Diversity is Hot in Cleveland
The Business Growth Collaborative or BGC is made of 10 Cleveland organizations that aim to promote business growth opportunities for minority business owners in Northeast Ohio. BGC will do this by making entrepreneurial resources more readily available to low-income and disadvantaged communities.
Cathy Belk, president of JumpStart Inc., the venture development organization that helped found BDGC said, “At its core, the BGC is about putting the needs of diverse entrepreneurs and small business owners first. Each organization in the BGC has their own unique strengths and way of doing things-but the best way to help the people we serve get the knowledge and support they need is to work together whenever and wherever possible.” Just as the BGC can recognize and appreciate “unique strengths” and techniques in each other, they can also appreciate they unique strengths and skills brought on by minority businesses and entrepreneurs.
BGC was created by JumpStart and Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Commission on Economic Inclusion. According to Greater Cleveland Partnership’s, “The collaborative will connect individual service delivery of multiple organizations while they maintain their independent functions, structure, and identities. This will be done by:
- Assessing each organization’s mix of services; and the geographies, industries, and size of clients served.
- Agreeing to a joint method of assessment and growth continuum classification.
- Developing protocols for client intake and sharing of information as well as joint assessments.
- Subscribing to a client management/contact system which is shared among the collaborative.
- Ascribing and assigning organizations to segments of the client services based on the fit.
- Monitoring and holding providers accountable for service delivery and results.
- Evaluating performance of the collaborative annually “
The coalition is also made up of eight other organizations: the Economic Community Development Institute, the Presidents Council, Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council, Magnet, the Hispanic Business Center, the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, the Council of Smaller Enterprises, and the Ohio Aerospace Institute.
The organization is further aided by supporting organizations like the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, the Gund Foundation, and PNC Bank. The support for such initiative is strong in the area.
Ted Carter, chief economic development and business officer of the office of the Cuyahoga County Executive, said, “The County is pleased to support the Business Growth Collaborative, which provides tech assistance and (business to business) procurement opportunities to minority business. This investment, with one of our key strategic partners, leverages and compliments the county’s other capital programs directed to minority small businesses.”
Cleveland is one of many cities that are beginning to value and encourage diversity in businesses within the city and state. With these initiatives in place, minority-owned businesses will now have the resources and skills to compete with more mainstream businesses. These minority businesses will add creativity and innovation to the community creating a stronger economy and city.