Small Business Support

Our efforts in small business support include programs such as OurShop College, which provide six months of rent-free space, sales data analysis, and business mentorship for brick-and-mortar businesses. Other programs, such as Facade & Outdoor Improvements, aim to invest in many businesses that have been in the business district for years by installing new signage, new awnings, and other improvements. From 2006 to 2016, we completed two rounds of Facade improvement directly impacting 42 businesses. The third round of the program will provide facade improvement for an additional 12 businesses. Our outdoor Improvement program will create six outdoor spaces for businesses and the community this year.

Other small business support efforts include improving walkability along the business district through pedestrian safety and streetscape improvement programs. These programs will add traffic-calming interventions and other improvements such as benches, planters, and sidewalk repairs.

Resources for Small Businesses

Mortar Academy – A 15-week course designed for those who are thinking of starting/growing a business.

Community Action Agency – Provides entrepreneurial education, coaching, development and funding to help entrepreneurs.

Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative – Partnered with City of Cincinnati, the Small Business Association, area banks, and operates its own proprietary loan fund to help clients secure access to capital ranging from $500 – $250,000. Entrepreneurial education and mindset training, academy session, business plan evaluations/idea development, validating coaching/technical assistance, access to capital, cash reigns supreme training course.

City of Cincinnati

+MicroCity Loan: small business loan up to $35,000

+Grow Cincinnati Fund: fund provides capital for fixed assets, working capital and eligible refinancing to small businesses located in Cincinnati

+Small Business 513 Relief and Small Business Relief: Investing in Ohio’s Future

+Women’s Business Enterprise Loan Program: $45,000 up to maximum of $500,000

+Ohio Micro-Enterprise Loan Program: $10,000 up to $45,000

LISC Greater Cincinnati – Provides flexible loan options and technical support, financing to businesses located in underserved neighborhoods and rural communities.

Score Cincinnati – Free confidential business mentoring, webinar and courses on demand, online resources.

Ohio Small Business Development Centers – Free business consulting, business seminars and workshops, and connection to resources at a local, state, and federal level.

Alloy – Small Business Assistance program includes one-on-one coaching from an experienced business professional to help businesses refine plans, sharpen marketing, improve operations, grow and succeed.

Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio – Economic Empowerment Center: Works with private, public, and nonprofit resources to build strong, sustainable, and successful minority businesses which will result in wealth and job creation and better economic health in the urban core communities of Greater Cincinnati.

ECDI – Leading SBA micro-loan intermediary, a certified Community Development Corporation, and Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution. Resources for small business loans, COVID Support, Entrepreneur Education, One-on-One Help or Business Support, Professional Advice or mentoring, starting a business, starting a restaurant or food truck, support for minority construction contracts, info about MBE or EDGE certification.

Cintrifuse – Provides small business resources.

Cincinnati Public Library – Maker Spaces (printing, different machines & computers with free software).

Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub – ElevateEquity: An 8-week accelerator program for early-stage startups for founders inspired to address systemic inequities through entrepreneurship. Includes consulting, business modeling, operational excellence, IT strategy, IT implementation, and coaching. 

SOGAL – Platform for diverse entrepreneurs and investors. Mission is to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship and venture capital. 

+SoGal Academy: Virtual webinars that cover topics such as: breaking into venture capital, securing top startup press, build without burnout, and fireside chats

+Black founder startup grant

SCORE Greater Cincinnati – Provides free and confidential business advice to entrepreneurs working to start new businesses and grow existing businesses.

Government Grants