In the past ten years, the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce's Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) has helped dozens of minority-owned businesses become more successful.
MBA Vice-President Crystal German says companies that have gone through the accelerator have shown significant growth.
"We have 34 firms in the portfolio, and when we started this out, they averaged about $7 million in revenue. Right now, they're $29 million."
German says MBA aims to expand the minority entrepreneurial community in the Cincinnati region.
"...This is about creating jobs, creating wealth. It's about addressing the racial disparity."
The accelerator also tries to help businesses in the communities that need it most, like Lonnie Grayson's Environmental & Safety Solutions, Inc. (ESS) in Woodlawn. Grayson says they started with the basics.
"One of the first things they did was look at, 'let's redo your strategic plan and work with you on your strategic plan. Add some more guts and add some more items within the plan that makes sense for growth in the future'," Grayson explained.
Grayson says there was also a close look at the details of the ESS operation.
"We looked at some internal processes, procedures. Do we need legal support? Do we need additional, additional HR support?"
Grayson received months of mentoring from the business accelerator, which helped him land several well-known clients like G.E. Aviation, the Horseshoe Casino and some local schools.
One of Grayson's priorities is to give back to the community.
He likes to hire folks from the neighborhood. He volunteers and donates to local charities, and the more his business grows, the more he can give back.
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