Ohio is home to several major markets that are popular with small businesses, including Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Akron. If you own a business in any of these locations, there may be small business grants available to help with select expenses or projects.
Small Business Grants Available in Ohio
Here are some current Ohio small business grant opportunities.
Columbus-Franklin County Small Business Recovery Fund
The Columbus-Franklin County Small Business Recovery Fund supports pandemic recovery throughout Central Ohio. Eligible small businesses can apply for up to $20,000 through the program, which recently received an additional $8 million funding boost. Self-employed individuals and sole proprietors can apply for $5,000 grants. Small businesses with at least one employee can apply for $10,000. And businesses that lost employees during the pandemic can apply for $20,000. An additional $10,000 is available for businesses that hire at least one new full-time employee within two months and maintain their payroll for four months following grant receipt. Businesses in underserved communities and those owned by minorities, women, and veterans are given priority.
Cleveland Job Creation Incentive Program
Cleveland’s Job Creation Incentive Program aims to attract and retain businesses in the city limits. Businesses moving to Cleveland or expanding within the city that will create at least five new full-time W-2 jobs can apply for grants. Grant amounts are determined based on new payroll and income tax generated by each business. Grants can cover up to 0.5 percent of new payroll for up to three years. There’s also a $5,000 Moving Assistance Grant that relocating businesses may use in conjunction with this assistance.
Cleveland Municipal Small Business Initiative
Cleveland offers the Municipal Small Business Initiative alongside the U.S. Small Business Administration and Cuyahoga County. Businesses can apply for additional assistance for SBA funded projects. Basically, Cleveland provides a grant of 15 percent of the total project cost, which is funded by both the City and the County. To qualify, applicants must first secure an SBA backed loan and must plan to create at least one permanent full-time job for every $35,000 in City funds.
Cleveland Tech Delta Program
Cleveland’s Tech Delta Program supports tech and medical companies relocating or expanding within Cleveland. Grants are awarded on a square footage basis, with $5 available per square foot of a company’s new facility. Awards may not exceed $50,000. To qualify, tech companies must plan necessary upgrades to their facility and create at least five new, full-time jobs in the city.
Cleveland Storefront Renovation Program
Cleveland’s Storefront Renovation Program funds upgrades in neighborhood commercial retail districts. Eligible city businesses can apply for a rebate that covers up to 50 percent of a renovation project that meets the city’s design criteria, up to $50,000. In addition to grant funding, the program offers free design assistance for exterior rehabilitation projects. This is an annual program. So businesses can apply for projects completed throughout the year.
FundNoire is a funding program for Black small business owners in the Cincinnati area. Funded in part by Kroger’s charitable foundation, the program includes $1.5 million for eligible businesses. This is a relatively new program founded by local entrepreneur Rico Grant. The organization expects to support dozens of startups and early-stage companies in its inaugural funding round.
Great Streets Akron Grants
The city of Akron offers matching grants for exterior or site improvements. Eligible projects include signage, outdoor lighting, facade renovation, security cameras, and parking lot paving. The city will review proposed improvements on a case-by-case basis to ensure they meet compliance and zoning standards. Grants may cover up to $30,000, and they require matching private funds.
Toledo Emergency Microenterprise Recovery Grant
Toledo’s Emergency Microenterprise Recovery Grant provides up to $5,000 to reimburse businesses for COVID-related expenses. To qualify, expenses must be incurred between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020, with supporting documentation. Funded through the Federal Community Development Block Grant, the application period will close once grant funds are disbursed.
Shelby County Small Business Recovery Grant Program
Shelby County, Ohio is offering $400,000 to local small businesses. Funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, the program offers reimbursement funds for pandemic-related expenses. Businesses with a physical location in the county can apply for between $5,000 and $25,000. Entrepreneurs in the county who run businesses from home can apply for between $5,000 and $10,000. May 31 is the deadline to apply.
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