Heritage Hill Black Empowerment Grant 2023

Program/Project Details

Describe the work you’re looking to have funded: what is it, and what community opportunity or issue does it address? Your response should explain the work you do in the focus area(s) selected, including any special fund focus areas.

The work we are seeking to have funded is the establishment and operation of the Heritage Hill Academy, a joint initiative between Heritage Hill and The STAR Chapter Foundation (TSCF). This academy aims to empower young Black creators and plant the seed for aspiring entrepreneurs by providing them with the resources, training, and support they need to launch their own businesses or learn new skills that can lead to wealth building.

The community opportunity we are addressing is the lack of accessible resources and training for young Black creators and entrepreneurs in the Roselawn area. Despite the abundance of talent and creativity in our community, many individuals lack the necessary resources, knowledge, and support to transform their ideas into successful businesses. This gap not only hinders individual growth but also limits economic development within the community.

Our academy will focus on four key areas:

Development of an Inclusive Makerspace: We aim to transform our existing spaces into a vibrant maker spacess where creators can bring their ideas to life. This space will be equipped with technology and resources for ideation, prototyping, and product development.

Comprehensive Workshops and Training: We will offer workshops and training sessions covering various aspects of entrepreneurship, from business management and marketing strategy to e-commerce setup and operation.

Creation of a Cooperative Retail Platform: We plan to establish a cooperative retail platform where our members can sell and market their products, providing them with a ready-to-support market and valuable business experience.

Cultivation of an Entrepreneurial Network: We aim to foster a supportive, entrepreneurial network within our maker space, encouraging collaboration, knowledge sharing, and mutual support among our members.

By addressing these focus areas, we aim to empower our community members, stimulate local economic growth, and foster a culture of entrepreneurship within the Roselawn community.

2. Who benefits from your work? Please describe your target population including any specific neighborhoods or regions.

****The primary beneficiaries of our work are young Black creators and entrepreneurs, specifically within the Roselawn community and immediate surrounding areas. Our target population is twofold:

Young Students: We aim to engage students aged 12 to 17 from Cincinnati Public Schools and surrounding areas. Our goal is to expose these students to entrepreneurship and various creative skills at an early age, providing them with a strong foundation for future career paths. The students will primarily come from various neighborhoods but will conduct most of their work at our facilities in the Roselawn/Bond Hill area.

Young Adult Entrepreneurs: We also aim to support young adult entrepreneurs who have completed the first portion of the academy as a student and decide to fully engage in the entrepreneurial journey. This audience will go deeper into the aspects of running a business, receive additional support for their brand, including but not limited to capital investment, and also begin discussions on how their business can operate as a worker-owned cooperative.

By targeting these two groups, we aim to foster a culture of entrepreneurship that can both ignite and incubate the entrepreneurial spirit or knowledge to new skills and contributes to the overall economic development of the Roselawn community.

3. Which option best describes the work you’re looking to have funded?

Existing Work with a New Twist

4. What would success look like for this work in 12 months and how will you measure it? What do you hope are the short-term and long-term impacts of your work? If this is existing work, share previous successes.

Success for this initiative in 12 months would be marked by the following key outcomes:

Program Completion: Successfully conducting a 10-week session for local students and creating a space for those interested to continue developing their brand after these 10 weeks. These sessions would encompass classroom learning, creative ideation, business basics, and hands-on production training.

Brand Development and Sales: We will assist our participants in developing their own brands, launching their websites, and implementing effective communication strategies. Success would be measured by the number of items sold by these new brands, growth in website traffic, and increased social media following.

Retail Integration: Successful integration of the products developed by our participants into our existing retail space after the completion of their 10-week cycle would be another measure of success.

Cooperative Business Formation: A significant milestone would be witnessing at least one company make the decision to transition into a worker-owned cooperative within the first year.

In the short term, we hope to see an increase in entrepreneurial activity within the Roselawn community, with more individuals and businesses creating and selling their own products. We also aim to foster a culture of entrepreneurship among the youth we work with.

In the long term, we hope that our work will contribute to economic growth within the community, with more successful Black-owned businesses and a culture of entrepreneurship. We also hope that the youth we work with will go on to pursue careers in entrepreneurship or related fields, using the skills and knowledge they gained through our program.

As for previous successes, Heritage Hill has a track record of supporting Black creators and entrepreneurs. We have helped launch and support five brands to date, which have begun to produce apparel and grow their following with the help and exposure from Heritage Hill. This also includes individuals who have taken the entrepreneurship skills they've gained to go outside of producing things to be a part of the ecosystem for our brand. This includes consulting and logistics, for example. These past successes provide a strong foundation for the proposed initiative.

The STAR Chapter Foundation has a proven track record of success when it comes to identifying and engaging with local students. Through the Rising Stars Scholarship program, helping high school seniors with stellar academic performance and a commitment to community service. Through internal programming and external fundraising efforts, TSCF has awarded over $250,000 to college-bound students from the greater Cincinnati area. TSCF's investments have touched the lives of countless local students over the years. Partnering with both local and national organizations, TSCF has identified entrepreneurship and economic impact as its next step.

