When asked what advice he has for entrepreneurs, Ervin Worthy, owner of Worthy Construction Group 2G LLC, said, “I know it’s hard trying to run the business and work on it, but stick it out. The reward will come at the end of the process once you get it done. Doors will start to open at that time. Just make it happen.”
In his continuing effort to move into bigger projects, coupled with his desire to get more work and more money, Worthy applied for his MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) and EDGE (Encouraging Diversity, Growth, and Equity) Certifications from the State of Ohio. As the sole employee of his company, he said the process to apply for the certifications was arduous. It’s very challenging to work both in your business and on your business simultaneously. As a result, it took Worthy some time to collect all the required supporting documents, fill out the unified application online, have an interview with the State, and receive his certifications.
“MBAC was very helpful. Misty pretty much helped me get through the online application in person, and Melanie helped me at the end to get me through the last steps.” Misty Rogers is the Regional Director of MBAC – Akron, and Melanie Korman is a business counselor there. They assist entrepreneurs and small business owners with many processes, including applying for State certifications.
While getting some business assistance from the Minority Business Assistance Center (MBAC) at the Akron Urban League, Worthy learned about a new program the organization was recruiting for called the Minority Contractor Capital Access Program (MCCAP). MCCAP is a collaborative initiative between the Western Reserve Community Fund and the Akron Urban League to provide financial and technical assistance to Akron and Summit County-based minority, women, LGBTQ+, veteran, and disabled-owned businesses in the construction industry.
Worthy applied to the program and was accepted into the first cohort of participants in 2020. He thought the experience would allow him to break off into different levels of the construction industry, and he was right. “It’s been beneficial and has provided me with some key resources to help me navigate the construction world.”
Worthy has a family history of entrepreneurship in Akron. “That’s why I’m so thirsty to build many homes in Akron,” he explained. Worthy’s father, Luit R. Worthy, Sr., started Worthy & Sons Construction. His family built and remodeled many homes in the area.
Worthy’s grandfather, Tuly Worthy, his father, and his uncles learned carpentry in Alabama when they were young. They all migrated from Alabama to Ohio during the housing boom in Akron. “My father and some of his friends were some of the first minorities in the carpenters’ union.”
It was only natural that Worthy grew up in the family business. “I did a lot of on-the-job training with my father when I was young,” he remembers. “I would ride with my father in the truck. He would dictate a project to me, and I would write it out.” He continued to explain his father would start dictating details of one wing of a house they were working on, then the next wing, until the first floor was laid out. Worthy said he would have to read the project back to his father to make sure it was correct. Once the first floor was written correctly, his father would start giving him details of the second floor. “My father taught me the ins and outs of the business.”
Worthy then learned roofing from one of his older brothers. In the 1980s, he started a roofing company with another one of his older brothers. But in 2017, he felt it was time for him to create his own company officially.
Wanting to move on to bigger projects and have an established company of his own, Worthy created Worthy Construction Group 2G LLC. The company’s name was created to show a connection to his family legacy (2G means the second generation) and create synergy with other businesses in the industry.
“I feel a sense of relief,” Worthy said, grateful to finally have his State certifications. “Now I have to navigate the procurement world.” He says he’ll work with professional service providers through MCCAP to keep him moving forward.