Minority Business Accelerator: Corporations spent over $1B with local minority-owned firms in 2013

'It really is about making regional change happen'

Greater Cincinnati corporations and nonprofits topped $1 billion in spending with local minority-owned companies in 2013.

In fact, 36 companies affiliated with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator spent $1.04 billion with minority-owned firms last year.

It’s the most money those companies called “goal setters” have spent with local minority-owned firms since the program known as the MBA launched 11 years ago.

“The work of the MBA is rooted in the region and the community. It is the minority companies who are coming to the table and the goal setters that are making the decision that they’re going to have a diverse supply base,” said Crystal German, vice president of the MBA and economic inclusion for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

“While we celebrate this as a milestone for us, it really is about making regional change happen.”

The MBA announced its results Wednesday afternoon at its 2014 Minority Business Accelerator’s Annual Stakeholder Meeting at The Phoenix downtown. It also announced:

• The MBA’s 34 “portfolio firms” had average annual revenue of $32 million in 2013, a 10 percent increase over the previous year. Portfolio firms are the local minority-owned companies that the MBA works with to help them grow.

• The program added four new portfolios firms and six new goal setters last year.

• And the L. Ross Love GrowthBridge Fund has reached $1.8 million. The fund was started a year ago to help minority-owned businesses get the money they need to grow. It expects to make as many as three loans later this year.

The MBA was launched in 2003 as a response to the city’s 2001 riots. The program aims to grow sizeable minority-owned companies to increase economic opportunities for the region’s minority residents.

Portfolio companies must be African-American- or Hispanic-owned, must have annual revenue of $1 million or more and must have potential for growth.

Insiders can read more about the challenges that remain for local minority-owned companies and why two local institutions decided to become goal setters in 2013.

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