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10 Cleveland Organizations Join Forces to Form the Business Growth Collaborative

Promoting Inclusive Innovation in the City of Cleveland, Collaborative Will Also Share a Minimum of $750K in Funding Over the Next Two Years

CLEVELAND, March 29, 2018 – A coalition of 10 Cleveland organizations have come together under the banner of the Business Growth Collaborative (BGC) to streamline their support for local entrepreneurs and secure an equitable economic future.

Convened by the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Commission on Economic Inclusion and JumpStart Inc., the overarching goal of the collaborative is to improve the level of coordination among available entrepreneurial resources by breaking down barriers to business growth opportunities for historically disadvantaged communities.

The BGC’s additional eight non-convening members include the Economic Community Development Institute (ECDI), the Presidents’ Council, Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council, MAGNET, the Hispanic Business Center (HBC), the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) and the Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI).

“We are delighted by the spirit and energy of this group of service providers,” said Brian Hall, executive director of the Commission on Economic Inclusion. “They have spent two years developing processes, systems and trust which garnered support from our funders, and will benefit the minority entrepreneurial community.”

This Collaborative was envisioned and nurtured by a host of additional supporting organizations, most notably the Cleveland Foundation, as well as PNC Bank, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the Gund Foundation.

“The County is pleased to support the Business Growth Collaborative, which provides tech assistance and B2B procurement opportunities to Minority business,” said Ted Carter, Chief Economic Development & Business Officer of the Office of the Cuyahoga County Executive. “This investment, with one of our key strategic partners, leverages and compliments the County’s other capital programs directed to Minority small businesses.”

Non-convening BGC members can also apply for grants from a pool of at least $750K in funding that will be distributed over the next two years to help them launch new programs and services—an idea seeded by the Cleveland Foundation and joined by others.

“BGC is a direct conduit of true connectivity for entrepreneurs,” said Erica C. Penick, executive director of The Presidents’ Council. “BGC allows the partner service organizations to do formally, what we have been doing informally for years—helping entrepreneurs successfully navigate what is often a very confusing and disconnected channel of resources. Through the collaborative, service providers are able to track and monitor entrepreneurs through the growth process, provide resources beyond traditional programming and intervene where there may be challenges.”

“At its core, the BGC is about putting the needs of diverse entrepreneurs and small business owners first,” added JumpStart President Cathy Belk. “Each organization in the BGC has their own unique strengths and ways of doing things—but the best way to help the people we all serve get the knowledge and support they need is to work together whenever and wherever possible.”

The BGC meets monthly to collaboratively support clients in the City of Cleveland who can directly impact the local community. The group’s goal is that more than 90 percent of the enterprises assisted through BGC efforts are minority-owned. By July 2018, the BGC will have helped 100 entrepreneurs and small business owners in the City of Cleveland.

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About GCP

The Greater Cleveland Partnership mobilizes private-sector leadership, expertise and resources to create attractive business conditions that create jobs, grow investment and improve the economic prosperity of the region. www.gcpartnership.com.

About JumpStart, Inc.

JumpStart unlocks the full potential of diverse and ambitious entrepreneurs to economically transform entire communities. For more information, visit www.jumpstartinc.org and follow @JumpStartInc on Twitter.