CINCINNATI- Starting a business isn't for the faint of heart, but entrepreneurs don't have to tackle it alone. The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio serves as a host for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The office is located inside Union Institute & University in Walnut Hills. The mission of the SBDC is to accelerate Ohio’s economy by helping people start, sustain and grow their businesses. The Urban League also works with Latino entrepreneurs through our Cincinnati Latino SBDC office.
Muse Café opened for business on July 21, 2017, but the grand opening didn’t come without a lot of sweat equity. The owners also say they couldn’t have done it without assistance from SBDC. “In the very beginning stages of conception, we went to SBDC to solidify our ideas and utilize them to guide us in the right direction,” said co-owner Shawntee Stallworth Schramm.
The trio behind Muse Café are husband and wife team Steve Schramm and Shawntee Stallworth Schramm and friend Jeff Boley (pictured from left to right). They worked with SBDC Certified Business Advisor Ayanna Terry throughout the process from writing a business plan to figuring out how they were going to finance the coffee and sandwich shop.
“She gave us good ideas on who to talk to and how to get more information. She was just very integral in the steps,” Schramm explained. The co-owners say going through the process of opening a new business had its ups and downs, but working with SBDC made a big difference. They say Terry wound up being more than a business coach. “I kind of saw her as almost our staff psychologist. We could go there and talk about the issues that we were facing, what we were running into,” Boley said with a laugh as he worked the cash register at the Westwood shop at the corner of Harrison and Montana Avenues.
Boley said Terry helped to keep the project on track. “We had pretty regular monthly meetings initially with her, and to go in like ‘here are the obstacles that we face’ and she always understood what we were talking about and could point us in the right direction,” Boley said. “It was a tremendous help for us just to have that experience knowledge and the advice that we got.”
The Dayton Urban League - chartered in 1947 and the Urban League of Greater
Cincinnati – chartered in 1949 were formally combined into the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio (ULGSO) in 2013. ULGSO serves people in the following areas: Cincinnati and Dayton, the northern most sections of Boone, Kenton and Campbell Counties in Kentucky, and Ohio counties of Butler, Warren, Clermont, Montgomery, Greene, Preble, Miami, Hamilton and Darke.