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Former banker tapped to grow minority firms here

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Posted at 10:09 AM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 11:08:47-05

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber has hired a new leader for its Minority Business Accelerator, the program designed to help grow sizeable minority-owned businesses in the region.

Darrin M. Redus, Sr., will be the new vice president of the Minority Business Accelerator, or MBA, starting Jan. 19.

"Darrin has earned a national reputation as a thought leader and practitioner in inclusion-based entrepreneurship and economic development," chamber president and CEO Jill Meyer said in a news release. "His national presence, experiences and network will be a huge asset to the MBA's ability to continue growing scalable, sustainable diverse businesses in our region."

Darrin M. Redus, Sr.

The MBA was created in 2003 as part of the community's response to the riots that tore through Cincinnati in 2001. The idea was that economic disparity was a root cause of the unrest that divided the community. The MBA was designed to help grow sizeable, black-owned companies that would, in turn, create more jobs for black residents. Hispanic-owned companies were added to the program later.

Redus, 49, is a former commercial banker in the Cleveland area who became involved in minority business development after helping minority business owners with their banking needs.

"I want to help build a best in class model that then informs how this work can take place nationally," Redus told WCPO. "For the next 10-year run, just put my head down and make this happen."

Redus is founder and former president and CEO of MainStreet Inclusion Advisors, LLC, a national advisory and entrepreneurial development organization. He also served as chief economic inclusion officer for JumpStart Inc., a nonprofit entrepreneurial development organization, and he's founder of Redus Small Business Advisors, a strategic planning and management assistance firm.

Redus has a master of business administration degree from Baldwin-Wallace College. He has three children — two in college and a freshman in high school.

As vice president of the MBA, he will lead a program that was serving 30 minority-owned companies by the end of 2014. Those companies had collective annual revenue of nearly $1 billion and employed more than 3,500 people.

To qualify to become part of the MBA's portfolio, companies must have: annual revenue of at least $1 million or more; a business plan or growth strategy that has strong potential for fast growth in two to five years; certification as a minority business enterprise; and a headquarters or large presence in the 15 counties that make up Greater Cincinnati.

The MBA also has 40 goal-setters — nonprofits and corporations that pledge to award contracts to local minority-owned firms. Those goal-setters spent more than $1 billion with local minority-owned companies in 2014.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. She has been writing about women- and minority-owned businesses in Greater Cincinnati for more than 17 years. To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.