About Us

How it all started…

In the summer of 2008, efforts were made to improve communications & enhance collaboration between minority businesses in Stark County, Ohio & the Ohio Department of Development.

After several planning meetings, a Minority Business Conference was held in Canton, Ohio to address human resources and finance-related topics for minority business owners.

Following the great success of this conference, it was agreed that a permanent organization should be established to act in the best interests of Stark County minority business owners.  Thus, the Stark County Minority Business Association (SCMBA) was born!

What we do…

  • Help close the racial wealth gap in Stark County
  • Encourage major corporations and businesses to actively partner with minority businesses in Stark County through contract opportunities, mentorships and more
  • Help to strengthen the economy in Stark County
  • Foster job creation
  • Cultivate the youth to become capable entrepreneurs

How We Help…

Supporting these businesses means providing them with resources that include technical and professional assistance, access to capital, and connection to business opportunities through our organization. We also implement programs for minority-owned businesses and the youth:

ERA [Expanding Resources for All]:
Approximately 25 businesses are selected to learn business fundamentals
through workshops, mentorships, and grant funding that can be used for their businesses.
This program is designed to aid minority businesses located in Stark County, Ohio.

YEP [Young Entrepreneurs Program]:
A free entrepreneurship program for middle schoolers in under-resourced communities. 12 students received entrepreneurship training from influential business leaders in Stark County. Students created their own businesses and participated in a pitch competition. Each student received a monetary reward to apply to their education, a free laptop, and 100 shares of Hall of Fame Village stock that was gifted by the sponsors of this program.

Lunch & Learn:
One of our most beneficial programs is our Lunch & Lunch series where we invite accredited speakers to share their experiences on special topics of great value to our members. Through the Lunch & Learn Series, we are able to provide opportunities not just to network and educate, but also to elevate our members. Each event features a catered meal, a community resource round table, and a keynote speaker.

300+

Members

SCMBA IMPACTS
MINORITY COMMUNITIES

In Stark County, there is a strong need for minority-owned businesses to thrive in our community. Big companies have a history of oppressing small businesses and putting a heavy burden on low-income communities, including Black communities and Black-owned businesses. Diversity builds economic vitality, uplifts communities, and promotes productivity and resilience. For a growing economy, holistic sustainability is impossible without the inclusion of all.

300+

Businesses

37% membership growth in the past year!

59%

Women-owned Businesses

6 out of 10 SCMBA businesses are run by women!

Innovative Ideas for an Innovative Future!

Become a Member!

Our team

We are ready to serve you!

Leonard Stevens

Leonard Stevens

CEO

Amilah Johnson-Williams

Amilah Johnson-Williams

Office Manager

Elise Watkins

Elise Watkins

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Lydia Lee

Lydia Lee

Program Director

Lily Mack

Lily Mack

Engagement & Outreach Coordinator

◾️Board Officers

Mandwel Patterson, President | Invictus Capital Management Co.

Steve Perry, Vice President | Former CEO, Pro Football Hall of Fame

Will Dent, Secretary | CEO, The ABCD, Inc.

Darlene Knott, Treasurer | Chief Financial Officer, The ABCD, Inc.

◾️Board of Directors

Ken Hill | Integrity Accounting

Raymont Johnson | Alliance Family Empowerment Ministries

Janelle M. Lee | Director of Client Engagement, MAGNET

George Lemon | Former President, Technical Products Group

Steven Meeks | COO, Greater Canton Chamber of Commerce

Steve Schillig | Kent State Stark Development Center | Small Business Development Center

Sandy K. Upperman | Community President, Greater Canton | Regional Marketing & Communications Manager, The Huntington National Bank

Diane Robinson | President & CEO, Greater Stark County Urban League

Wanda Young | Minority Contractors Assistance Program (MCAP)

David L. Reliford, President | Cornerstone Companies

Tiffany Edwards, CFRE | Chief Strategy Officer, The State of Ohio Collective

Dorian Chenault | Charter Communications