African American Business Development Program


The mission of the African American Business Development Program is to identify, prepare, involve, empower and sustain African Americans who are committed and positioned to address community challenges in Greater Cincinnati. The goal of AABDP is to create an environment where experienced owners are challenged to explore new leadership concepts and opportunities that will create sustainable companies that benefit the community through economic growth and job creation. Through this environment, the program will attract and support the growth of firms capable of providing job and career opportunities for residents of the Greater Cincinnati community. Check out a 60-second commercial on the AABDP Program.

Program Description

AABDP is a comprehensive 6-month program designed for African American business owners who want to build sustainable companies that help to create employment opportunities for the community. The highly selective program is limited to 15 participants per class/session. Applicants must have a minimum of 2 years of business experience, have a commitment to attend monthly sessions, submit a written rationale for why the company should be accepted into the program and have the willingness to be an active member of the program.  During the program, participants are exposed to “Best Practices” and experts in a variety of industries. AABDP expects its members to attend one full day meeting per month, communicate with their business coach monthly, participate in the group dialogue in each session, and meet attendance requirements.  Candidates who are selected to participate in the program must pay a one-time $1,000 tuition fee.

Objectives of AABDP

  • To enhance the skills business owners need to manage and grow sustainable businesses.
  • To increase the number of African American owned mid-sized firms
  • To foster an environment that is focused on growing the number of local African American firms that have more than one employee.

AABDP Program Topics

  • Skills Assessment and Organizational Management: Management strengths and weaknesses.
  • Finance I: Statement analysis, cash flow.
  • Products and Services: Current and future supplier diversity initiatives.
  • Marketing: Image, sales strategy, client base.
  • Finance: Statement analysis, cash flow, projecting growth.
  • Strategic Planning and Other Growth Strategies: Mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, performance measures.


  • Two hours of one-on-coaching per month for eight months.
  • Breakfast and lunch for each full-day session.
  • FastTrac® materials and supplies.
  • Participation in thought-provoking leadership training activities.
  • Gain a broader perspective of community issues and their impact upon the quality of life for African Americans in Greater Cincinnati.
  • Have an opportunity to participate in solving problems which affect the African American community.
  • Expand professional networks and enhance personal relationships.
  • Receive deserved recognition and prestige as a community leader making substantial contributions to the quality of life in Greater Cincinnati.

Criteria for Candidate Selection:

  • Minimum 2 years in business
  • Commitment to attend monthly sessions
  • Written rationale for why the company should be accepted into the program
  • Willingness to be an active participant in the program
  • Commitment of 2 hours of Business Coaching

Click here to visit the websites of our AABDP Alumni

For additional information or how to apply, contact: Sheila Mixon VP Entrepreneurship Greater Cincinnati Urban League, Cincinnati Economic Empowerment Center.  (513)487-6537 or at

These Companies are Transformational Supporters of the Urban League’s Corporate Heritage Annual Giving Program.