MORTAR’s entrepreneur training helps longtime residents ride the wave of revitalization

MORTAR accepts 12 to 15 people into each of its six yearly training classes, all of which are 14 weeks long. When students begin the program, they generally have one emotion. “They’re usually very scared,” said Woods, MORTAR’s managing partner and creative director. “For most of our participants, based on their background, they’ve been told ‘no’ for so long, they’ve been taught to believe that everything is impossible. It’s often the first time they’ve been around people who have that spirit of affirmation, that they can accomplish these things, while holding them accountable.” The class helps students understand business basics. It costs just $250, and MORTAR offers payment plans for students who can’t afford the entire fee upfront. The budding entrepreneurs get help refining their ideas and are assigned mentors to guide them through the class. “There’s more to make a successful business,” Braziel said. “A network, legal help, mentors -- that’s the special sauce of MORTAR.” Graduates go into the alumni program, which provides further support, including business mentors, networking opportunities, access to business funding, pop-up store space to showcase goods and services, and legal help. What MORTAR has done is leverage relationships in a way that helps more than just the individual graduates; it helps revitalize their neighborhood. “One of the major connections has been the prominence of MORTAR as a change agent within the community,” said Bradley, MORTAR’s strategic director. MORTAR has forged so many connections it’s now a big part of Cincinnati’s fabric. “The ties politically and socially, grant-making operations -- it’s bringing everyone together in support of this cause,” Bradley said. “I’ve lived here 30 years, and I’ve not seen an organization that has been able to galvanize this kind of support.”
Reading Time: < 1 minute
Duke University’s Faith and Leadership publication

Too often, neighborhood revitalization leaves behind the people who already live in urban neighborhoods. A new model in Cincinnati seeks to train and support locals so they can benefit from the economic boom.



© 2021 All Rights Reserved

The easiest (and possibly the fastest) way for you to reach us
is to fill out this form – we promise to get back with you promptly.