Ascend uses an “M3” model to connect high-potential businesses owned by people of color with guidance on Management skills, access to Money, and access to Markets.
Ascend works with cohorts of businesses, primarily owned by people of color, that have been in operation for at least a year and have revenues of at least $300,000 per year. Companies with revenue approaching or above $1 million per year are best-positioned to benefit from Ascend. Each cohort receives management education from Foster School of Business facility, support in developing a three-year strategic growth plan, and access to procurement and lending opportunities.
This model was created and refined at UW Foster’s Consulting and Business Development Center and, through a partnership with JP Morgan Chase that begin in 2016, is now operating in 15 cities nationwide.
Nationally, the Ascend program has helped more than 200 businesses raise $23.7 million in capital, generate $360 million in revenue, and create 2,615 jobs.
A $1 million investment in Ascend Seattle by JP Morgan in 2021 will help grow 40 businesses owned by people of color to revenues of more than $1 million, and two businesses to revenues of more than $5 million. It will also support a pilot effort in King County to help minority-owned development and construction firms access real estate development contracts.