The Startup Turning Locals Into Entrepreneurs in Cincinnati’s Gentrifying Economy

When Jasmine Ford sold her first cheesecake to a colleague at the Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati two years ago, she didn’t think anything of it. Even as word of her pastries spread and orders rolled in over the months, Ford didn’t imagine she’d one day own a business. But in just a few weeks, after two years of working out of her home, Ford, 24, will be opening her own storefront bakery, Jazzy Sweeties, a space she secured with the help of a local business-incubator called MORTAR. To start, she’ll get help from her brother and husband, but hopes to hire an employee soon after the doors open. “I was so nervous about how I would get the money,” Ford said. “I knew when I got accepted to [MORTAR], this is what I was supposed to do.”


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