March 15, 2021
Columbus Bartholomew NAACP Announces Program to Support Black-Owned Businesses
COLUMBUS, INDIANA--The Columbus Bartholomew NAACP Branch, in collaboration with Cummins Inc., First Financial Bank and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, announces the Bartholomew County Targeted Investment in Minority Entrepreneurs (TIME) program, designed to support Black-owned businesses.
The program will provide expansive resources for Black business owners including personal development opportunities, business development coaching, and financial resources through grants, microloans, and forgivable loans.
After a brief application process through the Columbus Bartholomew NAACP Branch, participants entering the program will undergo a diagnostic business assessment conducted by volunteer mentors from the SCORE program to identify and address immediate financial needs. Once urgent financial needs have been addressed, a thorough business and personal development plan will be developed to address the specific needs of the business owner.
Participants will work closely with a TIME program navigator to engage with resources in the community to support the development of their business. In addition to ongoing support from the SCORE program, resources may include engagement with:
● Indiana Small Business Development Corporation to provide business coaching
● Velocities for early-stage funding, and other tools to help startups accelerate innovation-driven enterprises
● Indiana Procurement Technical Assistance Program to identify and win government contracts and the attainment of Minority and Women-Owned Business Certifications
● United Way of Bartholomew County Bridge program, a framework designed to help individuals achieve greater wealth and self-sufficiency through personal skill-building
Participants and their navigators will meet monthly with partners to celebrate successes, identify and address barriers, and ensure goals are met. The development plan will be refined over time. Additional funding may be available for businesses growing capacity.
The Columbus Area Chamber Foundation, Inc. will manage the $150,000 fund and administer the program. Participating businesses will be offered Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce memberships at a 50% discount.
“Under the pressure of a pandemic, the inequities facing Black-owned businesses have been magnified. The Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to work alongside Cummins Inc. and the NAACP Columbus/Bartholomew Branch to address those inequities. Through this new partnership, we will foster greater business success through funding, mentoring, training, and access to other resources,” said Cindy Frey, president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.
The TIME Program is funded by Cummins as part of its Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE) initiative launched last July as a step to help undo the systemic discrimination against the Black community in the U.S. One of the four identified areas the company wants to impact is creating empowerment by building Black wealth and income. Cummins will distribute through Community Development Financial Institutes (CDFI), $3 million to aid Black-owned businesses in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Memphis, Tennessee; Indianapolis, and Columbus, Indiana.
First Financial Bank provided $100,000 in microloan funding to the TIME Program.
Johnnie Edwards, president of NAACP Columbus/Bartholomew Branch said, “The NAACP is excited and gratified to lead the TIME program. We have a committed and robust team helping Black-owned businesses bridge the wealth gap in this community. Working together on this vision builds relationships and economic longevity for the Black community within Bartholomew County”.
Black business owners interested in learning more about the TIME Program should:
Visit www.naacp-3071.org or Contact Johnnie Edwards, President, NAACP Columbus/Bartholomew Branch
President, NAACP Columbus/Bartholomew Branch