New Chamber Of Commerce Bolsters African-American Entrepreneurs

Jan 26, 2018

Ten years after the 2008 recession, some small businesses in Central Ohio—especially establishments run by African-Americans—could still use a boost to become  successful. That’s one of the reasons why a new Central Ohio African-American Chamber of Commerce recently opened in northeast Columbus.

In Central Ohio, it's estimated that African-Americans own more than 20,000 businesses. But J. Averi Frost, the chamber's executive director, says many may not have enough financial resources to grow.  

“We’re excited to be providing some information in that area and then also making connections with specific banks that may be more community-oriented or friendly to the business community," Frost says. 

The new chamber of commerce recently opened at Destiny Center, 1561 Old Leonard Avenue, on Columbus' Northeast side. But before they can help, Frost says entrepreneurs need to ask themselves some questions about their business plan.

“What is a credit-worthy business, what is a good fundable business plan?" Frost says. "And if you don’t have that information, going in just cold, you’re more than likely going to fail."

Frost says the new chamber of commerce will also help African-American owned businesses get access to state and other government contracts and build partnerships with each other. 

Frost has worked with small businesses in the Columbus area for about seven years. She says her goal for the chamber of commerce this year is to get at least 100 African-American businesses as members. 

Other African-American chambers of commerce exist in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo. A Latino chamber of commerce is headquartered in Cleveland, while Columbus has an Asian chamber of commerce to provide support to Asian-American entrepreneurs.