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Confronting the Odds

African American Entrepreneurship in Cleveland, Ohio

Bessie House-Soremekun

216 pages
The Kent State University Press

The history of African American entrepreneurship has produced a number of studies of economic development on the national level, but very few have examined this growth at the local level. Confronting the Odds was written to bridge that gap, and Bessie House-Soremekun provides this historical analysis of African American entrepreneurship in Cleveland, Ohio, from the early 1800s to the present. Additionally, in examining these historical and current trends, House-Soremekun presents brief biographies of several successful entrepreneurs, among them George C. Fraser, best-selling author; Robert P. Madison, internationally acclaimed architect; Leroy Ozanne, founder of Ozanne Construction Company; and Rachel Y. Daniel, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Synergy International Limited, Inc. and Decision Point Marketing and Research, Inc.

House-Soremekun’s statistical analysis of the factors that contributed to the success of African American businesses in Cleveland is supported by extensive research, and her policy recommendations about how entrepreneurship could be stimulated through public and private programs are thought provoking. Confronting the Odds documents life histories of business owners, compares African American male and female business owners, and offers insights into why some businesses succeed and others fail.

Author Bio
Bessie House-Soremekun is a nationally recognized leader, advocate, and expert on entrepreneurship and economic development. She received her Ph.D. in international studies from the University of Denver in 1988. She is the Public Scholar in African American Studies, Civic Engagement, and Entrepreneurship at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. She is also director of the Entrepreneurial Academy of Greater Cleveland.