Heritage Bank and Ocean Programs team up to expand entrepreneurship training program

Erlanger-based Heritage Bank is teaming up with Ocean Programs, a Cincinnati-based business accelerator, to expand access to Ocean’s entrepreneur training program.

Heritage is launching the Heritage Bank/Chris Caddell Scholarship Fund with a $30,000 matching grant. The fund honors Christopher B. “Chris” Caddell, the former CEO of Heritage Bank, who died in April 2020 at the age of 53. He was the son of Heritage Bank founder Arnold E. Caddell, Jr.

Heritage Bank says it wants to expand access to Ocean’s programs and services to people who are currently underrepresented in the local business community.

The $30,000 donation will be used to provide grants to low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs to cover part of the cost of the program’s enrollment fees, the bank says. Priority will be given minority and women entrepreneurs.

“Economies that offer opportunities to a wide range of talented, passionate people are the economies that flourish most long term,” says Heritage CEO H. David Wallace.

Ocean is a faith-based accelerator and entrepreneurship center. It was started as a not-for-profit in 2014 and opened its accelerator in 2015. Applications more than doubled the following year, it says, with 33% coming from outside the U.S., and 40% from states outside Ohio.

Its Genesis program combines business training, mentorship, inspiration, and coaching over an eight-week period. That is followed with six months of group-based mentoring.

Since 2017, more than 200 entrepreneurs have participated in the program, and more than 85% of those graduates have launched or expanded their businesses, it says.

Heritage Bank was founded in 1990 by a group of local businesspeople who were concerned about the shrinking access to community banks that traditionally have served local consumer and business banking needs. Heritage Bank has 19 branches and remains a family-owned institution.

It 2019, it purchased the naming rights to Cincinnati’s riverfront arena, formerly the U.S. Bank Arena.

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David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.