Black-owned businesses show increasing positive impact on regional economy


An updated economic impact study looking at black-owned businesses in Southwest Ohio shows strong returns and room for growth. The UC Economics Center and Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) survey reports that black-owned businesses have an economic impact of more than $2.1 billion a year.

That number is up from $1.4 billion last year when the first study of its kind was completed.

The updated study shows that black-owned businesses in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties employ 5,914 people with revenues of more than $306 million. Those numbers are lower than last year, which included counties in northern Kentucky, according to David Mahon, Ph.d., executive director of the UC Economics Center.

The original study broke new ground because there were no readily available statistics on the number of black-owned businesses on the ground, the number of people they employed, and other salary data. The data collection process began by asking people to self-identify their companies and provide that data. More companies were surveyed this time, Mahon says – nearly 1,000 participated – likely accounting for some of the increase in the macroeconomic impact.

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“The most common industries were professional, scientific and technical services, healthcare and social assistance, lodging and food services, construction and retail,” Mahon says, noting that black-owned businesses earn approximately $6.7 million in Ohio income taxes and beyond generate $13.5 million in fiscal impact to the region and state.

“This type of study is crucial for those who have had doubts about the value of black-owned businesses, it should dispel them,” Mahon adds.

He says this is important information for people who may be considering opening a business in the Tri-States.

“If you are an entrepreneur and you think you want to start a business in a place that could potentially help your business grow, I think it shows that Southwest Ohio has the potential to be that place and it demonstrates also the critical role black-owned businesses play in Cincinnati’s future growth.”

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Chamber President and CEO Eric Kearney says the results are encouraging and valuable. He says this study provides additional geographic insights that can help businesses and lenders. Potential business owners can use the data to find seed capital, obtain credit, and other support by understanding existing markets and communities.

According to Kearney, this shows the importance of organizations like the AACC and others that provide training, technical guidance and other support to help new businesses succeed.

Aretha Furr is the owner of A-List Transportation and Cleaning, which recently celebrated its two year anniversary. She started the company after observing the difficulties her mother, a double amputee, had in securing safe, reliable and clean transportation.

“She kept going to dialysis and doctor’s appointments and often complained about the service she received at the given time. She complained about the communication, was forgotten, was picked up on time,” explains Furr.

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In two years, Furr says, she’s grown her startup from one person and one vehicle to eight employees and six vehicles providing day-to-day service.

Garri Davis owns two businesses that have grown during the pandemic despite the challenges that have hit the childcare industry hard. She owns the Water Lily Learning Center and the Garri Davis Agency.

“Over the past few years, we’ve had a lot of difficulties with staffing, funding (and) the supply chain, just like normal larger companies,” she says. “This economic impact study demonstrates that we have been resilient during COVID and that the resources available have helped us be sustainable and competitive in our industries.”

Eric Kearney is a board member of Cincinnati Public Radio.





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