At the end of last year, Indian-born entrepreneur Radhika Reddy launched Ariel International Center, a one-stop shop for international business development in Northeast Ohio. Located in the former Leff Electric Company building on E. 40th Street, the 100-year-old warehouse with solid brickwork and rough-hewn wooden beams is being refurbished to support this decidedly 21st century venture.
“We offer shared international services for companies that want to locate here and do business globally, and we also help local companies with global potential,” says Reddy, who arrived in Cleveland 21 years ago with little more than a visa and $20 in her pocket, yet has since adopted Northeast Ohio as her home.
The successful businesswoman is one of three women behind Ariel Ventures, an economic development finance firm with $1.5 million in annual sales. Reddy says she wants to grow Cleveland's economy by helping businesses to gain global reach.
“We want to help them with business growth and act as their back office,” she says. “Services that we offer include accounting and finance, international business development, tax advising and export and import documentation.”
Ariel International Center, whose new, four-story home has large windows offering views of downtown and Lake Erie, will also host a fourth floor event space that is geared towards Cleveland’s immigrant community. Once renovations are complete, Reddy also hopes to land an international-themed restaurant that will become a destination spot for the downtown lunch crowd.
“Entrepreneurs like me are always thinking of what’s not there,” she says.
The project received support from the City of Cleveland’s Vacant Properties Initiative as well as a low-interest economic development loan from the city. Reddy says that it is approximately 50 percent self-financed by Ariel’s partners. The 100 percent women-owned firm will move its offices here by February 1st.
Source: Radhika Reddy
Writer: Lee Chilcote