Hello Friends of HCDC:
Welcome to the 36th HCDC Annual Meeting. Please let me start by saying “Thank you” to HCDC Board Chair Tim Blankenhorn and the HCDC Board of Directors for this special opportunity to be the 3rd President and CEO of HCDC, Inc.
HCDC is such a special organization that does so many wonderful things for the communities it serves. We get the opportunity to wake up every day and work in #StartUpCincy, in the communities of the Uptown Consortium, in Woodlawn and Lincoln Heights, on Mentor Avenue in Norwood, we get to engage with awesome capital groups like the Queen City Angels and CincyTech, to watch companies benefit from the SBA 504 Program, Office of Innovation and Creativity, and Morning Mentoring, to represent Hamilton County, and work with entrepreneurs and business people of all walks of life.
Almost 23 years ago, I answered an ad in the Cincinnati Enquirer to be a Microloan Officer for a company called Hamilton County Development Co., Inc. When I arrived for the interview, I didn’t even realize I was in one of the original 75 incubators in the United States. A year later, I was asked to be the HCBC Incubator Director. This company has been more than a place for me, it has been a home that has assisted me to be a better person, coach, teammate and leader.
I am honored and humbled to lead HCDC and to see it leverage its many assets. We have a license to lend dollars via the SBA 504 Program to companies throughout Ohio and Kentucky and a portion of Indiana. We have a long term relationship and contract to perform Economic Development in Hamilton County to help our communities and businesses prosper and be more competitive tomorrow than they are today. We own a 92,000 sf campus of buildings that houses a powerhouse of a business incubator that is on the forefront of business innovation in Greater Cincinnati. But these assets pale in comparison to what truly makes HCDC special and that is our knowledgeable, incredibly hard working, and customer focused team. The intellectual capital that our team brings to the communities and clients we serve is second to none. How do I know this? I’m am insider, and I’ve seen what this team has done for almost 23 years. Plus, I’m excited for our future.
So, if you are thinking about how HCDC can help you, or your company, or your community, or your clients, please invite us to the conversation. HCDC is open for business and looking to collaborate. We are currently in the process of updating our strategic plan, so if you have any thoughts, suggestions, or feedback on how to better HCDC, please feel free to connect with any of our team members and have that communication. Our overarching goal is to provide a positive impact for all of our clients, communities and stakeholders.
You heard Peg Moertl, our past CEO, talk about innovation. We think we’re good, but we also know that we have to keep innovating to be even better. Our 2 newest programs, the Office of Innovation and Creativity and our Opportunity Zone Program, are game changers for our community. And they are just getting started.
Another hot topic is inclusion. In 2018, our community partnership that we helped to create called the Cincinnati Minority Business Collaborative pulled together 60 minority led businesses and put the power of group mentoring, connections, and access to capital behind them involving our partners the Urban League, African American Chamber, Minority Business Accelerator, SCORE, GCMI, and others. This is the only known consortium in America that provides a continuum of assistance for minority businesses from pre-start / ideation to multi-million dollar businesses.
And what about entrepreneurship? It’s still the hottest economic development topic in America. And we are all over it. Our incubation program has 70 companies that generated economic impact of over $52 Million in 2018. That’s $28MM in capital accessed and $24 MM in revenue. That’s the highest economic impact for this program in our history. A great program attracts great companies and great companies get results like we’ve never seen before. How about our incubation client, Eccrine System’s latest news? They are looking to double their employment over the next 3 years from 50 to 100. They just hired 12 coops from UC for the Spring Semester. And I remember when they applied a little over 3 years ago with 3 employees. When Innovation and Entrepreneurship collide at HCDC Business Center, good things are bound to happen.
And finally access to capital. In 2018, we had a record breaking year – over $32 Million in SBA 504 Approvals. But do all of you know that our Lending Program is the backbone of HCDC? All our other programs in Economic Development and Entrepreneur Assistance rely in part on funding provided by our stakeholders, Hamilton County and the State of Ohio. But the 504 Program has the ability to be a win, win, win, for all of us. Here is how it works….
- It’s a win for our clients as they get the buildings that they need to grow their business with a fixed low interest rate and long term financing.
- It’s a win for communities because businesses that buy buildings plant roots in those communities and then create jobs that raise their tax base.
- It’s a win for Banks as they not only help local businesses and communities, but by doing SBA 504 loans with HCDC, the Banks are directly helping to build a better #StartUpCincy environment because every loan funded with HCDC generates cash that allows our economic development and entrepreneur assistance programs to expand their programming to benefit 100’s of innovative and potentially scalable businesses each year. We are not where we are today as an Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Assistance entity if it were not for our Banking Partners who have leveraged the SBA 504 Program for their clients throughout the years. Not sure you all know this, but I wanted to share this little secret of ours.
So, to all the bankers in the audience today, I challenge each of you to do a SBA 504 loan with HCDC in 2019. If that happened, we would have nearly 100 loans to fund that would create significant, impactful assistance for all of HCDC’s programming that helps entrepreneurs and communities that we serve. Just remember, it’s a win, win, win, for all of us!
So, as I conclude my remarks, I want all of you to know that I view this position with HCDC as a dream opportunity. I want to thank the HCDC team for its support and dedication as I enter my first month as HCDC’s President. I want to thank all the businesses, communities, and stakeholders that trust us to be their valued economic development partner. I want to thank both David Main and Peg Moertl for all they’ve done to make HCDC the economic powerhouse it is today. And thank you again to the HCDC Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.