Cincinnati Access Fund: a new tool to support small businesses, build strong communities

LISC provides capital and support to small businesses, and leverages its relationships with other national philanthropies and corporations to find other sources of funding, as well as build partnerships between the public and private sectors. LISC also puts residents and business owners at the center, Jones says, “to make sure they’re not being done to, but are being the authors of the work in their community.” And this fall, LISC Cincinnati announced a new tool that brings all those roles together: the Cincinnati Access Fund. The $3.5 million fund is a collaboration among Fifth Third Bank, the City of Cincinnati, and LISC Greater Cincinnati, and will provide needed financial support as well as technical assistance to women- and minority-owned small businesses. “We talk about equity, and this is putting it into practice,” says Derrick Braziel, founder of MORTAR Cincinnati, which fosters minority entrepreneurs. “This is a major milestone.” “I believe Cincinnati could become the most equitable ecosystem in America,” Braziel adds. “This is going to catalyze that.”


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