Furthering Project DEEP’s Impact

Updated: March 26, 2024

To continue the efforts of Project DEEP, in 2023 JPMorgan Chase provided additional grant funding to the Sorenson Impact Institute to better understand the challenges facing entrepreneurs today.

The second phase of Project DEEP seeks to understand the capital needs, financing landscape and barriers to accessing capital specifically for women and women of color entrepreneurs in Utah.

Building upon the growing body of national research addressing the challenges faced by underserved entrepreneurs, Sorenson Impact Institute produced a thorough report, “Unlocking Potential: Financing Women-and-Women-of-Color-Owned Businesses in Utah.” 

The report is based on secondary research and analysis of data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau Annual Business Survey and from primary interviews with financial institutions that target underserved entrepreneurs in Utah. The primary objective was to gain insights into how these financial institutions have effectively offered products and services to underserved entrepreneurs who have historically and contemporarily faced barriers to accessing capital from traditional lending institutions. 

Key findings include:

  • Women-owned businesses differ from men-owned businesses in several ways.

  • While financial institutions report separate data related to the gender and race of their clients, almost none report data on the number of women of color entrepreneurs they serve. 

  • Financial institutions targeting underserved entrepreneurs employ methodologies that diverge from conventional banking practices. 

  • Demand for financing among underserved entrepreneurs significantly outpaces supply, particularly for those seeking midrange loans ($75K-$250K).