Minority Business Accelerator Celebrates 10 Years, Looks to Future
Annual event recognizes contributions of L. Ross Love
CINCINNATI— June 13, 2013 — The Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) in Cincinnati has more than 771 million reasons to celebrate this year, during their 10th anniversary. In addition to a new record of spending by local corporations and community organizations, average revenue of MBA portfolio firms reached $29 million and the total number of firm employees increased to 3,360.
The MBA is the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s hallmark economic-development initiative focused on growing sizeable minority firms.
Since its inception in 2003, the MBA has created 1,800 jobs in Cincinnati. This and other milestones are spotlighted in the MBA’s 2012 annual report, will be released during the annual stakeholder’s meeting on June 13.
“During the past 10 years, the MBA has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to small business diversity and innovation in our region, and it has become a model for other regional business accelerators,” said Crystal German, vice president of the MBA and economic inclusion at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “We’re proud of our work and excited to see how much more we can accomplish for minority businesses during the next 10 years.”
Looking forward, the MBA is in the investment phase of a $2 -$5 million fund that will provide regional African-American and Hispanic-owned firms better access to capital.
The fund will be called L. Ross Love GrowthBridge Fund in memory of media owner Ross Love. The entrepreneur, philanthropist, former Procter & Gamble executive and founder of Blue Chip Broadcasting was dedicated to minority entrepreneurship. During his career, Love created Blue Chip Enterprises, a company that helped African Americans start their own businesses.
“Access to capital remains a barrier to growth for local minority businesses,” said German. “The L. Ross Love GrowthBridge Fund will address this issue while further stimulating economic development in the Cincinnati region.”
The fund will provide flexible debt capital to finance growth projects of established, highly-competitive, African-American and Hispanic-owned firms in the region. The average loan size will be $175,000. It is anticipated that three to four loans will be made per year.
The fund is possible through support from many investors, including the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which made a $500,000 investment, and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, which made a $150,000 investment. As part of the investment phase, additional investors are still being sought to complete the fund.
The fund will be managed by the MBA in concert with Legacy Investment Funds. An independent loan committee will review and approve all proposed loans.
“The MBA continues to have a significant impact on growing sizeable minority firms and creating an environment for inclusion, both of which were vitally important to Mr. Love,” said German. “This fund represents the next stage of this mission and we’re proud to carry on Mr. Love’s legacy.”
For more information about the MBA, visit www.minoritybusinessaccelerator.com.
About the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber:
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber is the nation's fifth largest chamber, representing the interests of more than 5,000 member businesses. Its mission is to capture Cincinnati USA as one of the world's favorite American business centers. The chamber serves its membership and the Cincinnati USA community through economic development, government advocacy, festivals and events, regional vision and collaboration, money-saving benefit programs, leadership and networking opportunities and educational programs. For more information, visit CincinnatiChamber.com.