The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator has launched a new equity capital fund, Minority Business Accelerator Fund I, aimed at creating larger-scale minority-owned businesses through mergers and acquisitions. With its unique structure and focus, it will be one of the only funds of its kind in the country.
The fund’s objective is to catalyze the creation and growth of larger-scale minority-owned businesses. Investments will enable entrepreneurs of color to participate equitably in what is expected to be a trillion-dollar marketplace of mainstream small- to mid-sized businesses seeking an “exit” or sale over the next ten years. Research indicates that roughly 75% of these existing businesses have no business succession plan and often no heirs who desire to assume ownership and control.
“The MBA Fund I has an incredible opportunity to create a more inclusive business landscape by ensuring that more entrepreneurs of color can participate in these purchase opportunities,” says Darrin Redus CEO of the Minority Business Accelerator. “We are one of only a handful of venture funds in the country with our specific focus on business acquisitions and growth equity that will serve to level the playing field a bit in enabling more entrepreneurs of color to participate in mainstream business transactions.”
The fund plans to provide equity and flexible debt capital to supplement the “buyer’s equity” requirements of a standard business purchase. The fund expects to target an average investment level of $2.5 million per transaction while maintaining flexibility to invest more or less capital depending on certain factors.
“We are entering an extraordinary wealth transfer opportunity in our nation’s history as a large percentage of the Baby Boom generation approaches retirement age. Of those Baby Boomers who also run small to mid-sized businesses, it is well-documented that the vast majority of these businesses lack an identified business succession plan,” says Darrin Redus.
In addition to providing investment capital in support of business acquisitions, the MBA Fund I expects to provide direct equity investments in existing high-growth, minority-owned businesses that require a significant cash infusion to scale to higher levels. Anticipated uses of capital include but are not limited to investments in new technology and systems, launching new complementary product and service lines, “pivoting” to related high-growth markets, and investments in human capital and plant and equipment infrastructure.
Ed Rigaud, Chair of the Accelerator’s Board of Managers, says “The ripple effect is clear. By serving minority-owned firms in our regions, the Accelerator intends to cultivate a thriving economy for the underserved and creating new pathways for bourgeoning minority entrepreneurs resulting in a generational economic win for the region.”
The initial catalytic investors for the MBA Fund I include Fifth Third Bank, First Financial Bank, Bank of America, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, and altafiber (formerly Cincinnati Bell).
MBA Fund I Leadership
The creation of this fund follows the restructuring of the Minority Business Accelerator, which has been part of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since its founding in 2003. The Accelerator now operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chamber, with Darrin Redus serving as its CEO and the chair of Fund I’s Investment Committee. Curtis Hollis serves as the Chief Operating Officer.
The Accelerator continues its core work to support large-scale MBEs with a focus on growth and facilitating partnerships for those portfolio companies. In addition, the Fund now provides the Accelerator with an additional tool to catalyze that growth.
“For the past 20 years, the Minority Business Accelerator has supported the creation of over 3,500 jobs and contributed to well over a billion dollars in recurring annual spending with the region’s minority businesses,” says Jill P. Meyer, CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “The impact of the Accelerator and Darrin’s trailblazing leadership is transforming how our region supports minority entrepreneurs with scalable businesses. This fund will catapult the Accelerator’s mission and propel minority wealth creation, taking the region’s entire economy to new levels.”
A prestigious Board of Managers governs the Accelerator, comprised of individuals and companies with a committed and proven dedication to growing the scale of MBEs. Likewise, Fund I’s Investment Committee is powered by investment professionals with decades of transformational investment experience.
The Board of Managers includes:
Cynthia Booth, COBCO Enterprises
Calvin Buford, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
Bob Castellini, Castellini Management Company
David Foxx, d.e. Foxx & Associates
Tedd Friedman, Katz Teller
Mel Gravely, TriVersity Construction
Tim Massa, The Kroger Co.
Michael McCuen, KeyBank
Shelly McNamara, P&G
Jill P. Meyer, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
Darrin Redus, Minority Business Accelerator
Ed Rigaud, EnovaPremier
Scott Robertson, RCF Group
The MBA Fund 1 Investment Committee includes:
Darrin Redus, CEO, Minority Business Accelerator, LLC.
Carmen Ortiz-McGhee, Executive Vice President, National Association of Investment
Joseph Woods, Managing Partner, Timber Bay Partners, LLC.
Mary Ann Griffin, Chief Investment Officer, Salt Creek Capital, Inc.
J. Carter McNabb, Managing Director, RC Capital
Robert W. Jones, Retired Senior Executive, GE Aviation, President/CEO, ASJ Enterprises, LLC
What MBA Fund I lead partners are saying:
“altafiber believes that a strong, diverse business community is an important part of maintaining the strong, diverse communities that make our region a great place to live and work. The Minority Business Accelerator’s fund will increase access to capital that is essential for minority-owned businesses to continue growing and creating jobs through strategic acquisitions. We are excited to be investors in this fund and to support the important work that the Minority Business Accelerator is doing. – Leigh Fox, President and CEO of altafiber
Bank of America
“Bank of America’s equity investment in the Minority Business Accelerator Fund reinforces our shared focus on advancing economic growth in Cincinnati and nearby regions by expanding the minority entrepreneurial community by providing capital and mentorship to grow their businesses. We’re excited to support the fund’s mission under the leadership of Darrin Redus and his team and continuing our long-standing partnership with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and the Minority Business Accelerator.” – Mark Ryan, President, Bank of America Cincinnati
First Financial Bank
“First Financial Bank is proud to continue our support of the Cincinnati Minority Business Accelerator. By enabling greater development opportunities for Cincinnati’s minority businesses, we help contribute to a more vibrant and equitable local economy while fulfilling First Financial’s mission of helping our clients and communities thrive.” – Roddell McCullough, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer, First Financial Bank Fifth-Third Bank
“Fifth Third Bank is committed to investing in projects that improve economic mobility and help communities in the Cincinnati region thrive. We are proud of this innovative, first-of-a-kind approach to support emerging minority-owned firms in gaining access to capital and foster business expansion.” – Susan Thomas, President of Fifth Third Bank Community Development Corporation