Propelling Businesses to Prosperity
Ascend Houston Powered by JPMorgan Chase
At the Heart of Ascend Houston is Collaboration
Ascend Houston brings together small business service providers, a community college, and a community development financial institution to close the opportunity gap because we know that mission-driven collaboration can solve small businesses’ most pressing issues. Ascend Houston is managed by LiftFund, a Community Development Financial Institution, (CDFI). The program is a collaborative effort between the lead agency, LiftFund, the City of Houston, Houston Community College (HCC), the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Minority Business Development Center (MBDA), The BridgePath and Local Banks.
Ascend Houston assists in improving management skills through the creation of a procurement pipeline, gaining access to money, and growing market connections in a tailored approach to maximize the unique opportunities of Houston-based businesses. The overarching goal of the program is to create multiple pathways to new opportunities, assist with securing additional revenue, and provide enhanced direction to business management.
“Businesses owned by people of color underperform compared to businesses as a whole because of systemic barriers to management education, money through loans and investments, and markets through contracts and supply chain partnerships with corporations and public sector agencies.”
— Dr. Michael Verchot, Ascend National lead
Expand access to contracting opportunities with public entities (local/federal government) and private organizations using multiple databases, existing relationships, and information provided by local community partners.
Provide management support services to ensure accelerated business growth, job creation, and job retention. Services include assistance with preparing and applying for government-specific certifications (ex. DBE, SBE, MBE, WBE, Section 3), assistance with marketing services (i.e. capability statements/capability briefings, etc.), business management & leadership, preparing for procurement/bid opportunities, and other support services in a one-on-one and/or group setting. Additional services include:
- Business Training & Education
- Targeted Incubation/Acceleration Resources
Ascend Houston and LiftFund will provide one-on-one assistance, classes, and web-based training on topics related to money. Information presented will focus on financial literacy, managing personal and business finances, access to lines of credit and/or business loans.
Meet Our Executive Team
Michi Bruns Clay
Regional Vice President & Executive Director
Senior Executive Vice President
Lalla V. Morris, Esq
City of Houston, Office of Business Opportunity
Dr. Maya Durnovo
Chief Entrepreneurial Officer
Houston Community College
Dr. Paula Pineda
Economic Development Director
Houston and Community Development Department
Rodolfo Cavazos Jr
President and Founder
Small Business Development Center