Ohio Business Spotlight - February
Black History Month is a time to not only learn about our shared history, but to also highlight those who have overcome obstacles that can serve to inspire others in pursuing the American dream.
Recently, the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce announced that black owned businesses have an economic impact of more than $1.4 billion in the region and are responsible for directly employing 8,680 people. Ohio is bursting with resources to start and grow minority owned businesses, beginning with the Ohio Business Gateway on the Secretary of State’s website, and there are hundreds of examples of successful businesses throughout the state.
Since she couldn’t have a party due to COVID, Cherish Holmes was gifted a business registration for her birthday. She started Kohco Gourmet Chocolate Bar in East Cleveland just a few months ago. Her first efforts yielded a 3000% increase in sales from her goal and she has since expanded her chocolate products and offers merchandise. Oh, and she just turned 13.
Now besides filling hot chocolate bomb orders, Cherish wants to inspire and nurture youth entrepreneurship, especially in the black and minority communities. It is her and her mom’s goal to create a place of community and imagination centered around their shared love for chocolate.
As we have seen with a record-setting year in new business creation, many businesses are thriving during the pandemic. One in Dayton is Blake N Co Skincare Company, started by Adrienne Blake, a mom who created a topical cream in her kitchen to help with her and her children’s eczema. Her all-natural remedy was so good that she shared it with friends who encouraged her to start selling the products. In 2020, Adrienne launched a website and sold over $175,0000 worth of products in the middle of a pandemic.
She hopes her success inspires others to not just work hard, but to follow your passion so you enjoy what you do and value the service you are providing to your community.
Journey Steel is one of the few certified minority-owned and women-owned self-performing steel fabrication and erection companies in the nation. One of their specialties is retrofitting, or installing new technology or features to older structures. With many Ohio downtown areas becoming more desirable to live and open a business, there are dozens of buildings that need retrofitting to revitalize neighborhoods.
Based in Cincinnati, Journey Steel ranked 21st in the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City's (ICIC) Top 100 Fastest- Growing Inner City Businesses. Journey is in the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's Minority Business Accelerator with $1 million-plus in annual revenue and a plan for fast growth in the next few years.
Assets Toledo program came in. A 13-week class on starting and running your own business, along with networking opportunities, allowed Moni to expand to outdoor movie showings in Toledo parks and communities. Premier Screenings was born.
Moni says “Follow you passions, the money will come!” and in this case he had a passion for providing free family entertainment to not only give families something to do together, but to bring entire communities together in a positive way. This was especially helpful last summer when people were told not to be near others, but were longing for a time to connect. Watching a movie together outside in a giant field brought communities together while also adhering to social distancing -- all thanks to Moni!
Sarah McEntee left her stable hospital job after eight years to pursue her passion to help others. She had come to realize that nutrition and mental health go hand in hand and by changing what an individual puts into their bodies, they can also change how they feel and, most importantly, the way they view themselves.
Two years ago, McEntee created Circleville Nutrition to provide all-natural, healthy options for people on the go. McEntee was hopeful that with education on healthy eating, people in the community would realize that fad diets don't work, and it is better to prevent health issues than to heavily rely on medication. Word spread and she expanded by opening First Capital Nutrition in Chillicothe.
McEntee's main objective is to make an impact on the local community and her customers appreciate that.
Mohamud Da’ar followed many Somali refugees to Columbus and started his own IT business in 2018 with just two employees. He is following his own American dream and now employs more than 300 people helping other businesses connect over the internet. FlexVone offers feature-packed, cloud-based voice (VoIP), contact center, video, mobile and unified communications for businesses of all sizes.
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