CINCINNATI — The African American Chamber of Commerce celebrated the grand opening of its new headquarters Wednesday afternoon.
Members of the business community and the public attended the opening at 2303 Gilbert Ave. in Walnut Hills.
Officials say “unprecedented growth in programs and services” prompted the chamber to expand to a larger, more modern facility.
President and CEO Eric Kearney said the new space is at least three times larger than the chamber’s original space. The new headquarters has several large conference rooms, a kitchenette, an outdoor patio that can serve as a meeting space and a Black Business Hall of Fame.
“We’re better able to serve and support small businesses,” Kearney said.
The African American Chamber provides about 120 programs for different industries to help local entrepreneurs accomplish their goals.
The programs give members assistance with financial planning, marketing and networking.
“We want to see people succeed,” Kearney told WCPO. “You just have to come in and ask for help and we will connect you to that help. We don't do all things — but we can connect you to people who can help you.”
Kearney says the chamber works to close the “knowledge gap” that comes with opening a small business, and the chamber aims to be the voice for the black business community.
“We've come out in support of certain educational issues from time to time or issues that involve the economic health and vitality of the greater Cincinnati area,” he said.
Kearney says the chamber is working to add co-working space to the new headquarters so entrepreneurs can get their businesses off the ground.
Until then, the new meeting spaces will be used by chamber staff to meet with business owners, and by business owners for their own projects.
Kearney encourages anyone with ideas to reach out to the chamber for advice, training and resources.
“Come by and talk to us, and meet with us and share their ideas,” he said. “We’ve got an exciting group of people that work here. We’re very energized, we want to help.”