Employees at Black-owned businesses served by the Ascend network exceed $2 billion in contracts

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE). This milestone precedes a new cohort activation with national company staff.

The new national program accelerates the growth of local businesses through its M3 modelHelping companies improve their access to markets through procurement opportunities, managerial skills through mentoring, and access to funds through loans and investments.

The Ascend network has worked in 13 cities to support black-owned businesses by contracting with local businesses, universities and hospitals. Now Ascend is turning its attention to contracting opportunities in the national and global corporate sector by establishing the Ascend National Cohort with the goal of increasing the competitiveness of minority-owned companies that could serve as suppliers to organizations such as JPMorgan Chase, Ernst & Young LLP (EY US), The Boeing Company, T-Mobile and others. The Ascend National Cohort receives support directly from these supporters (or organizations), including business coaching and consulting services.

In addition, the Ascend National Cohort will include the academic partners of Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. These institutions provide access to Master of Business Administration (MBA) students and executive education.

Quotes from the national program director, a program participant and the partners of the national cohort:

“Ascend addresses systemic barriers to accessing capital, contract opportunities and managerial skill development. The Ascend National Cohort empowers companies by preparing them to showcase their products and services and seize contracting opportunities to expand into larger markets,” said Michael Verchot, director of the Consulting and Business Development Center at the University of Washington and national leader of ascension.

“Johnson Security Bureau, Inc. recently completed the Ascend Regional cohort, which has helped our team increase revenue and impact. After continuously working as a subcontractor at Columbia University for the past 12 years, Johnson Security was awarded direct work with Columbia University Irving Medical Center as a result of the Ascend Regional program.” said Jessica Johnson, founder of the Johnson Security Bureau. “Now we are joining the Ascend National Cohort in hopes of expanding our toolkit of business resources, particularly in the areas of markets, managerial skills and money. We anticipate further wins as the program progresses.”

“Corporate supply chains have tremendous potential to fuel growth for diverse businesses,” said Ted Archer, global head of business partner diversity at JPMorgan Chase. “For years, Ascend has provided minority-owned companies with critical resources that lead to business opportunities in local markets. Now, with a national cohort, Ascend is supporting our supplier development efforts with diverse companies well positioned to scale even further.”

“Our goal is to inspire diverse suppliers to think big and rely on their ability to provide quality products and services that meet our needs. Through our Environmental Social Governance Services initiative, we aim to work together create a distinctive experience for suppliers to help create innovative solutions and strategies and accelerate opportunities by responding to customers, clients and the communities around us with a diverse mindset,” said Larry Phelan, EY Global Chief Supply Chain Officer .

“Being part of the Ascend National Cohort is a privilege and fits well with our executive development program at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. The Fisher program is built on principles of operational excellence that focus on problem solving. Partnering with the Ascend National Cohort brings together the curricula of three outstanding universities to provide a world-class education. We are thrilled and extremely grateful to be part of this innovative and collaborative group, and look forward to creating a bright future for businesses owned by people of color,” Renard Green, Program Director, and James Hill, Ph.D., Chair in Operations and Business Analytics from Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, an Ascend Cities program partner.

“The Ascend National Cohort’s business growth program incorporates successful best practices from distinguished programs at the Fisher, Foster and Kellogg Schools, combined with the expertise of highly supportive corporate partners JPMorgan Chase, EY and RSM,” said Michele Rogers, director of Chicago Partnerships at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Ascend Partner. “Kellogg’s focus on leadership, organizations and markets has been a factor in the minority business landscape since the beginning of our targeted High Growth Entrepreneur program in 1996. We are honored that 950 minority and women entrepreneurs have completed our growth programs at Northwestern University. We look forward to continuing to make a difference with this highly acclaimed Ascend National Cohort Team.”

About Ascension:

Ascend began locally in Seattle in 2016 as an initiative of the Center for Business Development & Consulting at the University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business. The program has expanded thanks to funding from JP Morgan Chase and continues to operate in cities nationally, adding the next phase with the Ascend National Cohort. Ascend is a national network of local ecosystems that come together to best support businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color. Ascension includes 13 cities plus the Ascend National Cohort and supports companies through his M3 Model. This model helps companies improve their access mmarkets through contracting opportunities, mManagement skills through mentoring and access to monce through loans and investments. Until June 2022, Ascend 1,153 companies supported and businesses helped Purchase 319 contracts. Between 2019 and 2021, Ascend has helped more than 80 color company employees grow beyond $1M in sales, 20 beyond $5M and eight beyond $10M out.


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