5. What would this funding allow you to do?

This funding would allow us to:

Develop a comprehensive curriculum for our workshops, which will teach participants about brand development, production techniques, and online retailing. This curriculum will be developed during the planning and preparation phase.

Provide the necessary technological resources for participants to engage in active learning and execute many of the things covered in workshops on their own. This will include audio-visual installations and laptop computers for each participant loaded with the necessary software licenses.

Recruit and support participants for two rounds of workshops. The first round will take place from April to June, and the second round will take place from August to October. The funding will cover the costs of running these workshops, including materials, facilitator fees, and any necessary equipment or software.

Set up an online platform for participants to sell their products or services. This platform will be set up during the planning and preparation phase and will be maintained throughout the year.

Conduct evaluation and improvement activities after each round of workshops. This includes gathering and analyzing feedback from participants, assessing the effectiveness of the workshops, and making any necessary adjustments to the program.

Support participants' businesses during significant dates or seasons, such as Juneteenth and the holiday shopping season. This could include running special events or promotions, providing additional marketing support, or offering additional training or resources.

By providing the necessary resources and support, this funding would enable us to empower aspiring entrepreneurs in our community, foster a culture of cooperative economics, and contribute to economic growth and resilience in the Roselawn area.

6. Please provide a simple budget for this work. If you have other funds, include those in your budget and clearly indicate uses for these BEW funds. Don’t forget to include any staffing, space, or material costs. We have provided an optional template you can use for this budget. (Provide attachments as necessary in the Program/Project Attachments section)



7. Other than this funding you are requesting, what resources (funds, people, or otherwise) do you have to carry out this work? List any partners.

Heritage Hill: As the primary venue for our workshops, Heritage Hill provides both the physical space and the manufacturing equipment necessary for our program. Their experience in entrepreneurship and cooperative economics is invaluable to our mission.

The STAR Chapter Foundation: TSCF brings a facility to be used for classroom sessions as well as expertise in student-based mentoring and programming, as well as an existing support network for young people in the Roselawn area. This is based on current programming such as the STEM Program, Bowling Program and Rising STARs Scholarship Program.

Esteem Wealth Partners: As a sponsor of The STAR Chapter Foundation, Esteem Wealth Partners can provide expert-led financial literacy conversations and workshops. Their expertise in wealth management and financial planning can be invaluable for participants learning about business management and financial sustainability.

Cincinnati Police Department: As a partner of the Rising STARs Bowling Program, the Cincinnati Police Department will provide community connections and an expanded network.

Midwest Regional AllState Insurance: As a sponsor of the Rising STARs Scholarship Banquet, Midwest Regional AllState Insurance can provide insights into insurance needs for small businesses and entrepreneurs. This can be particularly useful for participants learning about risk management in business.

Bob Shropshire & Sons Driving School: An existing sponsor and a consistent source of referrals for new students, Bob Shropshire & Sons Driving School can offer an additional, expanded network of local students to potentially participate in this program.

Coop Cincy: As a partner with Heritage Hill, Coop Cincy can provide insights and guidance on cooperative economics and how to establish and run a cooperative business. Their expertise can be particularly beneficial for the cooperative retail platform aspect of the program.

Did You Know Publishing, Inc.: This partner specializes in promoting cultural competence and 21st-century thinking. They will provide customized lesson plans and curriculum designs to support our program, as well as their Woven Traditions® line of products for business-specific training sessions.

Alchemist Wealth: This partner will provide financial literacy and wealth-building education to our participants.

Providom: A non-profit organization that provides financial tools, practices, and positive psychology to empower individuals and young companies to attain financial health and freedom. They will contribute to our program by promoting healthy relationships with money and approaching financial literacy with a new, positive mindset.

Volunteer Staff: Our program will be supported by a team of dedicated volunteers who will assist with the execution of the workshops and provide mentorship to our participants.

8. What other resources, if any, would you need for the work to be successful that you do not currently have?

For this initiative to be successful, we would need the following resources that we currently do not have:

Expanded Network of Mentors and Industry Experts: While we have a strong network of mentors and experts, we would benefit from expanding this network to include more individuals with diverse experiences and expertise in various aspects of entrepreneurship and business. This could include successful entrepreneurs, business coaches, marketing experts, and individuals with experience in cooperative business models.

Additional Training Materials: We would need more comprehensive training materials and resources to provide a robust and well-rounded entrepreneurship education. This could include textbooks, online courses, software, and other educational resources.

Marketing and Outreach Resources: To attract more participants to our program and to promote the products developed by our members, we would need resources for marketing and outreach. This could include funds for advertising, social media promotion, event hosting, and other marketing activities.

Legal and Financial Advisory Services: As we guide our participants in setting up their businesses, we would need access to legal and financial advisory services. This could include legal advice on setting up a business, intellectual property rights, contracts, and other legal aspects of running a business. Similarly, financial advisory services could help our participants with budgeting, financial planning, tax planning, and other financial aspects of running a business.

