Huntington Bank and city of Cleveland to launch program aimed at helping small businesses

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb announced Wednesday the city is partnering with Huntington Bank to sink $500,000 into small businesses.

“Half of minority-owned businesses were decimated during this pandemic compared to 17% of their white counterparts,” Bibb said.

The program is called the Entrepreneurs in Residence program.

The goal of to connect minority business owners with resources to help them grow and succeed.

Eleven non-profit organizations that are based in Northeast Ohio will help connect business owners to those resources.

This program will target businesses on Cleveland’s Southeast side first.

“Although I’m a native son of the Southeast side, I think we all recognized this part of the city has not gotten its fair share of resources for way too long,” Bibb added.

“It’s hard to go into a traditional bank and request funding for that because they look at you as a small business.... so this program is really a game-changer,” said Andrea Willson, co-owner of Community Investment Deals.

Community Investment Deals brings affordable housing to some of Cleveland’s poorer neighborhoods.

Wilson and her husband will be receiving help from the program.

“My husband and I run the operation currently so It helps us with staffing, the program actually helps you build your financials, everything you need to be bankable,” she said.

Wilson encourages other businesses to take advantage of this program.

“There is help for you out there, don’t give up... so go out and build those connections within the community,” Wilson said.

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Tiarra Braddock

Tiarra Braddock

Tiarra Braddock joined 19 News in January of 2020. Before coming to Cleveland, Tiarra was a reporter at WJET 24 News in Erie, PA.