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Follow your dreams. Start your Small Business or Nonprofit in Cincinnati!

Starting a Cincinnati small business or nonprofit can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but there are so many resources that are available to help you through the process. Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal documents. Many questions will arise during the process so be sure to consult these resources when making important decisions.

Below, we have compiled organizations and events to assist you in starting a Cincinnati small business or nonprofit and succeeding.  See below for a list of resources.

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Finance/Credit

Access Business Development and Finance
Exists to guide growing small businesses on their journey of expansion and development by focusing experience, persistence and innovation to the purpose of helping clients achieve business goals and objectives.

Chase Bank SBA Loan Programs
Their SBA loan programs include 7(a) Business Loans, Express Term Loans, and 504 Loans.

Fifth Third Bank Small Business Financing
Committed to working with small businesses to give them the greatest chance for success by providing resources regarding banking, borrowing, cash management, and more. Their SBA loan programs include 7(a) Business Loans, 504 Loans, CAPline, Express, and Veterans Advantage.

First Financial Bank SBA Loan Programs
Their SBA loan programs include 7(a) Business Loans, 504 Loans, CAPline, Express, Export Express, International Trade Loans, and 7(a) Small Loans.

JobsOhio Loan and Grant Programs
Offers a Growth Fund Loan, Economic Development Grant, Research and Development Grant, Workforce Grant, and a Revitalization Program for businesses in Ohio.

Huntington Bank SBA Loan Programs
Operating as the #1 SBA lender in the region for the last 8 years, their SBA loan programs include 7(a) Business Loans, 504 Loans, and Express Loans.

KeyBank SBA Loan Programs
Operating as a leading SBA Preferred Lender, their SBA loan programs include 7(a) Business Loans, 504 Loans, CAPline, and Express.

Ohio Development Services Agency Business Grants, Loans, and Tax Credits
The Ohio Development Services Agency has a variety of bonds, grants, loans, and tax credits that can assist Ohio companies as they grow and create jobs in Ohio.

PNC Bank SBA Loan Programs
Their small business loan programs include 7(a) Business Loans, 504 Loans, Express, Export Express, and Veterans Advantage. 

Small Business Administration Loan Program
SBA offers a variety of loan programs, such as General Small Business Loans, Disaster Loans, Microloans, and Real Estate and Equipment Loans.

Business Development

African American Chamber of Commerce
Goal is to establish consumer and business relationships, increase opportunities, and assist in developing partnerships to strengthen and grow the African American business community.

Business.Ohio.gov
This resource provides online resources for starting a business, hiring and training, filings and payments, licenses and permits, laws and regulations, environment, financial assistance, and doing business with the state.

Cincinnati Regional Chamber
Provides resources regarding starting a business and finding qualified workers. Also, provides a searchable links database to locate small business resources and information.

City of Cincinnati Business Resources
Resource categories include topics on Doing Business in Cincinnati, Doing Business with City Government, Business Services and Incentives, and Green Business.

Downtown Cincinnati Small Business Support
Assists in developing policies, procedures and practices that encourage small business growth in downtown Cincinnati with an emphasis on women and minority-owned businesses.

The Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative
Entrepreneurial education program that provides Entrepreneurship Education, Small Business Training, Business Coaching, Access to Capital, and supportive resources for low to moderate income individuals or business owners.

Minority Business Development Agency
Works throughout the Nation to link minority-owned businesses with the capital, contracts, and markets they need to grow. In addition, they also advocate for and promote minority-owned business with elected officials, policy makers, and business leaders.

MORTAR
Mission is to enable under-served entrepreneurs and businesses to succeed and create opportunities to build communities through entrepreneurship.

Ohio Development Services Minority Business Development
Supports the growth and sustainability of small, minority and disadvantaged businesses in Ohio by providing them with technical and professional assistance, access to capital and bonding, and connection to business opportunities.

Ohio SBDC at the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati
Provides comprehensive business management and education services and offer free, confidential, in-depth, one-on-one counseling and low- or no-cost training.

SCORE Greater Cincinnati
Provides free confidential business counseling to small businesses and conduct a variety of educational seminars on establishing and managing a successful small business or nonprofit.

