Black-owned businesses have a $1.4 billion economic impact on the Cincinnati economy every year, according to a new study released by the University of Cincinnati and the African American Chamber of Commerce. But it’s hard to say if that number is high, low or average compared to the country’s other metropolitan areas — Cincinnati is the first one to measure it.
Eric Kearney, who runs the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, wanted an exact number to guide his organization’s investing and advocacy into the future.
“There's a lot of talk about, ‘Oh, let’s help Black businesses,’” he said Friday. “‘’Oh, let’s throw some money at this, let’s do this,’ and there was no statistics, no data behind it. Now we have that data; we can use that data to make informed decisions.
“We can use that data as a benchmark. ‘So we're here, we want to grow to here.' How do we do it? How much money should we spend? What type of resources do we have to put behind it?”
He partnered with UC’s economics center to get it done, and UC spent 10 months conducting its study based on 2019 taxes.
The study found Black-owned businesses in the Cincinnati area — which includes the city, its suburbs and parts of neighboring states — employ 8,680 people, earn a combined $540 million and generate $6.2 million in sales tax every year.
The most-represented industries include professional, scientific and technical services; construction; health care; and retail.
It’s useful information for Kearney, he said. It would be more useful if other cities did the same thing so they could compare notes in the future.
“I cannot say, ‘How are we compared to Charlotte? How are we compared to Baltimore? How are we compared to Phoenix?’ because we are the first ones in the country to do it,” he said.
This story was reported in partnership with The Herald.