African American Chamber seeks candidates for second Sudduth Society business development class

Program provides resources to help minority-led businesses to accelerate growth

CINCINNATI, OH  The Sudduth Society, named after influential Cincinnati African American hotelier Horace Sudduth, is a 90-day business hyper growth program. It helps existing businesses build capacity to become the region’s next set of high-growth, minority-led businesses. The first Sudduth Society class graduated in April of 2016.  The five graduating companies are experiencing a 30 percent growth in revenue as a result of their participation in the 90-day program.

“A key component of the Sudduth is our Procurement Advisory Council,” explains African American Chamber Vice President Anthony Barwick, the key initiator of the program.  Participants are directly connected with the procurement teams from some of the region’s more prominent firms. Last session included the State of Ohio, Premiere Health, Sinclair Community College, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, as well as the City of Cincinnati.

“Often small business owners are focused on our clients and carrying out the work, that we don’t take time to think strategically about our companies and its growth. The Sudduth program gave me an opportunity to make the time for strategic internal planning and improvement,” offers Calista Smith, CEO at CH Smith & Associates.

“Weekly sessions are led by subject matter experts allowing the entrepreneurs to gain a deeper understanding of their businesses and explore new tactics for growth,” explains Keith Schneider, President of SQUARE1 and co-author of the program. The program ends with a Pitch Day to the Procurement Advisory Council as well as local business and community leaders.

The African American Chamber is looking for a new group of up to 12 companies to participate in the second class.  Participants in the first class ranged from commercial dry cleaning services to cloud-based IT services. “We want growth-oriented, business to business or business to government companies that we can help overcome the obstacles impeding their growth,” says Barwick.

According to African American Chamber President Eric Kearney, “These are next level companies, already generating revenue.  These entrepreneurs are our next set of business and community leaders which the Sudduth and the many resources of the African American Chamber, can help fuel their growth.”

Additionally, the AAC recognizes that minority-led technology businesses are a growing sector in need of support and encourages these companies to apply. “Our goal is enhance the knowledge of these companies as well as connect them to the many resources in Greater Cincinnati supporting technology-oriented businesses,” adds Kearney. “We are also working to increase minority involvement from a mentoring and even investment perspective.”

“As a business owner, I am always looking for ways to enhance our culture and how we operate,” says Vincent Williams, partner at Orchestrate Technologies and a Sudduth Society graduate.  “The Sudduth program has provided leadership perspectives, business resources and guidance at a critical time for our business as we’ve continued to grow.”

Applications are due by 5PM on September 19th with decisions announced on September 23rd. Classes will begin the morning of October 5th. The program will conclude in December with the culminating Pitch Event in early January. There is a program fee that includes an African American Chamber membership. For more information and to apply please email or call the Chamber at 513-751-9900.




About The Sudduth Society

The program is named after Horace Sudduth, a successful Cincinnati African American businessman in the early 1900’s.   A strong supporter of progressive business thinking, Sudduth owned the Manse Hotel, a prominent area hotel known for hosting influential African American visitors such as Sammy Davis Jr. Sudduth also served as president of the Industrial Federal Savings & Loan Association, the National Negro Business League, and the New Orphanage for Colored Children of Cincinnati, among other civic organizations.


About the African American Chamber

The Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce is the largest African American Chambers in the State of Ohio.  We are as committed to inclusion as we are to business development; and as focused on advocacy as we are on building capacity.  We will leverage regional partnerships and collaboration with organizations and supplier diversity and inclusion experts to empower your business to succeed.



SQUARE1, Inc. is an entrepreneurial education and business accelerator services nonprofit providing resources to a broad range of individuals interested in turning ideas and research into business startups.  The mission is to work collaboratively to grow the ecosystem that supports their efforts.  This revolves around educational opportunities and the optimization of resources to better support individuals seeking to improve their personal situations or contribute to the growth of our community through new business creation.



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