This Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is issued by the University of Washington to solicit proposals from qualified team (which may include joint ventures and nonprofit organizations) to brand Ascend 2020 (to be rebranded as Ascend) as the premier ecosystem development strategy for growing businesses owned by people of color, women, veteran, and inner city businesses; to enhance the Consulting and Business development Center’s recognition as a national leader in development of businesses in under-served communities, and furthering the national recognition of JPMorgan Chase in its commitment to growing businesses in under-served communities.
The University of Washington (UW) is soliciting Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from a qualified team (which may include joint ventures and nonprofit organizations) to brand Ascend as the premier national ecosystem strategy for growing businesses owned by people of color, women, LGBTQ, and inner city businesses and to brand the UW Consulting and Business Development Center as the thought leader and executor of the Ascend strategy.
Consulting and Business Development Center:
Founded in 1995, the Consulting and Business Development Center’s mission is to accelerate student careers and to grow businesses and jobs in under-served communities. The Center focuses on minority- women-, veteran-, LGBTQA- and other diverse-owned businesses and nonprofit organizations in addition to businesses and nonprofit organizations located in inner city and rural communities with high unemployment levels. Each year 300+ student participate in consulting projects for small businesses and nonprofit organizations and more than a dozen UW Foster School of Business faculty teach classes for small business owners and employees of mid-size firms. In 2017 more than 90% of Foster School alumni who participated in the Center as students report that they perform better in their first job after graduation because of what they learned with the Center then they would have otherwise. Our business clients reported an average 10% revenue growth in 2017 which translates to $48 million in new revenue. The Center is a self-sustaining unit of the Foster School of Business which is ranked in the top 25 of all business schools in the U.S. and the school is ranked #3 among public business schools.
Ascend 2020 Overview:
Ascend 2020 is a national partnership between the Consulting and Business Development Center and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Launched in 2017, Ascend 2020 is building networks of entrepreneurship supporting organizations in 10 cities across the US with the goal of closing the performance gap between businesses owned by people of color and businesses as a whole. Research compiled by the University of Washington’s Consulting and Business Development Center (Center) shows that minority-owned underperform businesses as a whole grow out of systems that lead to lower management skills, lack of access to money (loans and investments) and access to markets. Using a 3-M model of simultaneously improving Management skills, increasing access to Money, and growing access to Markets (business, government, and individual consumers) the Center has partnered with JPMorgan Chase to build ecosystems in cities across the US that can improve business performance among minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, and inner-city businesses. The Ascend 2020 initiative is currently operating in Atlanta, the Bay Area, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington, DC. In 2019 Ascend will be launched in Long Island, NY; New York City; New Orleans; Houston; and Columbus, OH.
The Ascend model has proven to be successful in its original cities and with the 2019 expansion there is now a truly national platform on which the 3-M model can be branded as a UW Consulting and Business Development Center and JPMorgan Chase strategy that is making a difference for under-served businesses. The scope of work required to create this national brand in coordination with JPMorgan Chase exceeds the current staff capabilities for the Consulting and Business Development Center and the work capacity of the Foster School’s MarCom team. Thus, we are looking for a team that can provide client management, event strategy, branding, content development and staffing support for the Consulting and Business Development Center.
Scope of Work:
· Development of marketing strategy and messages for use in traditional and social media in coordination with JPMorgan Chase’s marketing and communication team in support of Ascend program launches in Long Island, NY; New York City, Columbus, OH; New Orleans, and Houston in 2019 as well as relaunch announcements in Los Angeles in 2019. Additionally, the contractor will support the content development by JPMorgan Chase and local Ascend partners for any launch event specific collateral and will work with JPMorgan Chase and local Ascend partners to develop launch events which may include support in securing local dignitary/local celebrity participation as needed.
· Serving as the primary point of contact for the Consulting and Business Development Center to support the development and distribution of print, digital, video, and social media messages and collateral that will be produced and principally distributed by JPMorgan Chase marketing and communications team to brand Ascend as the premier national ecosystem strategy for growing businesses owned by people of color, women, LGBTQ, veteran and inner city businesses
· Refreshing the Ascend2020.org with new content for a June 2019 re-launch and to regularly update the website with new stories (written by the contractor in coordination with each city’s Ascend partners) from each of the Ascend cities
· Working with JPMorgan Chase marketing and communications team to support inclusion of Ascend on the bank’s website and in corporate social responsibility reports as needed by JPMorgan Chase.
· Working with JPMorgan Chase to engage national celebrity endorsements to heighten awareness of Ascend among corporate and foundation leaders, and federal and state policy makers.
· Working with the Foster School and University of Washington marketing and communications teams to use appropriate traditional, digital, and social media to market Ascend among a range of influential national leaders (for example, Deans of Business Schools, foundations, policy makers, and think tanks
· Provide content input and design services for Ascend marketing collateral such as infographics and 2-4 page print pieces describing Ascend’s work and impact
· Provide content input and design services for Ascend program manuals that will be written by the Consulting and Business Development Center to impact, and program manuals to ensure national program consistency
Through these deliverables the team will rebrand Ascend 2020 to Ascend, raise the national recognition of the Consulting and Business Development Center, and ensure JPMorgan Chase is recognized as the home of the Ascend strategy. Work will be conducted over an 18-month period (likely March 2019-September 2020). Extension beyond September 2020 is possible.