Project DEEP
A university-based, multi-pronged initiative supporting women and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) as entrepreneurs and investors to accelerate economic development.

The Developing Equitable Economies Program (Project DEEP) seeks to support equitable wealth creation opportunities by equipping underestimated groups with knowledge to succeed and recruiting more diverse investors who can recognize new market opportunities. This work is supported by the Economic Development Administration, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Sorenson Impact Foundation.

Project DEEP primarily serves entrepreneurs who identify as women and BIPOC by providing accessible immersive education and by resourcing leading community partners to provide technical assistance such as growth training to these entrepreneurs. It secondarily targets members of the innovation economy, providing education, resources, and community building to equip a new class of intentional investors.

The project builds on earlier work focused on Utah’s economy, including a landscape report that identified technical assistance, funding access, and accessible education as key needs for women and BIPOC entrepreneurs in Utah. While Utah has a strong economy demonstrating persistent growth, underrepresented groups do not enjoy equal access to Utah’s innovation opportunities.

The Center will measure the impact of this program to provide proof of concept for replication to fuel diversity in innovation across the country, leveraging data science, community engagement, innovative finance, and impact storytelling.

The Partner

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Economic Development Administration, The Sorenson Impact Foundation, the Women’s Business Center of Utah, and New Pattern

The Challenge

Evidence suggests that women and BIPOC entrepreneurs face additional barriers to success in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, such as discrimination in funding, lower access to training resources, and network gaps. Project DEEP seeks to support these entrepreneurs directly through accessible training and technical support and also to help change the behavior of investors, community leaders, and other stakeholders who can influence the environment of success for entrepreneurs.

The Outcome

The Center will launch a series of video master classes and accompanying workbooks in Fall 2022 for entrepreneurs and support organizations and is also partnering with two leading community organizations, Women’s Business Center of Utah and New Pattern, to implement a technical assistance program. These are supported by an impact measurement framework specific to Project DEEP and additional partnerships.

The Impact

As Project DEEP implements education materials and technical assistance for diverse entrepreneurs, these innovators and the entrepreneurial ecosystem as a whole will benefit from the project’s support of a diverse innovation ecosystem.