Minority Business Emergency Assistance Fund

A nonprofit organization

$74,351 Raised by 141 Donors

74% complete

$100,000 Goal

"Expect the best and people will rise to the occasion." - James Kerr

We have found ourselves in a challenging and uncertain time.  Ohio's groundbreaking orders for social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19 have been praised nationwide, and rightly so.

However, this pandemic has created a critical moment for small business owners. Minority business owners tend to disproportionately lack the capital to weather financial disruptions, and face very real concerns around the futures of their businesses, their livelihoods, and their families.

This emergency assistance fund represents a partnership of several Cincinnati minority business support groups who want to work together and save our vibrant Black and minority business community.

Join us in our effort to come together and raise $100,000 in critical business assistance to help our minority small business community cover expenses, pay employees and weather COVID-19.

Thank you,

Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio

The Greater Cincinnati African-American Chamber of Commerce

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

The Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative (GCMI)


The Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce

Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA

The Cincinnati Minority Business Accelerator



If we do not act now, the coronavirus crisis will wipe out a generation of minority small businesses in the Cincinnati region.  Our region needs these businesses to survive.

Who is the fund for?

Vetted minority entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Cincinnati/NKY region who are in need of emergency assistance capital to remain solvent.  These businesses must commit to meeting with technical assistance providers to develop strategies, including introducing technology, to incorporate into their businesses.    

What are the eligibility guidelines?

1. African-American or minority-owned for-profit business (51%)

2. In business for 6 months or more

3. Business is located within Hamilton County

4. Business has 10 or fewer FTE employees

5. Business has revenues of $500,000 or less

6. Demonstration of need

7. Strategy for stability

8. In good standing with the State of Ohio

What is the fund for?

Local ecosystem technical support providers come together to raise flexible funding vehicles to help minority business owners in the Cincinnati region survive the economic crises caused by the coronavirus. This fund will be comprised of emergency grants to help businesses led by minority entrepreneurs that express hardship and agree to preconditions.

When will the grants be awarded?

Effectively immediately, local partners are working to begin deploying capital as soon as possible. 

 How much are the grants for?

We're looking to deploy grants of up to $5,000.

Who is managing the fund?

This fund represents an historic partnership between organizations that serve minority entrepreneurs and small businesses in Cincinnati.   Staff from the Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative (GCMI) will be responsible for managing the fund. 

What is the timeline?

• Raise initial $200,000 of funds from crowdfunding and institutional funders and open the application in Mid May

• First Round of Applications: May 20-May 31, or until we have received 250 applications, whichever comes first.

• Review applicant eligibility: June 1-June 15

• Select first round of grant recipients: Week of June 15

• Begin disbursing first round of grants: Week of June 23

• Continue raising funds throughout June

How can I get involved?

If you're a member of the media, a community partner and/or a potential funder, please send a note to Kristi Clement Williams at kristi@african-americanchamber.com.  

If you'd like to apply, please submit an application by clicking here.

Organization Information


Minority Business Emergency Assistance Fund

Employer id number (ein)