The fund aims to increase the number of local minority-owned businesses


CINCINNATI – A census survey conducted in 2019 showed that only about 18% of all American businesses are owned by minorities. A coalition of local business groups is trying to increase this number in the region by making business ownership more accessible to everyone.

Brandon Hoff built his business from the ground up – literally. He founded Heritage Hill, LLC in his basement. His company primarily manufactures clothing for historically black colleges and universities.

“Now is how to go from a smaller business to a more mature business,” he said. “And in doing that, it’s about figuring out how to increase the cash flow.”

Insurance agent Leo Ford is looking to start his own business – an LGBTQ hip-hop club in Cincinnati.

“There aren’t any in Ohio at all,” he said. “There are very few in the Midwest. At first I’m like there’s no way to – how am I going to finance number one. “

There are sometimes major hurdles in starting or expanding a business – this is where the Business Legacy Fund comes in.

“It all depends on how we can create intergenerational wealth within our community through business ownership,” said Ellen Very, director of development and cooperative organization at Co-op Cincy.

The fund selected five minority entrepreneurs this summer as part of a new cohort. A coalition of business partners will guide business people in buying their own business or expanding a business they already own. The fund will also help pay for it.

“Historically in our country we have this huge inequality and income and wealth gap,” Vera said. “So if we can increase the number of people in our community who own the property, we’ll increase the benefits. “

As more American adults retire, Vera said these acquisition plans could save businesses as well, which would also save jobs.

“If two years, we want to be in a bigger space,” Hoff said. “We want to be able to have a bigger team. We want to be able to have a bigger impact.

The fund is looking for companies interested in selling – either to one of their employees or to one of the entrepreneurs selected by the fund. There is currently a multi-million dollar loan ready to complete these transactions.

Applications open September 15. For more information, visit the Co-op Cincy website.

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