Release Date: March 10,2021
Akron Named to List of Top Ten Metros for Minority-Owned Businesses in the U.S.
Akron, Ohio, March 10, 2021 — The City of Akron has been named one of the Top Ten Best Metros for Minority-Owned Businesses by Lantern, a SoFi Lending Corp. company. This announcement comes as a result of the dedication and commitment of the City of Akron and its partners to make actionable changes in recent years and invest in Black-owned businesses.
To address issues surrounding the creation and growth of Black-owned businesses in Akron, the City made investments in five key areas of focus. New investments were made in the Bounce Innovation Hub and associated programming, and in the Minority Contractors Capital Access Program, in partnership with Summit County and Western Reserve Community Fund. This program provides access to SBA-backed bonding and capital for labor, material and bonding costs for historically marginalized businesses in the construction, architectural, engineering, landscaping and similar industries.
Additional investments were made in the Akron Resiliency Fund, in partnership with the Western Reserve Community Fund, which provides low-interest loans for business start-ups and small businesses’ payroll, working capital, equipment and debt refinance costs; the Great Streets program, which targets investment in 12 City neighborhood business districts, home primarily to locally owned small businesses; and finally, Rubber City Match, which seeks to aid entrepreneurs in launching their business in a vacant neighborhood storefront.
“Over three years ago, the City of Akron partnered with the County of Summit, Greater Akron Chamber and GAR Foundation to embark on an initiative to improve their collective economic development ecosystem and drive business growth and economic opportunity within the Greater Akron region,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “The key component of the Elevate Akron initiative is ensuring core strategies are aligned and integrated. One of the major areas where we are seeing success is driving new Black-owned business start-ups.”
Robert DeJournett, Vice President, Opportunity & Inclusion, Greater Akron Chamber said, “Black business start-ups are important because they will enable wealth to grow and be passed generationally within the Black community. The lack of wealth in that community is currently a major impairment to accessing the capital necessary to start businesses organically. The continued support from our local government and partners will be crucial for the ongoing success of these businesses.”
"As a double Minority-owned business here in Akron, Ohio, we are encouraged by the support of the community and our customers,” said Erica Banks and Kameron Alexander, co-owners, Social 8 Restaurant & Lounge. “We appreciate the efforts and support of resources given to us from organizations such as the Greater Akron Chamber and Great Streets Akron. Without organizations like these and the community being so supportive, change would be minimal from where we stand. It is also inspirational to support and be supported by other minority-owned businesses."
To learn more about key strategies featured in Elevate Akron, please visit the following websites: