Cleveland's economic strength was Tuesday's) focus for an increasingly influential regional leadership group.
ideastream®'s Rick Jackson reports on the National Black MBA Association's meeting with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.
Only 300 of the National Black MBA Association's 8,000 members are in Northeast Ohio - but make up what's regarded as one of the most dynamic chapters anywhere.
Mayor Jackson spoke to financiers, educators, and non-profit operators on topics as diverse as minority set-asides to the business impact on the region if native son LeBron James leaves the Cavaliers.
The overall tone of his audience of business professionals was that even battling back from a flattened economy, Cleveland has more to offer than pundits, pollsters and politicians give it credit.
Fifth Third Banks' Tanisha Rush believes the region is ripe for business opportunities.
"I think that we came through definitely a flux economy the last couple years, but now we're starting to see, even the financial industry, we're starting to see more small business owners starting to come back in, looking for loans, so I think they're definitely starting to look up."
Echoing the idea of an improved atmosphere was Jeannette Haynes-Gordon, the Fiscal Operations Manager for Community Action Against Addiction, Inc., and in her fourth year as the groups' President. She suggests business professionals have seen an uptick in job availabilities - a sign of hope for current college students.
"I would even tell the ones who are not into business now, to go for an MBA. To go with that science degree or that medical degree, or whatever type degree because you need to know the ins and outs of business, and a lot of corporations are looking for individuals that are dual."
Is the worst of the down market over?
No one would guarantee that, but most say Northeast Ohio is making strides in the right direction for business, both minority-owned and main stream.