Creating an inclusive economy by supporting established small businesses in low-income communities or are minority owned.
The Greater Cincinnati Executive Business Accelerator (E.B.A.) is a business-focused program offered by The Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce (AACC).
The AACC graduated its third class with eight businesses successfully completing the 13-week certificate program. The businesses and their owners are Tahmeeka O’Neal, President and CEO Legacy Maximizers; Annetta Waters, President and CEO Annetta’s Beauty Bar; Corless Berry, President and CEO ChoZen 4 U Boutique; Devoe Sherman, President and CEO First Generation Leaders of America; Robin Walker, President and CEO Technology Tailor Made; Minnie Jefferson, President and CEO Integrated Tax Services; Jessica Shely, President and CEO GPD Creative Agency. Carol Ruffin, President & CEO Blossom Florist attended the event virtually.
The E.B.A. provides a diverse group of small business owners in underserved communities with the management education, access to new markets, peer networks, and additional resources needed to further grow their businesses. The final output of our program is a three year Strategic Growth Action Plan, which is critical to helping owners understand and develop their business plans.
“The Strategic Growth Action Plan is both the capstone of our program and the compass that keeps entrepreneurs focused on the challenges they must meet to achieve growth,” said Deborah Davis, E.B.A. Facilitator and Instructor at the AACC.
Participants produce a three-year plan outlining future growth goals; specific, actionable objectives; and a timeline outlining how to achieve these goals. Peers and panels of business professionals provide feedback on the presentations of the final versions of these plans.
Robin Walker, President & CEO if Technology Tailor Made/CDM Computers and a former IT professional at Procter & Gamble, was one of the graduates. She said, “The experience with the EBA Cohort was one that I will always remember. It challenged us and motivated us and fed us knowledge, insight and opportunities to grow our businesses. The work was tough because we had to take time out of our very busy schedules to absorb the materials, connect with the information and then decide how to apply the knowledge. Applying the knowledge was key to completing the work with a plan to move forward. That is what the cohort was all about: a plan for the future.
“One very valuable component was the subgroups that we worked within. Meeting with the general group bi-weekly and our sub-groups on the opposite weeks was an opportunity to get to know other business owners more closely and form a strong bond. Bonds are very important because they create a safe space to talk openly about issues and solutions. Those safe spaces gave us time to ponder, discuss and encourage each other. Encouragement is key to success. There are so many situations that arise where it was helpful to know how others faced and conquered similar situations.
“The material covered during the sessions was significant because it covered so many aspects of business. So many important business concepts that all business owners should know. The topics shaped our conversations, which was great in focusing our energy towards the goal of creating a plan for the future. No matter what stage the business was in, the cohort showed us how to get to the next stage and offered options for doing so. I was an experience I will always remember.”
The Greater Cincinnati Executive Business Accelerator is an opportunity that provides the discipline and structure business owners need to step back and work on their businesses, rather than in their businesses, Davis said.
Overall, the program is comprised of four critical components – participatory classroom learning, iConnect online learning, peer-to-peer learning, the Private Sector Network, and the Strategic Growth Action Plan – as well as an active component that supports alumni (continuous engagement) and three years of follow up and business assessment after graduation.
“The E.B.A. program is a phenomenal program and an opportunity for small business owners to meet local businesses who are striving to grow their business and to engage with businesses across the United States, Caribbean and Canada through the Interise alumni network, said Davis.
“We at the African American Chamber of Commerce are excited about the future and welcome small business owners to contact us to learn more about the Greater Cincinnati Executive Business Accelerator.
The Cincinnati Chapter of the Collective Empowerment Group in partnership with the African American Chamber of Commerce presented the graduates.
Congratulations to our 2021 graduates!!