At the peak of small business relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for business education and funding for the minority business community was brought to the forefront. Many minority-owned businesses were left out of federal aid due to the lack of structure and paperwork required by the rules of the SBA Relief Programs. As a result, the survival of these businesses have been threatened.
In Columbus, Ohio, Central Community House, in collaboration with Aventi Enterprises, leads the Academy of Community Entrepreneurs (ACE) to ensure these business owners are prepared for success from inception. The ACE program offers a series of educational programming for anyone who has ever considered starting or expanding a business in and around the central urban areas of Columbus. The purpose of the program is to help develop business acumen and effective business planning through training and assistance in low-income communities heavily populated by African Americans.
One of the students, JMarshanae Rush who is the founder of Naeknows, developed a business to provide coaching focused on enhancing family lifestyles. "When I first started, I obtained my LLC during quarantine and did not have a full plan on everything I needed to get started. The ACE program helped me identify all of those lingering questions. Who is my audience? How will I market my business? How will I get funding? What will my finances look like?" says Rush. She feels her greatest outcome of the program was networking and gaining confidence in her business idea.
"Prior to taking the class, I did not realize all that went into starting a business,” says Marion Gamble. “I thought I was doing something by registering my business name and getting an EIN. Truthfully, I was intimidated by the business plan process and didn't think my business was large enough for this kind of planning. The ACE program gave me the tools to create a plan, forecast sales, create a budget, as well as promote my business.”
Aventi Enterprises supports and develops small and minority owned businesses. Central Community House is a source of support and community home for children, families, and seniors living in the near east and near south areas of Columbus. If you would like to learn more about the ACE program, contact Central Community House at 614-252-3157.