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CMBC receives $250K in grants, champions honored at CUSA Minority Business Accelerator event

At its September 27 Annual Celebration, the Cincinnati Chamber Minority Business Accelerator (Accelerator), in conjunction with seven regional non-profit organizations, announced two grants equaling $250,000 over the next two years.


These grants will benefit the Cincinnati Minority Business Collaborative:

  • A $150,000 grant from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which will be received in two $75,000 installments over the next two years.
  • A $100,000, one-year grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. The grant will help launch a more robust business development platform for the Cincinnati Minority Business Collaborative (CMBC). The CMBC expects to develop at least 50 promising minority-owned firms in our region over the next five years. The firms will have to demonstrate the ability to grow their annual sales by a minimum of $5 million and create at least 15 new jobs within three-to-five years.

“Through this innovative business development approach being created by the CMBC, these minority-owned businesses will gain access to critical outside expertise as well as pathways to growth capital that will better enable them to maximize the potential of both their businesses as well as their entrepreneurial skills,” said Toby Rau, market executive for JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Southwest Ohio.

To prepare MBEs to meet these “high-growth” goals, the CMBC employs a highly structured process.

“The Greater Cincinnati Foundation is proud to support the CMBC because a vibrant community must support its minority business enterprises,” said Michael Coffey, program officer for The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. “GCF has invested nearly $1 million in the Minority Business Accelerator since its beginning in 2003, and the CMBC is the next important step to support these high-growth firms.”

“The new CMBC format will mirror the rigorous business vetting and development processes commonly found in most nationally recognized technology-based entrepreneurial networks, but will encompass a bigger variety of industries with a focus on high growth instead of high tech,” added Scott Robertson, chair of the Minority Business Accelerator Leadership Council.

The Minority Business Accelerator champions honored its 2017 champions. They are:

Goal Setter of the Year – Procter & Gamble
P&G has been instrumental in helping the Minority Business Accelerator define a breakthrough approach on Goal Setter Collaboration that will see Goal Setters collaborating on common supply. The aim is to increase Goal Setter spending in support of the Accelerator’s plan to grow minority firms by an incremental $1 billion in the next five years.

Pace Setter Award – Megen Construction Company
Megen delivered over 100% sales growth this past year, as well as significant year over-year growth since its founding in 1993. Megen added to its signature project portfolio this year with clients including Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Fairfield City Schools, and the University of Cincinnati ‘s Fifth Third Arena renovation.

Innovator of the Year Award – Best Upon Request
For the second consecutive year, Best Upon Request earned the distinction as Innovator of the Year. Best Upon Request’s Maternity Concierge collaboration with Fifth Third Bank was showcased by NBC’s Today show, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. The program supports pregnant women and working mothers of infants to help them succeed.

Community Impact Award – Journey Steel
In September 2017, Journey Steel was recognized by Ohio Secretary of State John Husted for workforce development to train men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds to become unionized ironworkers. The Accelerator is partnering with Journey Steel to reapply this program across other Portfolio Firms. Journey Steel commits a portion of its net revenue to hire capable minority and women suppliers and subcontractors and invests in community impact programs such as Envision for Children which provide educational enrichment to students from elementary school to college.

Capacity to Excel Award – Sure Mechanical
Sure Mechanical’s recently completed projects include the new Cincinnati Shakespeare Company Theater with Messer Construction, Mercy West MOB 2 with Skanska Construction and Oswald Construction Company, and Duke Energy Kellogg Gas Operations Building with Turner Construction. Project teams are trained and authorized to make relevant decisions at the job site, creating a win-win for customers and teammates.


The Minority Business Accelerator focuses on the growth and development of sizable minority business enterprises while strengthening and expanding the regional minority entrepreneurial community. The Accelerator is taking bold steps to build upon its solid foundation by driving an ambitious plan to grow the aggregate annual revenues of its portfolio firms by an additional $1billion and create an incremental 3,500 jobs over the next five years.

“This aggressive but achievable plan will exponentially catalyze economic growth and impact for the Cincinnati region,” said Darrin Redus, vice president of the Minority Business Accelerator. “I am more convinced than ever that our region will realize a vibrant and inclusive economy.”

The Accelerator works with regional companies to increase their utilization of and spending with local minority owned businesses by helping them identify and connect with local minority suppliers who can meet specific needs for products and services.

CincinnatiUSA Regional Chamber

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