The University of Toledo has been awarded a $355,000 two-year state grant to host the Minority Business Assistance Center Program, which assists small, minority and disadvantaged businesses by providing services such as technical support, professional consulting, access to capital and assistance obtaining contract opportunities.
The program, which will provide support for 17 counties in northwest Ohio, will be housed within UT’s Minority Business Development Center, one of only a few minority business-focused incubators across the country. The center supports a select group of minority businesses through services that include counseling, networking opportunities, access to office space and conference rooms, and hands-on student learning experiences.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the program will be held Tuesday, July 7, at 10 a.m. in the center, located in the Faculty Annex on Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation.
“We are excited about the confidence the state has in the University to award us this program, and about the support of our partners. Collaboration with the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce will allow for expansion on the prior success they have established with the program, and will allow for expansion of this opportunity to more students,” said Dr. Shanda Gore, UT chief diversity officer and associate vice president for equity, diversity and community engagement.
“With the combined partnerships and synergy of a single location, this creates a one-stop shop opportunity for minority-owned businesses for the five primary counties and 12 secondary counties in northwest Ohio,” Gore said.
The University demonstrated the strength of its collaboration and community support for the success of minority businesses in its application for the grant, Gore said, a team approach that will create an environment to help minority businesses flourish.
“This initiative is one more way The University of Toledo is leveraging its strengths in diversity and inclusion outward into the community and across the region,” said Jovita Thomas-Williams, vice president and chief human resources officer. “We’re incredibly excited to be working with community partners such as the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce to advance the region’s economic interests in this way.”
“The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce is proud to have been the host of the Minority Business Assistance Center since 2005. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of the increased synergy of housing the Minority Business Assistance Center at The University of Toledo’s Minority Business Development Center and incubator,” said Wendy R. Gramza, president of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to working closely with the University to continue nurturing minority entrepreneurship and economic development.”