The CLEVELAND BUSINESS LEAGUE, a business association for minorities, traces its origins back to the Cleveland Businessmen's Assn., which was founded in 1925 by HERBERT CHAUNCEY. This organization continued until the formation of the Progressive Business Alliance in Feb. 1939. The latter was formed to promote "closer cooperation among a group of the city's business and retail men as well as to stimulate business." It later expanded to offer a wide variety of services to its members and their families. The alliance sponsored the Negro Business Hour, a Sunday morning radio program, as well as a yearly trade exhibit. The organization also had a Women's Auxiliary.
As the Cleveland Business League, the organization was known as the area's "black chamber of commerce." Its goals were to foster economic development in the African American business community through advocacy, training, and a variety of programs. The league also maintains contact with legislators and offers a health care plan. It has undertaken special projects over the years, such as a contract in 1980 with the City of Cleveland in which the league provided training and managerial assistance to small and minority business enterprises.
In 1989 the organization was said to be the oldest black trade association in the country. Richard Andrews has served as executive director since 1991. There were approx. 100 members in 1994.