Cleveland Community Navigator & Entrepreneur Ecosystem
Systems-Level Change for Economically Disadvantaged Small and Micro-Businesses in Cleveland
The Cleveland Community Navigator & Entrepreneur Ecosystem represents Systems-Level Change for Economically Disadvantaged Small and Micro-Businesses in Cleveland. This pilot program is a viable, navigated pathway to thriving for underserved small and micro-businesses in overlooked neighborhoods in the City of Cleveland. With BIPOC businesses closing at twice the national average during COVID-19 and historic and ongoing disinvestment in Black and Brown neighborhoods, to enable success, we have taken an uncommon approach because the right business ecosystems can mitigate or negate the effects of structural obstacles to business building.
Our ecosystem combines a collaborative, grassroots, bottom-up approach with a navigator framework where Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. (BBC) serves as the “Hub” in partnership with seven (7) unexpected but necessary expert community partners as "Spokes" serving in areas where they have superior-performance to actualize this transformation: Friendly Inn Settlement House, East End Neighborhood House, Rid-All Green Partnership, Hispanic Business Center, Cleveland State University, Village Capital Corporation, and the United Church of Christ. We have designed a robust system with an intentional combination of Outreach & Engagement (OE), Entrepreneur Support (ES), Data & Communication (DC), Veterans Support (VS), Financial Support (FS), Language Support (LS), and Training & Technical Assistance (TTA) to be impactful in our work.
Need for the Community Navigator & Entrepreneur Ecosystem. In addition to the typical barriers for underserved small and micro-businesses is the need for an entrepreneurial pathway through the critical five stages of entrepreneurship: ideation, start-up, sustaining, scale, and exit. Our navigation focuses on the first three critical stages (ideate, start, and sustain) of the business building process. We can access our network and Spoke partners to anchor small and micro-businesses to both resources and supports to facilitate the final two stages (scale and exit). The right ecosystem can mitigate the barriers and structural obstacles to building underserved small and micro-businesses. We have built this approach based upon three decades of resilience, winning and learning, building upon what works, leveraging our strengths, opportunities, and network, while mitigating weaknesses and threats, and most importantly, championing the most vulnerable.