We got off to a fast start in 2013 with the opening of The Women’s Business Center of Ohio in January. The WBC, the only center of its kind funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration in Ohio, helps guide women through the challenges and joys of owning their own business. With access to office resources, as well as one-on-one business counseling and mentoring, the WBC acts as a one-stop shop for any woman interested in starting or expanding their own business. Just this past year alone, the WBC is responsible for:
- • 185 members
- • 18 new businesses created
- • 15 businesses expanded
- • 220 women attended training classes
- • 90 women received one-on-one counseling
- • $283, 475 in capital accessed by WBC members (over 25 women)
At ECDI, we strive to serve our community in many different ways. Some highlights throughout the year include:
- • Children’s Health Insurance Program Reenrollment Assistance: ECDI assisted 29 pregnant women with getting approved for Healthy Start Insurance, as well as enrolling 103 children into Healthy Start insurance programs.
- • Healthy Foods Initiatives: Partnering with The Mid Ohio Food Bank, ECDI conducted “train the trainer” classes for Homeport staff members at The Food Fort. Homeport staff were then able teach healthy, low-cost cooking techniques to low-income citizens in their communities.
- • Kickstart WidgetPitch & Retail Competition: Partnering with Columbus City Council Member A. Troy Miller, ECDI offered competing businesses the chance to pitch their products to a select panel of Columbus’ business experts. In the second phase of Kickstart, selected business finalists competed for a year’s worth of free rent at a retail storefront in the heart of downtown Columbus.
- • Development of Retail Incubation Supporting Entrepreneurs (RISE) Program: Through our new RISE program, business owners obtained training, as well as one-on-one technical assistance, in all areas related managing a successful retail operation. Taught by professional retail expert Daniel White, The RISE program’s inaugural training series graduated eight participants and will continue to serve retail-based business entrepreneurs throughout 2014 and beyond.
Not only was it a busy year at our Columbus office, but our expansion into the Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio markets was also a resounding success.
- • Established office and hired staff in Toledo, Ohio.
- • The Cleveland office opened The Cleveland Culinary Launch & Kitchen, an extension of ECDI’s popular food-based business incubator.
- • The Cleveland office helped fund over 40 businesses, deploying over $1.5 million to local, small business entrepreneurs in 2013 alone.
It’s hard to believe that ECDI will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2014. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve such a successful decade without the support of so many other people and organizations. Please stay tuned for our 10-year event later in 2014.
We look forward to continued growth and success through 2014 and beyond!