CINCINNATI — Community organizations and leaders are working to raise thousands of dollars needed to help save minority-owned businesses in the Tri-State area hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As a general rule, minority-owned businesses tend to be smaller and have thinner capitalization," said Eric Kearney, president and CEO of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce.
He said, because of this, these businesses need extra support to survive an unprecedented economic and health emergency like the one brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help alleviate this, the Chamber is teaming up with Mortar and other groups to raise money for small businesses struggling to stay afloat.
"I remember the very first day they decided to do the shutdown, we got multiple emails and phone calls and, literally, almost $4,000 worth of business canceled in one day," said Crystal Render, owner of Magnificent Morsels Catering. "So it was very real, very quick."
Render runs her catering service out of Findlay Kitchen in Over-the-Rhine. She opened the business in December 2018 after graduating from Mortar, a business accelerator program. Mortar is working to help its graduates during the pandemic, and managed to secure Magnificent Morsels a $1,000 grant.
"This whole effort is a lot of different groups coming together for the benefit of the small business community in Cincinnati," said Kearney.
Render said businesses are desperate for the extra help, but she's also working to adapt her business with new ideas, like online cooking courses, meal prep and meal delivery services to try and get back some business until catering services can serve events again.
"We're going to kind of pivot until things get to a much more stable point," she said. "And it won't be easy, but we will reach out and we will maintain our customer base. We plan to come back 10 times stronger."
The organizations hope to raise at least $100,000 to help minority-owned businesses in the Tri-State region.