LOUISVILLE, Ky — A Kentucky nonprofit wants to wants to help minority-owned construction businesses grow and flourish in Louisville’s west end, and around the state. They are doing it by connecting people to free and useful resources to help foster growth and opportunities. 

What You Need To Know

  • Dennis Lawrence owns Tilly Community Development

  • The Plan Room is a business development program of OneWest, Inc.

  • Lawrence said he wants to revitalize communities that are in need

  • The Plan Room's services and resources are free of charge


Dennis Lawrence always wanted to work in construction, but he says he never thought he’d actually be able to do it.

He said it wasn’t easy to find resources to help him. But, that passion within him burns bright.

“We make affordable housing for all. We just want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to live in something that's something nice and that looks good,” said Lawrence.

So, in Jan. of this year, he created his business, Tilly Community Development. It’s a restoration, house remodeling, landscaping and construction business in Louisville. He named it after his mother who passed away from cancer about 4 years ago. Lawrence said she always wanted to help people. 

“One thing I can say that she taught me is to be kind to others and to be loving to others and to always respect others,” Lawrence explained to Spectrum News 1.

Lawrence said he wants to revitalize communities that are in need. He’s always learning and not only wants to grow, but help others too.

So, he got ready to go somewhere special. It was a place dedicated to helping small minority-owned businesses succeed and grow.

“It’s very exciting! Words can’t explain." Lawrence explained. "That means it’s time. That means more things are going to happen now, for the community abroad.”

He traveled to the Portland Library in Louisville’s west end for a helpful meeting. The meeting is put on by a program called The Plan Room. In partnership with the nonprofit One West, this is a free business accelerator for minority-owned construction businesses. It’s designed to assist existing business owners who need some help to reach even more success. Participants learn a lot, like networking, mentoring, and business development. 

“Many of our classes are focused on capacity building. Making sure our businesses have really good core of administrative strength and maintain and sustain their business. Many of our contractors are looking for bid and estimate opportunities and really assisting them on bidding and estimating for new businesses new opportunities and landing new projects," explained Donovan Taylor, The Plan Room Manager.

There are many goals, including increasing diversity and participation in local and regional construction. 

“It’s so important for our business community to help them grow. There has been, definitely in the construction industry, there has been a history of discrimination and barriers for our Black and minority contractors. And begin to strategically work on eliminating those barriers and open up opportunities for our Black and minority contractors is very essential.” Taylor said.

Lawrence said he learned a lot from the meeting and he’s glad he went. He wants to pass this business on to his children one day and show them that you can be successful if you put your mind to it. He wants to inspire people.

“I want to pass on a blueprint for all those who feel like they can’t do this, and show them that the opportunity is here for them to do this.” Lawrence explained.

Lawrence said if people have the direction to do it, then the sky is the limit and they can do anything they set their mind too. 

To learn more about The Plan Room and resources offered, you can call 502.384.0490 or visit their website.