Woman-Owned Journey Steel Makes Upgrades to Stay Competitive
Published: Fri Jul 09 2021
Located in the city of Cincinnati, Journey Steel is one of the few certified minority-owned and women-owned self-performing steel fabrication and assembly companies in the nation. Its customers include construction management companies, government agencies, and corporations in the commercial sector.
Due to its smaller size and the COVID-19 pandemic, Journey Steel needed to make upgrades to stay in a position to grow.
Small Ohio Company Seeks to Maintain a Competitive Edge
Journey Steel has the ability to to be flexible, meet customer needs, and take on projects other companies cannot handle which gives it an edge. However, sometimes it had to outsource portions of its fabrication efforts, including engineering elements. Journey Steel realized that to stay competitive, it had to bring operations in-house.
An investment in state-of-the-art equipment and up-to-date engineering software would improve operational efficiency and allow the company to scale departments, thereby eliminating outsourcing.
A relatively small company dealing with the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, Journey Steel needed financial assistance to make its upgrades. An Ohio economic development team provided a solution.
Journey Steel Eliminates Outsourcing
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Journey Steel connected with the Ohio’s state-level economic development corporation JobsOhio and its southwest regional partner REDI Cincinnati to help with personal protective equipment (PPE) acquisition to keep workers safe and the plant humming. The PPE assistance accomplished that and made it possible for the company to hire additional employees. When Journey Steel shared that they had additional needs to scale operations, the economic development team thought the company fit the profile of the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant (JOIG).
Created in July 2020 as part of JobsOhio’s COVID relief programming, the JOIG provides targeted funding for small- and medium-sized businesses in distressed areas or businesses owned by underrepresented population groups, including women. Journey Steel is woman and minority-owned, which meant it qualified for the grant.
The JOIG is part of JobsOhio’s larger efforts to boost opportunities for underrepresented populations and communities facing economic hardships. When all of Ohio is able to grow and thrive, the state’s economy can recover quicker from the pandemic and stay strong into the future.
With this funding, Journey Steel could acquire equipment and software that eliminated outsourcing. Additionally, the company plans to hire four more employees and connect with potential new customers in the surrounding region.
The JobsOhio Inclusion Grant program allowed us to purchase equipment that will provide us with the opportunity to keep fabrication in-house. This will allow us to not only add job positions but also be more competitive when bidding.
- Barb Smith -
President / Journey Steel