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Cincinnati Innovation District grows with two new facilities devoted to minority business

Bill Rinehart
Elected leaders join members of the Cincinnati Innovation District at an announcement October 25, 2021.

A venture capital firm that focuses on minority owned businesses is setting up new homes in Cincinnati. Lightship Foundation's Candice Matthews Brackeen says they'll occupy two facilities in Corryville and Clifton.

She says when they started, less than 1% of venture capital goes to a Black-led company.

"From our educational programming opportunities at Lightship Foundation, to our funding opportunities at Lightship Capital, we're attempting to narrow the wealth gap by increasing the incomes of the entrepreneurs that we work with as well as their employees," Matthews Brackeen says. "And also increasing the number of tangible investments, both working capital and venture capital into those firms as well."

She says they've already worked with one mobile dental company on relocating to Ohio, and are trying to bring a feminine products manufacturer to Cincinnati. She spoke at the Cincinnati Innovation District center Monday morning.

Lightship will operate out of the Beacon, on east McMillan, and Boulter House, in Clifton.

The firm is getting support from the city, UC and JobsOhio. Governor Mike DeWine says that's because some people with great ideas, talent and potential don't have access to capital.

"That certainly happens among women, happens with minorities, happens with all different groups," DeWine said. "But getting more people on the playing field who are creating jobs, more people on the playing field who are making the state better is going to make all the difference in the world."

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio in markets including Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.