Cincinnati Chamber's Minority Business Accelerator adds first two Hispanic-owned portfolio companies

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber has added the first two Hispanic-owned portfolio companies to its Minority Business Accelerator (MBA).

The MBA, the Chamber's flagship economic inclusion initiative, was founded in 2003 as a way to grow minority businesses and increase demand for the services and goods of minority-owned firms. Originally, the MBA was opened only to black-owned businesses but was recently opened to Hispanic-owned as well based on a Chamber-commissioned study that showed there was a large disparity in the number of Hispanic-owned firms in the region. The Minority Business Accelerator now has 34 portfolio companies, with a goal of 50.

The first new portfolio company, Best Upon Request, is an onsite concierge service provider. The company is led by CEO and president Tillie Hidalgo Lima and was founded in 1989 as BurCorp. It's a privately-held, certified minority- and women-owned firm that serves the business and healthcare industries. The company has grown 500 percent since 2003, making it one of the region's fastest growing companies. The company ranked 47th on Hispanic Business magazine's annual list of the nation's 100 fastest-growing Hispanic companies.

Best Upon Request was a Cincinnati BBB Torch Award finalist in 2006, 2007 and 2008. In 2008, the company was chosen and the officially endorsed concierge service provider by AHA Solutions, Inc. a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association. The company works with more than 10,000 vendors nationally and takes request by email, fax, voicemail, web or phone.

The second new portfolio company, Vivian Llambi and Associates, Inc. (VLA), specializes in environmental design, landscape architecture, urban design and civil engineering. Founded in 1984, the company's clients include corporations, universities, municipalities, health care providers, parks and recreation departments and government agencies.

Vivian Llambi, founder and CEO, was named one of the Career Women of Achievement by the Cincinnati YWCA in 2002, and is a 1999 Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Businesswoman of the Year.

"Our mission is to accelerate the growth of sizable minority businesses and expand the minority entrepreneurial community. Both firms have displayed the characteristics we look for in our portfolio firms and an ongoing quest to improve and grow. And through their entrepreneurial spirit, they help drive our goal of creating overall wealth for the regional economy," said Crystal German, vice president of economic inclusion at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

In 2009, the MBA secured commitments by 24 local corporations to spend $405 million in goods and services with local MBEs. The MBA's annual spend goal has been met or exceeded every year since its inception in 2004.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

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