Ray Leach of JumpStart shares this good news:
A new minority-focused initiative called the Emerging Market Fund (EMF) received significant support totaling $500,000 from the state’s Third Frontier Program. Darrin Redus, JumpStart’s Chief Inclusion Officer, and I have been working with leadership from the private sector to help get this new for-profit pre-seed fund off the ground.
This fund will operate in a very similar manner to the North Coast Angel Fund but be focused on minority companies and firms in the inner cities of Northeast Ohio. The EMF was the only new fund supported by the Third Frontier in this round. The collaborators in this new Fund include: National City Bank, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Commission on Economic Inclusion, the Minority Business Accelerator 2.5+, the Ohio Capital Fund, The President’s Council, TechLift, the Partnership for the Minority Business Accelerator, the Northern Ohio Minority Business Council, the Urban League of Greater Cleveland and Shorebank Enterprise Cleveland.
This new fund is another way for the region to accelerate the growth of minority-owned enterprises. Northeast Ohio must do a better job of providing access to economic opportunities for minorities if our region is to be globally competitive. Our entire economy will be held back if a large percentage of residents are left behind.
Creating more opportunities for our region’s minority businesses is one of the strategies of Advance Northeast Ohio and since January 2008 the Minority Business Accelerator 2.5+ has been working hard to deliver on that strategy.
The MBA 2.5+ has helped 11 African-American and Hispanic-owned businesses land contracts and its latest deal was a $500,000 contract for APA & Associates, a structured data cabling company. The company is working as a subcontractor to J.W. Didado Electric, Inc. of Akron on an electrical contracting project for Cleveland State University. Work will begin in April.
APA was founded in 2003, and is based in Cleveland. The company is currently certified to work with Systimax Solutions cabling products and will receive Hubbell Premise Wiring certification in the near future. Customers include the Cleveland Museum of Art, Neon Health Centers, and PolyOne Corporation.
If you are looking for opportunities to do business with minority-owned contractors check out the Minority Business Acclerator 2.5+.
Expanding business opportunities for minority-owned enterprises is one of the main strategies of Advance Northeast Ohio.
Several organizations collaborate on one program — the Minority Business Accelerator 2.5+ — that is producing results in that important area. Recently, the MBA 2.5+ announced that it had helped client companies close two deals. First, the Coniglio Company won a $500,000 bank branch renovation project with KeyBank . Over the past five years, the construction company has grown from three employees, handling small, private general-contracting projects, to more than 20 employees, completing projects ranging from $5,000 to $2 million.
In the second deal, HotCards.com, a full-color, offset printing and direct-mail company, has won a printing contract with Cleveland Clinic. The Cleveland-based company, which had $4.5 million in sales in 2007, has 75 employees in 12 cities who handle more than 1,000 customers each week and prints more than three million postcards and flyers per week. Forty employees work at the 18,000-square-foot facility in Cleveland.
Since the MBA 2.5+ launched in January it has helped five companies secure deals worth more than $3 million. It intends to assist at least five more companies close deals before the end of the year.
One of the region’s more interesting blogs, I Will Shout Youngstown, highlights the relationship between alleviating poverty and building a growing economy based on technology companies.
Bishop George Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown announced the “big hairy audacious goal” of cutting the city’s poverty rate – now pegged at 32.6% – in half by 2020. The goal of Advance Northeast Ohio is to reduce poverty in our core cities below 20% in a similar time frame — perhaps not as big or hairy, but challenging nonetheless.
In response, the blogger Janko asks:
Does technology-based economic development hinder or help traditionally disadvantaged groups?
On one hand, in a zero-sum world, it’s possible to argue “we have no money for homeless programs in Toledo because we are spending tax dollars on research equipment in Dayton.”
On the other hand, it’s possible to argue “funding a successful technology incubator in Youngstown has spin-off effects, in that it creates downstream businesses such as coffee shops and office cleaners, and provides additional taxes to the overall system to provide social services.”
My answer is technology-based companies can help revitalize our core cities and alleviate poverty, but only if we integrate efforts to build such companies with programs to prepare our residents for the jobs they create and we’ll also need to make extra effort to help people who have traditionally been left behind by our evolving economy. Only through such an integrated approach — the approach supported by partners in Advance Northeast Ohio — will we achieve the Bishop’s big hairy audacious goal.
Here is the latest news from the Minority Business Accelerator 2.5+, a regional collaboration that is working to increase the size and scale of minority-owned enterprises:
For Cynthia Mumford, president and owner of Triple A Builders, Inc., necessity influenced her career path, which began in health care services and evolved into running a general contracting and builder supplies business. “My contractor didn’t finish my house. I had to finish it myself,” she says of her family’s 4,000-square foot home in the Hough area. Now, aided by consulting assistance provided by the Minority Business Accelerator 2.5+, her company is prepping to work as a subcontractor on a $2.4 million project for the new Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center project. Triple A Builders will be mentored by prime contractor Acme Arsena Company, Inc. on furnishing and installation of architectural fiberglass, gypsum board systems and fixed sound absorbing panels.
At the request of the County, the Commission on Economic Inclusion, program manager for the MBAccelerator 2.5+, began the process of bringing together small and large contractors to promote inclusion on the project, a goal for both the County and Ozanne Construction Co., the project’s construction manager. Now that Mumford’s on board as a subcontractor, the MBAccelerator 2.5+ will work with her to ensure that she can fulfill her contractual requirements and turn a profit. The Accelerator2.5+ also will work with Arsena to ensure that its relationship with Mumford is a win as well.