CINCINNATI, Ohio — Innovative Labor and Cleaning Services is one of dozens of minority-owned businesses in Greater Cincinnati that have been struggling during this time. 

  • Many minority-owned businesses have been unable to secure funding from the PPP
  • The Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce joined other organizations to create an emergency assistance fund
  • Their goal is to raise $100,000 and within just a couple of days, they've already raised more than $30,000

The staffing and cleaning business has faced a couple of challenges right now simply because the CEO and president Troy Parker is an ex-felon.

“I’ve basically had to work these past five years without having a line of credit and other tools that other businesses normally have,” said Parker.

And because of his criminal history, he was disqualified from receiving funding from the paycheck protection program.

“That two and a half months worth of payroll coverage would have allowed me to have breathing room because right now many times it’s payroll and I might have part of that covered, but then I have to chase down funds to get it covered,” he said.

Receiving PPP funding has not only been an issue for Parker’s business, but for other businesses as well. The Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce President Eric Kearney says members who have applied have had challenges of their own. 

“We only had about 38 percent who received something and got a yes response,” said Kearney. A lot of people are still waiting to hear back from their bank and a lot of people are still getting day work together or other things that they were asked to do."

And that is why the chamber has recently teamed up with other area chambers of commerce and organizations to create the Minority Business Emergency Assistance Fund.  

Right now they are raising money through Their goal is to raise $100,000. Within just a couple of days, they have already raised over $35,000.

“Cincinnati is such a generous community and people are so willing to support worthy causes so that makes me feel good,” said Parker.

Once the $100,000 has been raised the money will be distributed to minority businesses through a lottery system. 

“We’re not going to pick the winners or who gets the grant. It will be through a lottery so everybody will have a fair shot at the money,” said Parker.

This isn’t the only organization in Ohio that is helping minority businesses right now. The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Business Growth Collaborative also recently donated $100,000 worth of grants to 20 minority-owned small businesses in Northeast Ohio. 

Also, The Presidents’ Council, an African American advocacy organization in Cleveland, has helped by providing CPAs, legal counselors, and strategic planners to businesses that needed them.

They also have a Cuyahoga County stabilization fund and have donated up to $75,000 to small businesses in need during this time.  But in order to keep funding going, executive director Erica Penick, says they need more support.

“We’re looking for funders to be able to say yes, the work that you’re doing is important and it’s exponentially important and magnified by this crisis that you exist and are able to continue to do the work that you do,” said Penick.

For more information on how you can help, visit The Presidents' Council website