Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) announces the release of the Northeast Ohio Business Growth Compass, an online tool to connect business owners and entrepreneurs with technical assistance and economic development resources.
Recognizing the dire need for guidance on emergency relief funds, difficult balance sheet pivots, and countless other concerns of businesses, the Compass automatically assesses needs and makes connections to resource providers in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to aid Northeast Ohio’s businesses.
The tool is available to all businesses in our region, including COSE and GCP members.
“The Business Growth Compass represents a critical milestone in GCP’s efforts to reimagine technical assistance and convene tri-sector collaboration for economic growth,” said Megan Kim, Executive Director of the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), GCP’s small business division. “In the spirit of the admirable pivots that thousands of our members have made, the Compass has digitized our region’s existing services with unprecedented centralization and an eye toward usability.”
When using the compass, business owners can choose from over a dozen kinds of assistance, including access to capital, business plan writing, mentoring and networking, personal financial health and more. A new tech startup might use the tool to identify a strategy for product development. Established restaurant owners could receive assistance on licenses and permits, while a large company looking to relocate to greater Cleveland could find organizations to coordinate with.
“Through GCP Equity & Inclusion, we know that the challenges of minority entrepreneurs are unique. For example, numerous reports have shown that the COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected minority-owned small businesses,” said Brian Hall, Senior Vice President of GCP’s Equity & Inclusion Division. “The Compass was developed to help these entrepreneurs access the resources and support they need – in many cases specific to minority owned businesses – to overcome and succeed.”
The tool was developed with the input of dozens of stakeholders, most notably the Business Growth Collaborative (BGC): a group of 11 organizations committed to the growth of minority-owned businesses in Cleveland and its surrounding neighborhoods.
The BGC accomplishes this mission by sharing resources, achieving milestones with small businesses, and streamlining services available for the minority population. Partners include Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, GCP’s small business division COSE, Economic and Community Development Institute, Hispanic Business Center, JumpStart Inc., MAGNET, Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council, Ohio Aerospace Institute, the Presidents' Council and Urban League of Greater Cleveland.
The Compass is an addition to GCP’s Inclusion Marketplace—a portal to connect minority-owned businesses with corporate buyers.
GCP encourages members, public officials, and economic development peers to publicize the tool and collaborate to improve it.