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Black Entrepreneurship in a Gentrifying Cincinnati Neighborhood
Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is on a winning streak. It's had some of its most iconic buildings restored, there are more people on the sidewalks and the median income is rising. Some fear the neighborhood’s rising fortune may push out the very people the investment was created to help. "The Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF), founded in 1988, redoubled its efforts, lending and investing in Over-the-Rhine, now totaling more than $92 million in loans across more than 165 buildings in the neighborhood," writes Oscar Perry Abello for Next City. That investment has been part of what's caused the neighborhood to grow. "Although Over-the-Rhine’s black population grew from 2010 to 2015, according to Census Bureau estimates, it went from being 69 percent of Over-the-Rhine’s population in 2010 to 53 percent in 2015," adds Perry Abello.
As the neighborhood becomes less black and more affluent, fewer of the businesses seeking funding are run by black entrepreneurs. "In response to the disparity, Derrick Braziel, Allen Woods and William Thomas II created Mortar in 2014. An entrepreneurship accelerator, Mortar supports people from underserved communities, positioning them to take advantage of development going on around them," according to Perry Abello.