For Denise Ransom, construction runs in the family. Her dad, Leon Ransom, was the first African American architect in Columbus to work on major projects such as libraries, hospitals and fire stations. Denise would sit with Leon at his drawing board in his basement office as he pored over blueprints. It inspired a lifelong love of the industry that served as a starting point for Denise and her small business.
“I did some market research and found there weren’t any companies that specialized in final construction clean up. It was an unfilled niche in commercial construction,” says Ransom.
She knew she could fill that niche. When supportive friends and family gave her a nudge, Ransom started Elite National, a cleaning company that could put the finishing touches on any construction project. Ransom needed not only startup capital, but also an advisor who could help walk her through the financing.
A friend recommended ECDI, which was just starting the Capital for Construction program. In 2015, Denise became the program’s first client and gained access to capital, training and professional opportunities that got Elite National off the ground.
“My ECDI Relationship Manager, Jesse, has been my right arm. If I have any questions, I can pick up the phone and talk with him and he’ll walk me through banking relationships, future contracts or anything else,” says Ransom.
As of 2021, Elite National has established relationships with six of the eight general contractors that Denise targeted in her original 2015 business plan, which she developed with help from advisors at ECDI Women’s Business Center.
“Without ECDI, I wouldn’t be in the position that I’m in now and smiling. It would’ve been a lot of heartburn. ECDI helps me sleep at night, which is hard for a business owner to say.”