The $2.5 million “Lincoln and Gilbert Initiative” aims to double Greater Cincinnati’s minority business population over the next five years. The project looking back to the past to impact the future. It is after the Walnut Hills intersection where Black businesses thrived in the 1840s.
“The thought was this fund would revive and cause minority businesses to grow,” said African American Chamber of Commerce President Eric Kearney.
Grant applications are now open and local business owners said they could benefit greatly. Eric Harris went into business for himself this time last year.
“First things first,” said Harris. “I would get a stable property. Make this into a tow yard. Try to get youth to work here and get a contract with the city to at least fund some of my youth workers and teach young ones there’s other things we can do.”
Garri Davis applied for the grant. She started Water Lilly daycare a decade ago. Daycares were hit hard during the pandemic, and she wants to give back.
“The money would go straight to employees’ payroll benefits and employee satisfaction and would be put towards use just for them,” Davis said.
Business owners can apply for up to $15,000 depending on their size and revenue. Several minority business organizations came together to offer support.
“In order to get the funding, you have to go through one of the training sessions with one of these organizations and we are all working together,” Kearney said. “That’s not done anywhere else across the country which makes it so unique.”