to facilitate their entrepreneurial success.”
DSEMC taps the expertise and capabilities of Hope Enterprise Corporation, Goldman Sachs, institutions of higher learning and cities in a unique way to provide access to financing, business education classes, and business support services, leveraging support from the private, public and nonprofit sectors. This comprehensive support focuses on stabilizing and strengthening small businesses and boosting employment in a region characterized by deep, entrenched poverty and racial disparities.
For centuries, racism and economic inequality have thwarted human and economic potential in the Deep South, but our story doesn’t end there,” said Hope CEO Bill Bynum. “Equipped with opportunity and the right tools, people of this region can accomplish anything. Fueled by their resilience, and harnessing the collective resources of DSEMC, together we will knock down the barriers facing underserved businesses and communities in a way that has never been done before. The collaborative will help build a more inclusive economy that will yield benefits now and for future generations.”
While the DSEMC is open to all small businesses, the impact of the pandemic and economic crisis has disproportionately harmed communities of color. Recent research shows that between February and mid-April of 2020, 41 percent of Black businesses had permanently closed, compared to 17 percent of white-owned businesses. Furthermore, the value of Black businesses in the Deep South is lower than in any other part of the country, underscoring the urgent need for solutions in a region with the highest percentage of Black residents.
“Black business ownership is a proven way to advance economic mobility,” said Goldman Sachs Partner and Head of the Urban Investment Group Margaret Anadu. “Goldman Sachs has a long history of building up Black and women-owned businesses through 10,000 Small Businesses and by investing in Community Development Financial Institutions like HOPE. The Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative reflects our ongoing commitment to invest deeply in strategies to close the racial wealth gap.”
Through the collaborative, each partner brings unique capabilities and years of experience, and all are passionate about promoting economic opportunity in their communities. Participating municipalities are Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham and Montgomery in Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Baton Rouge and New Orleans in Louisiana; Memphis, Tennessee. Participating HBCUs are Jackson State University, Alabama State University, Miles College, Philander Smith College, Dillard University, Southern University, Xavier University, Tougaloo College, and LeMoyne-Owen College.
Projections call for the DSEMC to serve about 5,000 businesses and support 30,000 employees and their family members while improving conditions in Deep South communities to further Black economic mobility.
To learn more about the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative, visit www.hopecu.org/mobility