For Immediate Release
Public Relations Manager
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
Chamber’s MBA Announces First GrowthBridge Loan to Former Bengal’s Construction Company
Funds will help Sharonville business hire more workers and pursue Ohio bridge projects, $1.8M raised by 29 investors
CINCINNATI—July 29, 2014 —The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) today announced that K-COR, a specialty subcontractor located in Sharonville, will be the first regional business to obtain a loan from the L. Ross Love GrowthBridge Fund. The MBA is the Chamber’s hallmark economic-development initiative focused on growing sizeable minority firms.
The fund provides flexible debt capital to finance growth projects of established, highly-competitive, African-American and Hispanic-owned firms in the region. The GrowthBridge Fund was the first of its kind in the country when it was announced in June of 2013
The money loaned to Walker will be paid back by 2019. The average loan size from the Fund is $175,000. It is anticipated that three to four loans will be made per year from the fund.
K-COR joined the MBA as a Portfolio Company last month, and specializes in the installation of reinforcing steel, post-tensioning cables and mesh for hotels, convention centers, hospitals, parking garages, waste treatment plants, sports stadiums and other commercial projects. Led by former Cincinnati Bengals Linebacker Kevin Walker (1988-1992) as President & CEO, the company features skilled project managers, field superintendents and qualified tradesmen with work with the highest degree of safety and quality.
K-COR will use the funding to pursue bridge work in the state of Ohio, where more than 2,743 bridges out of the states 27,963 bridges (1 in 10) have been ruled structurally deficient according to a study by Transportation For America, with an average age of 42.6 years. The loan will enable K-COR to create up to six new jobs.
The fund was named in memory of media owner L. Ross Love. The entrepreneur, philanthropist, former Procter & Gamble executive and founder of Blue Chip Broadcasting was dedicated to minority entrepreneurship. During his career, Love created Blue Chip Enterprises; a company that helped African Americans start their own businesses. The fund is managed by the MBA in concert with Legacy Investment Funds. An independent loan committee will review and approve all proposed loans.
“I’m honored to be the recipient of the first of these loans, and I intend to reward their faith in me and my business,” said Walker. “Ross Love was a man who strongly believed in our minority business community, and I know he would be proud of our vision for future growth at K-COR and throughout the region,” he added.
Since being announced in June 2013, the fund has raised $1.8M from 29 investors representing both corporations and private commitments. Among the 29 investors are the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which made a $500,000 investment, and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, which made a $150,000 investment. For a complete list of institutional investors, details on how to apply for a loan, and additional information on the GrowthBridge Fund, visit www.growthbridgefund.com
“K-COR was a perfect fit for this first loan because they’re a financially established company pursuing growth in a very in-demand industry, I have no doubts about their success,” said Crystal German, vice president of the MBA and economic inclusion at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “I also think that Ross would appreciate Kevin’s commitment to our community after his playing days with the Bengals came to end,” she added.
Since its inception in 2003, the MBA has created more than 1,800 jobs in Cincinnati. The success of the Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator has served as a catalyst across the country including in Charlotte, Lexington, Dayton and Greenville, where MBAs have since been launched.
About the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber:
Celebrating our 175th anniversary in 2014, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber is the nation's fifth largest chamber, representing the interests of more than 5,000 member businesses. Its mission is to capture Cincinnati USA as one of the world's favorite American business centers. The chamber serves its membership and the Cincinnati USA community through economic development, government advocacy, festivals and events, regional vision and collaboration, money-saving benefit programs, leadership and networking opportunities and educational programs. For more information, visit CincinnatiChamber.com, Facebook.com/CincinnatiChamber, and Twitter.com/CincyChamber.