2023-2024 ERA Program Cohort Announced

by | Feb 6, 2024

SCMBA is proud to announce the lineup for its 2023-2024 Expanding Resources for All (ERA) program cohort. ERA is in its third year and has helped to enhance over 60 minority businesses. This initiative aims to foster the growth of minority, women, and veteran-friendly businesses by providing comprehensive business training, mentorship opportunities, and financial support.

Eighteen businesses have been chosen to participate in this year’s program. Each participant will benefit from educational workshops taught by experts in their fields, one-on-one mentorship from industry leaders, and a $4,000 grant to fuel their business growth.

The ERA program kicked off on February 1, 2024, with a mentor/mentee mixer. There are ten (10) weeks of workshops and an opportunity to meet eight (8) times with a mentor. Workshops will commence virtually on Tuesday, February 6. Workshops will be covering essential topics such as business growth and strategy, marketing, brand identity, bookkeeping and payroll, banking relationships, effective planning, and business pitches.

One of the highlights of the program is the business pitch competition and graduation, scheduled for May 29, 2024, where participants will showcase their newfound skills and compete for recognition by investors and contractors.

To be considered for the ERA program, applicants had to meet the following criteria:

  • The business must be located in Canton, OH.
  • Must have been in operation for one (1) or more years.
  • Must be a for-profit entity.
  • Be current on all local Stark County/City of Canton taxes.
  • Provide three (3) years of revenue history and projections.
  • Provide proof of State of Ohio Business Registration.
  • Provide business EIN#.

The ERA program aims to create valuable connections between protégé businesses and their mentors. Through this mentorship, participants will enhance their understanding of business strategies, refine their presentation skills, and maximize their growth potential.

Congratulations to the following business owners selected for the 2023-2024 ERA cohort:

  • Tessa Bowman – Balloon Queen
  • Nakeya Burt – A & K Beauty LLC
  • Rawlyn Cook – Rocinate Consulting Systems
  • Lois Dunn – A Healthier Means
  • Tameka Ellington – First Generation Revolutionaries
  • Kayla Fitzgerald – Sweet Kollect Bundles LLC
  • Brian Flowers – Legacy Dumpsters
  • Terri Freeman – Smart Care Connections
  • Channing Hawkins – Zeal Energy Drink
  • Kima Johnson – A Blessing Within
  • Crystal McLendon – Pride & Joy Support Services
  • William Moore – Mor Promotions
  • Tabatha Nash – Tabby’s Tykes
  • Rashaud Polk – The Project Warehouse
  • Anthony Robinson – Raise Your Game
  • Crystal Smith – Stark Youth Technology Center Co.
  • Donnell Sneed – Nazir Grotto
  • John White – Whitehouse Ohio Works, LLC

“It is exciting to be able to help minority business owners who have decided to take a dream or an idea to the next level,” said Lydia Lee, SCMBA Program Director. “The fact that they trust the Stark County Minority Business Association to help them grow in knowledge, access to capital, and connections to excellent and professional mentors through Expanding Resources for All (ERA), is a testament to the success of this program.”

For more information about the ERA program contact Lydia Lee at lydial@starkminoritybusiness.org.

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