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African American Chamber and MORTAR announce minority business emergency assistance fund

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The Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and MORTAR, a resource hub for urban entrepreneurs, are partnering to create the Minority Business Emergency Assistance Fund, designed to help minority business owners negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

The crowdfunding goal for the Minority Business Emergency Assistance Fund is $100,000. All are asked to give at mightycause.com/organization/Saveourbusinesses.

AACC and MORTAR are leading and recruiting a coalition of regional organizations to raise needed assistance, including:

       The Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative (GCMI)

       Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA

       The Indian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky

       The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

       The Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce

       Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio


The Minority Business Emergency Assistance Fund will be fueled by corporate, individual and organizational donations, in-kind gifts and crowdfunding. Foundations, organizations, institutions, corporations and individuals interested in helping financially or by other means should email Kristi Clement Williams at kristi@african-americanchamber.com.

“We are acting now to save a generation of minority small businesses in the Cincinnati region. The Minority Business Emergency Assistance Fund represents good people and great corporate citizens doing the smart thing to maintain and grow our Black and minority business community. We are overwhelmed and grateful for the cooperation and support,” said Eric H. Kearney, president of the African American Chamber. 

“The Cincinnati region is home to one of the nation’s strongest ecosystems for entrepreneurs of color. We don’t have the luxury of waiting for politicians to devise solutions, many of which will fall short of our true needs,” said Derrick Braziel, development director and co-founder of MORTAR. “The only way this generation of hard-working, job-creating businesses will survive is by identifying needed resources and creating a mutual aid network to fill those needs.”

“It is imperative that we provide relief and inclusive pathways for capital for businesses in our community. We are thrilled to partner with the African-American Chamber and MORTAR to use our collective assets for the community, said Eddie Koen, president and CEO of Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio.

“Our business are committed to getting through this. Let’s help make the support for them more equitable,” said Willie Hill, executive director of The Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative.

Applications for funding will be accepted from vetted minority entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region. Funding will be designed for businesses experiencing an acute emergency need for immediate cash influx. Emergency needs include, but are not limited to, payroll gaps, rent and/or mortgage payments and bill payments. These businesses must also agree to work with service providers to develop strategies that incorporate technology platforms into their businesses.

Minority entrepreneurs and small businesses interested in receiving funding should complete this questionnaire.

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