MWV Pinnacle Capital Fund Will Invest in High-Growth Minority Companies, Entrepreneurs

$21 Million Fund to Help Minority Businesses Grow, Compete

Aug 12, 2003, 01:00 ET from MWV Pinnacle Capital Fund

    CLEVELAND, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A newly formed investment group is
 looking throughout Ohio for minority businesses with high potential and a
 strong desire to grow.
     The MWV Pinnacle Capital Fund recently began operations after 24
 corporations and individuals pledged a total of $21 million to provide debt,
 mezzanine and equity portfolio investments in promising businesses that are
 owned, controlled or managed by minorities.  Additional investors are expected
 to be added later this year to enable the fund to reach its goal of $25
     "Our primary objective is to help established minority businesses grow to
 a size and scale where they can not only be competitive and have a positive
 impact on their communities but also nurture additional minority businesses,"
 said Eric Von Hendrix, fund manager.  "We will also selectively consider
 leveraged buyout transactions that will provide opportunities for minority
     Each investment by the fund is likely to be between $750,000 and
 $3 million, said Von Hendrix, who added that he is currently reviewing several
 potential opportunities.
     The champion of the fund has been A. Malachi Mixon III, chairman and chief
 executive officer of Invacare Corporation, who was the first committed
 investor.  Other driving forces behind the fund are Cleveland Tomorrow, the
 Cleveland Commission on Economic Partnerships and Inclusion and the
 President's Council.  The fund was established after research by the
 Commission's Investment and Growth Task Force, staffed by Cleveland Tomorrow,
 confirmed that the lack of equity capital is a key barrier to growth for high-
 potential, minority-owned companies.  The task force is co-chaired by Henry L.
 Meyer III, president and chief executive officer of KeyCorp, and Carole F.
 Hoover, president and chief executive officer of HooverMilstein.
     "There is no shortage of minority businesses in Ohio with the desire and
 ability to grow," said former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes, co-chair of the
 Commission, a program of the Greater Cleveland Roundtable in partnership with
 Cleveland Tomorrow, Greater Cleveland Growth Association, Urban League of
 Greater Cleveland and Cleveland Initiative for Education.  "What they have
 faced, however, has been a shortage of equity capital sources.  This new fund
 offers tremendous promise for the future."
     Earlier this year, Black Enterprise magazine listed only seven Ohio-based
 firms on its Industrial/Service 100, which includes the nation's leading
 African-American-owned businesses.  The largest of those is Anderson-Dubose
 Co. of Solon, which had sales of $197 million last year.  Four Ohio companies
 are on the current Hispanic Business 500, led by CSA Group of Cincinnati with
 $47 million in sales.
     "By focusing equity capital on promising minority businesses, we expect to
 help fill an obvious void in the marketplace," said David A. Daberko, chairman
 of Cleveland Tomorrow and chairman and chief executive officer of National
 City Corporation.  "We foresee enabling several companies to move solidly
 above the $50 million sales threshold over the next five to seven years."
 Cleveland Tomorrow is a group of more than 50 chief executive officers from
 the largest corporations in Northeast Ohio.
     The top 10 investors in the fund are Charter One Bank, The Cleveland
 Foundation, Eaton Corporation, Fifth Third Community Development Corporation,
 FirstEnergy Corporation, Huntington Community Development Corporation,
 KeyCorp, National City Community Development Corporation, The Sherwin Williams
 Company and Mixon.  Other investors include First Merit Community Development
 Corporation; Forest City Enterprises, Inc.; Jo-Ann Stores, Inc.; Lubrizol
 Corporation; Ohio Savings Bank; ShoreBank Corporation; and US Bancorp
 Community Development Corporation.
     "By stepping forward, the investors in this new fund have demonstrated
 their strong dedication to the success of an important segment of our state's
 economy," said Brian E. Hall, chairperson of the President's Council, a
 coalition of chief executive officers from some of Greater Cleveland's largest
 African-American-owned-and-operated businesses and an investor in the fund.
 "We are very pleased at the level of investment from Northeast Ohio
 corporations, reflecting their strong belief in the economic viability of
 minority businesses."
     Created in December 2000, the Cleveland Commission on Economic
 Partnerships and Inclusion is a broad-based group of employers and community
 leaders who have joined forces to develop and implement a locally based set of
 interrelated initiatives to address the economic challenges impacting Greater
 Cleveland's minority communities.  Its mission is to significantly improve the
 level of inclusion - the meaningful involvement of minority businesses and
 individuals - in the economic engine that drives Greater Cleveland.
     "The MWV Pinnacle Capital Fund is tangible evidence of a sincere
 commitment to providing greater opportunities for all segments of the
 economy," said Commission Co-Chair Alexander M. Cutler, chairman and chief
 executive officer of Eaton Corporation.  "We look forward to celebrating the
 future success of increasing numbers of our state's minority businesses."
     More information about the fund is available by calling 216-292-0100.

SOURCE MWV Pinnacle Capital Fund