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Accelerating Business

Monday, January 28, 2008

New program to help minority-owned companies

Provided by Akron Beacon Journal
Written by Paula Schleis

Minority Business Accelerator 2.5+ is open for business.

The new business-development program is aimed at Northeast Ohio black-owned and Hispanic-owned companies with annual revenues of at least $2.5 million.

The intent is to help those businesses grow in size, scale and infrastructure by identifying business opportunities for participants.

The goal is to assist at least 12 companies in the first year, although the program's Web site offers other resources to small, disadvantaged, women-owned, or other sizes of minority-owned businesses.

The decision to focus on developing larger businesses was influenced by research that shows those companies have more potential for creating jobs and impacting the overall regional economy.

Also, the likelihood of such companies to hire more black and Hispanic workers — the region's two largest minority groups — will stimulate economic activity in those communities.

The accelerator, with initial funding through a $1 million grant from the Fund for Our Economic Future, will be operated by the Commission on Economic Inclusion, the Hispanic Business Association, JumpStart Inc. and the Northern Ohio Minority Business Council.

The program also will reach out to large Northeast Ohio corporations by encouraging better use of minority-owned suppliers.

''It's essential that we work on both the supply and the demand side of the minority business-development equation, so that the minority supplier and the corporate customer are ready to do business with each other,'' said Andrew Jackson, executive director of the Commission on Economic Inclusion.

For information, call 216-592-2488 or visit the Web site at http://www.mbaccelerator2-5.com.