Black, Latino, LGBTQ, Asian, Veteran, and Women owned businesses in Ohio can find free grant programs as well as low cost loans to help them finance their business (or start up). There are a number of lenders, government programs, and sources of funding listed below, some of which may cover your city or region. There are loans, grants, mentoring programs and more in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and other Ohio cities that allocate funds to women and/or minority companies.
The money can cover various business expenses, including payroll, sales, rent, website or technology costs, marketing and more. Each lender (or grantor) will have their own terms and conditions in place as well as application process for a free grant or loan. But each of the programs listed below (which are updated daily) have agreed to provide some of their funds to minority owned as well as women owned companies.
Not only may a small business in Ohio get the funds they need to grow (or save) their business, but there are also programs that help minority or women entrepreneurs as well as startup businesses. The assistance can come from a bank, foundation, government agency, non-profit, corporation or other lenders.
Find small business loans or free grants in Ohio for women or minority companies
The funds and programs below are updated daily and by month. As noted, some of the low cost loans or grants are allocated to veterans, LGBTQ, Black businesses, Asians, Latinos and women owned businesses.
Erie County Minority Business Empowerment Team helps BIPOC and Blacks, women, Latinos and Asians owned small businesses as well as BIPOC. The agency can be a place to learn about grants as well as mentoring from successful business owners. Networking, workshops, and other tools are offered. Learn more. https://www.facebook.com/MBETSandusky.
Franklin County and Columbus Ohio has several free business development and assistance programs. They help is offered by both non-profits as well as charities – local and national. Some of the examples are New Horizons Computer Learning Center of Columbus OH (call (614) 798-1000) and Ohio Small Business Development Center (dial (614) 287-5294).
ECDI is a microlender that focuses on offering low cost loans as well as other support. A focus is on giving financing to veteran, immigrant, minorities, refugees, women, and LGBTQ owned businesses. They also give veterans in Ohio support, offer loans for construction projects, rural loans and so much more. Advice, coaching, marketing help and other services are also offered by ECDI in Ohio. Read more. https://www.ecdi.org/
Women’s Business Centers of Ohio has multiple sites in the state, including Cincinnati., Cleveland, and Columbus. WBC of Ohio offers free services to women owned businesses or females looking to start a business. There are free computer labs, training programs, networking, information on loans, mentoring and coaching from volunteer female business owners (including Black and Brown) and more. Find details on the centers and their assistance programs. https://www.wbcohio.org/
The Urban League of Cleveland is supporting local minority owned businesses. The programs are run by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as well as UBIZ Center. There are loans as well as financial help. Or get free professional consulting services, learn about additional small business capital, contract opportunities for sales, and other support services. There is also an Entrepreneurship Center on site. Get details here. https://ulcleveland.org/entrepreneurship-center/
Small businesses and entrepreneurs in Summit County and Akron Ohio can turn to the Bounce Innovation Hub for information on financial help, free counseling, grant applications and other support. A GROW program is for women and minority tech companies; co-working spaces; free expert counseling; information on low cost loans or grants for capital and more is offered. The name of the grants also go by the term RISE. Read more. https://bouncehub.org/
An Ohio based lender offers the Huntington Lift Local Business program. Millions of dollars are being allocated to help veteran, women, and minority owned businesses. The lender is also working with the SBA to facilitate funds to those disadvantaged businesses. The Huntington Bank will be offering lower credit score requirements, zero origination fees and flexible, longer repayment options as part of their loans. Find more details on the lender. https://www.huntington.com/
Dayton Ohio Black owned businesses can participate in the Gem City Black Business Month. It is a month long event with workshops and seminars all across the city. Network, learn about grant and loan programs, build partnerships with other minority business owners, find revenue opportunities and so much more. Learn about this free event. https://www.ohiofrn.org/events/gem-city-black-business-month
May and June 2021
Cincinnati area minority, women and LGBTQ owned small businesses can apply for free grants from the Cincinnati Chamber Foundation as well as the Johnson Foundation. Anywhere from 5,000 to $10,000 will be paid out to qualified businesses. The applicant needs a business plan, references, need to be a small business, have sales and more. Most of the financial help is for service businesses (that are “customer facing”) and that have been hot hard by recent economic challenges. Apply here. https://www.cincinnatichamber.com/foundation-grant
Columbus Ohio companies can apply to First Financial Bancorp. The bank is offering several grants of $2500 to Black, Indigenous, Latino and people of color (BIPOC) small businesses. The Columbus Urban League is partnering with the lender. All the grants are part of the Small Business Resiliency Initiative. The money is for Columbus metro area, including all counties around it. Learn more. https://share.hsforms.com/1KZE8VLQ6TEWNSTv-FrZebA4nxxw?fbclid=IwAR2EqDZcUnC6NlMppteljwSZzVqDj7rsWlwA43VAvWKuFhGhR0d4dZh-xLY
Sandusky Ohio minority owned and founded companies can apply for a free $2000 grant. The funds are provided from the Minority Business Empowerment Team. Dozens of businesses will be awarded the money, and the funds can be used to pay aby type of bill. Grants are run in partnership with local non-profits in Erie County Ohio including the Economy Development Corporation. Apply here. https://www.eriecountyedc.org/rise
Minority owned businesses in the city of Cincinnati can apply to the J. Phillip Holloman Endowment Fund. It is run by the City Chamber of Commerce. Minority owned businesses (including Black, Latino, Native American, Asian, etc.) can get funds to help them grow their business. It is an accelerator program. Equity investments, loans, or grants may be issued and free advice as well as business help arranged. First Financial Bank is a partner. Learn more/Apply here. https://www.cincinnatichamber.com/
October and November 2020
Toledo and Lucas County is offering funds to help both (1) non-profits and (2) private, for profit businesses. Most of the funds will be allocated to minority as well as veteran or women owned businesses. The funds can be used to pay utilities, rent, housing, and other small business expenses. Black, Latino, women, LGBTQ, and other disadvantaged business are given priority. Funding is limited, but read more here. https://www.toledochamber.com/grant.html
$8 million dollars is being offered in Franklin County and the City of Columbus. CARES Act funding is flowing to the county, and money can help small businesses as well as start ups. Priority is for vulnerable small businesses that were hot by Coronavirus. Black owned businesses, Latino, women, Asian, and other minority companies are often given priority. This is a free grant program. Call (614) 257-6300 for applications.
Columbus and Franklin County residents can get grants from the A Business Growth and Equity Alliance. About $1.6 million dollars will be allocated by the Urban League of Columbus Ohio to minority (Black, Asian, LAtion, etc.) as well as women owned businesses. In addition, free technical assistance is offered to help them grow their business, increase sales, and get the support they need. The Urban League is disbursing the free grants. Dial (614) 257-6300 or https://www.cul.org/
By Jon McNamara