AKRON, Ohio — A new program in Summit County is aiming to help some minority-owned businesses rebound from the coronavirus pandemic by providing loans and other services.
The Minority Contractor Capital Access Program (MCCAP) is a collaboration between Summit County's Development Finance Authority, the city of Akron, and the Western Reserve Community Fund.
The county contributed $1.25 million to the program and an additional $200,000 revolving line of credit to fund loan programs. The city of Akron pitched in $525,000. Some of the money is coming from COVID-19 relief funds receive from the federal government.
MCCAP is designed to support minority contractors and provide opportunities for long-term success and stability. Eligible contracting businesses include general construction, road construction/concrete, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and engineering.
To be eligible for the program, a business must maintain its principal location in Summit County and be at least 51% owned by one or more individuals who identify as a racial or cultural minority, woman, LGBTQ, veteran or disabled.
Tommy and Angela Brown own Mason Construction and Concrete in Akron.
Tommy Brown, who just finished a driveway and walkway project in Wadsworth, said it's been hard to seal the deal on other projects during this trying time.
"Phones are starting to ring a little bit right now, but people still are kind of slow about calling and deciding on which direction they want to go," he said.
Robert DeJournett, the vice president of opportunity and inclusion at the Greater Akron Chamber, said the program will award loans and also provide wraparound financial and educational services to boost businesses.
"A lot of research showed that minority businesses have been historically an afterthought when establishing programs like MCCAP," DeJournett said. "This is really to help level the playing field so that all businesses could be able to compete in an equitable way."
Angela Brown said she plans to apply and believes the program will help her family get bonded, which she said is critical when it comes to applying for state concrete jobs.
"They want you to be bonded, so you have to be insured or bonded for a certain amount of money," she said.
Council and board approvals are expected by June 1 with a goal of having the program stood up and accepting applications a short time later.
The Brown family said they're excited about the prospects of growing their 6-year-old business.
"We want to be a pillar in the community. We want to give back to the community. We want to be able to employ other people," Brown said.
For more information about MCCAP and complete registration criteria, businesses can contact Rachel Bridenstine at 330-762-4776 or through her email.