As you exit the Kroger on Court Street in downtown Cincinnati, you’ll be greeted by a rainbow of historic buildings across the street. Glowing in shades of burgundy, walnut, cream, olive green and baby blue, the buildings give Cincinnati the look of a scenic postcard.
They’re the result of a year of work for Richard Voner and the team at Home Group Development, a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)-certified general contractor. The company started a decade ago working on Voner’s mom’s house and today works on everything from churches to condos in downtown Cincinnati. Bigger projects, though, mean higher costs upfront.
“One of the main challenges to contracting is the financing. You’ve got guys that can do the work, but not the capital needed to get going,” says Voner.
As the contracts grew, Voner knew he needed help managing not only the funding, but also the increasingly complicated paperwork. He connected with the team at ECDI Cincinnati through his network to participate in the Capital for Construction program, which provides professional assistance and access to capital for Minority Business Enterprise-certified construction contracting businesses. ECDI now helps Voner review contracts and connect with new opportunities. As a result, Voner is able to spend more time onsite.
“I could sit at the office in front of a desk all day, but I like to get out – see the buildings, see the paint, mess with the guys. Every day is different and exciting. I love being there with the team,” says Voner.
Voner doesn’t just serve the community through construction. As a fair chance employer, Home Group Development aims to hire people who traditionally face more barriers when finding a job. For Voner, crafting that work environment is just as integral to the Cincinnati community’s future as the buildings themselves.
“We create a lot of opportunity for guys who people gave up on. It’s a blessing just to give these jobs to the people in the community.” Because of that commitment, all of Voner’s buildings are shining physical examples of the power in diversity and teamwork. “When everyone comes together to build something, and you see that building standing in the city, it’s a beautiful thing.”
With four projects set for 2021 and even more in the pipeline, ECDI is proud to support the work Home Group Development is doing in Cincinnati’s revitalization efforts.