Partnerships with Local Retailers and Online Platforms: To provide a platform for our members to sell their products, we would need to establish partnerships with local retailers and online platforms. These partnerships would provide our members with more opportunities to reach customers and grow their businesses.

9. If this work were to receive funding, share with us a timeline of what you would do over the next 12 months. (Provide attachments as necessary in the Program/Project Attachments section)

September - November 2023: Planning and Preparation Phase

  • Week 1-2: Hiring and onboarding of Program Coordinator

  • Week 3-4: Development of curriculum and workshop plans

  • Week 5-6: Recruitment of participants through social media advertising and community outreach events

  • Week 7-8: Setting up the online platform for course materials and communication

  • Week 9-12: Preparing the physical space, including installation and testing of A/V equipment in classrooms

December 2023 - February 2024: First Round of Workshops

  • Week 1-10: Execution of the first round of workshops, including facilitation and participant support. These workshops will cover topics such as brand development, product design, manufacturing processes, and business basics.

  • Late February: Showcase event for participants to present their products or services

March 2024: Break and Evaluation Period

  • Week 1-2: Break for participants and staff

  • Week 3-4: Evaluation of the first round of workshops, including gathering and analyzing participant feedback and outcomes

April - June 2024: Second Round of Workshops

  • Week 1-10: Execution of the second round of workshops, with adjustments made based on feedback from the first round. These workshops will continue to cover topics such as brand development, product design, manufacturing processes, and business basics, but with a greater focus on areas identified as needing improvement or further exploration.

  • Late June: Showcase event for participants to present their new or improved products

July - August 2024: Final Evaluation Period and Preparation for the Next Year

  • Week 1-2: Evaluation of the second round of workshops, including gathering and analyzing participant feedback and outcomes

  • Week 3-4: Making plans for the following year, including potential adjustments to the curriculum, recruitment strategies, and workshop format

  • Week 5-8: Potential summer-themed events or promotions to support the participants' businesses, such as a summer market or online sales event.

This schedule provides an outline of major activities and phases for the one-year grant period. Be prepared to adjust this schedule as needed based on various factors like participant feedback, staff availability, and other logistical considerations.

10. Sometimes the work is best understood by seeing it. Please provide any links to any additional websites and/or social media or content that might better help the decision-makers understand what you do. Don’t have any links to share? No worries! www.heritagehill.co -- Heritage Hill Coop

www.tscfnd. - The STAR Chapter Foundation

Resources https://atlanta.capitalbnews.org/employee-ownership-racial-wealth-gap/ -- Article on the impact of employee ownership and it's ability to help close the racial wealth gap


https://project-equity.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/MH_BEO_April-2023_final_web.pdf Program/Project Leadership

Who are the leaders of this work/your organization or group? Please provide their first and last names, separating each name by commas.

Marcus Bethay: Marcus Bethay, a member of the Star Chapter and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, brings a wealth of experience in marketing and brand development to this project. With an MBA from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, Marcus has a proven track record of identifying business opportunities and building relationships with stakeholders. His expertise in communicating objectives and leading teams toward common goals will be critical in the development and execution of our entrepreneurship program. Marcus has served as chair or vice chair of the Rising STARs Scholarship Program for the last 6 years which makes him uniquely qualified to understand how to connect with the networks related to high school students and also to expand the existing opportunities available to those participating in the various programs today.

Brandon Z. Hoff: As the founder of Heritage Hill, Brandon Z. Hoff has demonstrated a commitment to social justice and the development of social enterprises. His decision to convert his successful apparel brand into a worker-owned cooperative reflects his belief in the power of cooperative economics and community banking. Brandon's blend of business acumen and social consciousness, along with his proven leadership abilities, make him a key figure in this project. His experience in scaling businesses and driving change will be instrumental in achieving the project's goals.

12. What motivates you (and your team, if applicable) to do this work? How have you/your team been impacted by the opportunity/issue area(s) your work addresses?

Our motivation stems from a deep-rooted passion for community empowerment and economic development. We believe in the power of entrepreneurship and cooperative economics as a means to uplift communities, particularly those that have been historically marginalized and underserved.

Both teams at Heritage Hill and The STAR Chapter Foundation are not just observers of the issues we aim to address; we are members of the community and have experienced firsthand the challenges that come with limited access to entrepreneurial resources and opportunities. Many of us have navigated the complex journey of starting and running a business, and we understand the barriers that aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, face.

We are also motivated by the success stories we've seen and helped to create. We've witnessed the transformative power of entrepreneurship in our community, from creating jobs to fostering a sense of pride and ownership. These successes fuel our commitment to this work.

Furthermore, we are inspired by the potential of the youth in our community. We believe that by exposing them to entrepreneurship and providing them with the necessary skills and resources, we can open up new pathways for their future and contribute to the long-term economic health of our community.

In essence, our motivation is deeply personal and rooted in our shared experiences and aspirations for our community. We are committed to this work because we believe in the potential of our community and the transformative power of entrepreneurship and cooperative economics.

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