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Black Developers Conference aims to increase minority involvement in city's economic development

Over 400 people attended
Black Developers meeting
Posted at 6:13 PM, Sep 08, 2023

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati’s first-ever Black Developers Conference welcomed over 400 people at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

City Councilmember Reggie Harris said this conference has been in the works for a year.

“It’s dedicated to identifying, expanding, and really providing resources to Black and minority developers,” Harris said.

Harris said the conference was open to a variety of people in development including, real estate, commercial and residential development, people who work for financial lending institutions, underwriters and appraisers.

“The first track is Real Estate 101: How to get started. The second track is dedicated to financing, both public financing and private financing and all of the creative ways to utilize capital. The third track is growing your business,” Harris said.

Several people in attendance spoke about how helpful the conference was. Vanessa Hunn works at NKU and does real estate on the side.

Hunn said she came to the conference to build her network and learn what resources are available.

“The conference has been amazing. There are a lot of experts here that are great resources. They are resources today. They will be ongoing resources for the attendees and they are a part of our network so it’s been going very well today,” Hunn said.

She added the connections she made will help her in the future.

“The people that we meet today will continue to be resources in terms of education, in terms of funding and partnerships,” she said.

Harris noted this is an important conference because it elevates Black and minority developers.

“[At city council] we hear, ‘Oh we can’t find people that can do the work.’ It turns out there are a lot of people in the region who have the skills, but we’re not all connected,” Harris said.

The first conference was free to remove any barriers people might have in attending.

“The ultimate goal of this conference is two-fold. One is for participants to leave with a roadmap and understanding it is possible to become a real estate professional. The second is to actually expand the number of Black and minority developers that are participating in economic development in our city,” Harris said.

The conference also helps connect Black and minority developers to big construction projects like the Brent Spence Bridge, Western Hills Viaduct, Bus Rapid Transit Routes and the Duke Energy and Convention Center.

“These projects are not only projects in and of themselves that provide jobs but these projects unlock development opportunities. We’re going to gain acreage of land from the Brent Spence Bridge, so something’s going to need to be built there and we’re going to need people to invest,” Harris said.

Harris says they plan to make this annual conference. He hopes the conference will expand next and they will see an increase in the number of Black and minority developers participating in the city's economic development.