JP Morgan Chase & Co. Awards AEO $1.9 Million Grant
October 17, 2016

As those of you who have been following AEO’s TILT Forward Initiative know, we have been working diligently with partners and stakeholders to develop shared industry infrastructure that meets the needs of small business owners, community organizations, lenders and investors so that the nation’s financial system works for Main Streets in every community.
Today, we are delighted to share the news that JPMorgan Chase & Co. is awarding AEO a $1.9 million grant to support the advancement of our technology-enabled platform that connects small businesses owners with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) when the business is unable to qualify for a traditional loan. This generous contribution builds on the seed money provided for the solution by the U.S. Department of the Treasury through its inaugural CDFI Fund Innovation Challenge.
In 2015, the CDFI Fund invited proposals to develop “a method, model, tool, or product that CDFIs can use to expand investment flows into underserved target markets.” AEO won the challenge with a proposal to develop proof of concept for a technology-enabled solution to screen applicants that lenders are not able to serve and match them to products and services offered through CDFIs. For the last year, AEO’s team has worked with leading CDFIs; referral partners including Woodforest National Bank and OnDeck, (bank and nonbank lenders that agreed to help us demonstrate proof of concept); the CDFI Fund and many other stakeholders to design and build a viable solution.
Building on the successful proof of concept phase, we are excited now to collaborate with JPMorgan Chase to advance the next phase of development. We share a vision with JPMorgan Chase to see this technology-enabled platform become broadly adopted; drive productivity improvements within CDFIs; and result in a robust and dynamic referral marketplace that connects small business owners to responsible products and services delivered in ways that best meet their needs.
AEO’s referral solution is where “access to capital” and technology intersect to serve small business owners when they are unable to qualify for traditional loans. For banks and nonbank lenders, we’re creating a scalable referral program that enables them to efficiently and effectively connect the most challenging applicants to CDFIs while retaining the customer relationship and being able to track outcomes for that client. For CDFIs, this marketplace is a source of qualified lead generation. And most importantly, we are building this referral solution to connect small business owners to capital and services to help them grow and hire!
We are delighted by the opportunity to partner with JPMorgan Chase to advance solutions that will change the way that capital flows to underserved small business owners. If you are interested in engaging with us to expand this solution, simply sign up here.
Questions about AEO, the Tilt Forward Initiative generally or the referral platform specifically can be directed to Connie Evans, President and CEO, AEO at [email protected] or Tammy Halevy, Senior Vice President, New Initiatives, AEO at [email protected].