Small Business Administration
Provides important information and resources on starting a business, business structure, business permits, and financing, growing, and managing a business.

StartupCincy
StartupCincy is a community of entrepreneurs, BigCos, educators, investors, creatives, and enthusiasts. Their mission is to build a sustainable, tech-based economy for our city, our region and the entire Midwest. 

StartupCincy Accelerators & Incubators
Accelerators are organizations that offer a range of support services and funding opportunities for startups. StartupCincy accelerators include The Brandery, First Batch, Founder Institute, Minority Business Accelerator, Ocean, UC Accelerator, and UpTech. An incubator is an organization that provides startups with a shared operation space and networking opportunities, mentoring resources and access to shared equipment. StartupCincy incubators include Bad Girl Ventures, Hamilton Mill, and HCDC.

Certification/Training

City of Cincinnati Department of Economic Inclusion Business Certification Programs
Administers three business enterprise programs with a total of five certification types. The goal of these programs is to expand opportunities for small, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses as both subcontractors and prime contractors on City projects. 

Department of Veteran’s Affairs Verification Program
Offers the Vets First Verification Program for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) set-aside and sole source contracts.

 Ohio Department of Administrative Services MBE and EDGE Certification Programs
Strives to maximize contracting opportunities through certification of minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, and socially and economically disadvantaged businesses with the Minority Business Enterprise Program (MBE) and the Encouraging Diversity, Growth, and Equity Program (EDGE).

Ohio Department of Transportation DBE and SBE Certification Programs
The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE) applies to federal-aid highway dollars expended on federally-assisted contracts issued by USDOT recipients. The Small Business Enterprise Program (SBE) is established to ensure that small businesses receive fair opportunities to participate in ODOT contracting and consulting activities.

Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council Certification
Certification with the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council as an MBE provides valuable resources to help small businesses grow and succeed.

Ohio Turnpike Office of Equity and Inclusion
Works to ensure that minority and disadvantaged businesses have an opportunity to transact business by providing applications to become certified as an SBE, MBE, or DBE.

Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program
Offers assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Small Business Administration HUBzone
The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
WBENC Certification validates that the business is 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women and gives women owned businesses the ability to compete for business opportunities provided by WBENC Members and government agencies.

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There is an abundance of information and resources regarding starting a small business, but good information on starting a nonprofit is harder to come by. Here we have compiled a list of some of the best resources to assist in every stage of starting a nonprofit.

Nonprofits

Grants Resource Center for Nonprofits
Provides visitors with free public access to grant maker directories, books on fundraising, proposal writing, and nonprofit management, as well as the Foundation Center’s electronic databases.

Greenhouse for Nonprofits
Home of Cincinnati’s first nonprofit accelerator that was developed to enhance the productivity of members through shared services, training, and best practices, and the formation of strategic alliances.

National Council of Nonprofits
Serves as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. They identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit nonprofits and the communities they serve.

Ohio Grant Watch
Provides subscribers with the opportunity to find grants for a nonprofit, 501c3, NGO, education, religious or community organization, government agency or small business.

Ohio Guide to Starting a Nonprofit
The Ohio Secretary of State’s office authorizes companies to do business in Ohio and strives to make the filing process as straightforward as possible. This guide provides assistance on the process of starting a nonprofit.

USA.gov Starting a Nonprofit
Starting a nonprofit is an exciting and rewarding opportunity, but it can also be challenging. Find important information and services to help through the process on USA.gov.

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There are resources and events for every type of small business or nonprofit that fits your passion.  Be sure to reach out to neighborhood business associations and districts, such as the East Walnut Hills Business Association  and the West End Business Association for additional support and resources. If there are other resources for starting a Cincinnati small business or nonprofit that we have missed, please contact The Voice of Black Cincinnati.




The Voice of Black Cincinnati is a media company designed to educate, recognize and create opportunities for African Americans in the region. Visit our homepage, explore other articles, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook for local news, events, job postings, scholarships and a database of local Black-owned businesses.

 

 

Written by Crystal Kendrick

President of The Voice of Your Customer and founder of The Voice of Black Cincinnati.