Inclusion Grants Support Women-Owned Businesses Across Ohio
Kristi Tanner, Senior Managing Director•Published: Tue Oct 17 2023
Bake Me Happy is a popular gluten-free bakery in Central Ohio. The minority- and woman-owned company was opened in 2014 by Letha and Wendy Pugh and quickly became a popular destination for gluten-free sweets, attracting customers who follow gluten-free diets and those with a sweet tooth who enjoy the signature treats only found at Bake Me Happy. The Oatmeal Creme Cloud offers a bit of nostalgia for many, and the gluten-free Poptarts are a customer favorite.
As word spread about Bake Me Happy’s delicious items, the demand for their unique, high-quality, gluten-free baked goods increased, and the business expanded into online sales and wholesale to other local establishments. To keep up with the rise in sales, Bake Me Happy found a new, larger location that could house both the business and a production facility, but it needed a little TLC before it would be ready for business.
This is where JobsOhio came in. To help fund some of the necessary updates to the bakery’s new 4,000-square-foot facility, Bake Me Happy’s owners applied for a JobsOhio Inclusion Grant. These grants provide funding to businesses in distressed communities and to companies owned by underrepresented populations, including minorities, women, veterans, and people with disabilities across the state.
Through the support of JobsOhio, Bake Me Happy was able to update the new facility and continue its growth into the B2B space while keeping customers happy at its two retail locations in Columbus.
JobsOhio and our regional network partners support women-owned businesses across the state regularly. Additional examples of these companies include:
- The AKA Team, a woman- and minority-owned construction company in Northeast Ohio, worked with our partners at TeamNEO to secure an Inclusion Grant. The funding helped The AKA Team expand its office space and hire 20 new employees.
- Journey Steel, located in Cincinnati, worked with the REDI Cincinnati team. The minority and women-owned self-performing steel fabrication and assembly company invested in state-of-the-art equipment and up-to-date engineering software to improve operational efficiency and allow the company to scale departments, thereby eliminating outsourcing.
- Colonial Surface Solutions is a woman-owned business in Northwest Ohio, specializing in coating removal, protective coating applications, and powder coating for the military, agricultural, and industrial industries. The company connected with our partners at RGP to secure an Inclusion Grant, which was used to add more powder coating capabilities and gain new customers.