Success Despite Setbacks In FY 2020

There is no doubt 2020 has been a year unlike any other. Disruption and uncertainty have impacted our lives and our economy in ways we couldn’t imagine last year. Despite these challenges, we know our community will persevere because Northern Ohio is strong. In response to the challenges posed by the COVID19 pandemic, Northern Ohio’s established network of entrepreneur support organizations took a lead role in providing guidance and resources to help startups and small businesses weather the storm.

At JumpStart, we adapted to many changes over the past few months, but even before COVID-19, we were actively advancing our mission to support entrepreneurs, prioritizing equity and maximizing impact. As I reflect on our 2020 fiscal year (July 2019 – June 2020), I’m excited to share the following outcomes:

  • JumpStart advisors spent 23,000 hours supporting 1,300 Ohio entrepreneurs, 71% (925) of whom were Black or Latinx entrepreneurs, or women.
  • We invested $5 million in venture capital into 23 high-potential tech entrepreneurs; 80% of the companies receiving investment were software/IT firms — although their solutions support multiple industries — and 27% of our investment went to firms led by Black or Latinx entrepreneurs, or women.
  • JumpStart committed more than $3 million in emergency funding for startups and small businesses to address the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19. More than half of this funding has already been deployed and our $3 million has helped catalyze 4X more ($12 million) in additional funding — 50% of which has gone to Black or Latinx small business owners.
  • On behalf of our funding partners, JumpStart managed and distributed $9 million to other non-profits and funds across Ohio and in Upstate New York, enabling other organizations to support entrepreneurship and workforce development.
  • We built important partnerships with community organizations including the Hebrew Free Loan Association (HFLA), Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the Urban Leagues of Greater Cleveland and Greater Stark County. We do our best work when we collaborate with others who share our aspirations and goals, and additional partnerships currently under development will create an even greater impact.
  • JumpStart increased spending with Black or Latinx-led businesses from 11% to 22% across all the markets, and from 16% to 26% in Northeast Ohio.
  • 40% of JumpStart’s total financial outflows in FY20 — dollars invested or lent, or operations and grant support — went to directly benefit Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, or to non-profits focused on supporting diverse entrepreneurs and small businesses.
  • We’ve helped more than 250 people secure jobs, whether at tech startups, or through the Emerging Talent Network (which placed young adults graduating from CMSD schools into fulltime employment.)

Recent events have sparked an important ongoing national conversation about the impact of systemic racism on our society and JumpStart is committed to the fight against systemic racism in our nation.

We joined more than 20 Greater Cleveland organizations in pledging to address racism as a public health crisis, and our Chief Inclusion and Outreach Officer Lamont Mackley also shared this excellent recap on the work we are currently doing to live up to our commitment, now and in the future.

In times like these, I am reminded of the importance of strong partnerships, collaboration and working together to create even more impact. We are always learning more and seeking to develop new partnerships, so please reach out to me if you’d like to discuss potential opportunities to collaborate.

As always, I welcome your feedback and am grateful for your support.