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Start your small business or nonprofit in Cincinnati.


Resources for Starting a Cincinnati Small Business

Business banking lenders, incubators, and more.  

Find what you need to start a nonprofit.

Available certifications and business training in Cincinnati.  


These resources can help you start a small business or nonprofit

Starting a Cincinnati small business or nonprofit can be difficult and time-consuming, but many resources are available to help you.


Starting a business involves planning, making critical financial decisions, and completing a series of legal documents. Many questions will arise during the process, so consult these resources when making important decisions. Below, we have compiled organizations and events to help you start a Cincinnati small business or nonprofit and succeed.


The information in this article is as current as the publication date. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information prior to acting.  

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513 Small Business Assist

All eligible small businesses can receive one-on-one support with grant applications, business planning, marketing, access to funding, and much more.


Access Business Development and Finance

Exists to guide growing small businesses on their journey of expansion and development by focusing on experience, persistence, and innovation to help 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 most excellent 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.


HCDC Lending

HCDC finances the expansion of growing businesses through the SBA 504 loan program and other long-term, fixed-rate financing tools used to purchase real estate and equipment


Huntington Bank SBA Loan Programs

Operating as the #1 SBA lender in the region for many 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.


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.


Related Article: Cincinnati small business resources are available today for your business.



Business Development

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


Cincinnati Regional Chamber

A searchable links database is in development and provides resources for starting a business and finding qualified workers.


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.


HCDC Economic Development

HCDC strengthens communities by retaining, expanding, and attracting businesses to Hamilton County, Ohio, with financing, incentives, and expert technical assistance.


The Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative

An entrepreneurial education program that provides Entrepreneurship Education, Small Business Training, Business Coaching, and Access to Capital


Minority Business Development Agency

Works throughout the Nation to link minority-owned businesses with the capital, contracts, and markets they need to grow.


Ohio SBDC at the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati

Provides comprehensive business management and education services and offers 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 conducts various educational seminars on establishing and managing a successful small business or nonprofit.


Small Business Administration

Provides valuable information and resources on starting a business, business structure, permits, financing, growing, and managing a business.



StartupCincy is a community of entrepreneurs, BigCos, educators, investors, creatives, and enthusiasts.





City of Cincinnati Department of Economic Inclusion Business Certification Programs

Administers three business enterprise programs with a total of five certification types. These programs aim to expand opportunities for small, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses as 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) ensures that small businesses receive fair opportunities to participate in ODOT contracting and consulting activities. 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 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.


Related Article: Check out the largest Black-owned businesses in Cincinnati





Information and resources regarding starting a small business are abundant, but valuable information on initiating 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.


Grants Resource Center for Nonprofits

Provides visitors with free public access to grantmaker directories, books on fundraising, proposal writing, and nonprofit management, as well as the Foundation Center’s electronic databases.


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 aids in the process of starting a nonprofit. Starting a Nonprofit

Starting a nonprofit is an exciting and rewarding opportunity, but it can also be challenging. Find valuable information and services to help through the process at



Related Article: Job assistance and workforce development programs



There are resources and events for every type of small business or nonprofit that fits your passion. Contact neighborhood business associations and districts for additional support and help. If there are other resources for starting a Cincinnati small business or nonprofit that we have missed, please contact The Voice of Black Cincinnati.



Written by: Crystal Kendrick


The Voice of Black Cincinnati is a media company designed to educate, recognize and create opportunities for African Americans. Want to find local news, events, job posting, scholarships, and a database of local Black-owned businesses? Visit our homepage, explore other articles, subscribe to our newsletter, like our Facebook page, join our Facebook group, and text VOBC to 513-270-3880.


Starting a Cincinnati Small Business © [Drobot Dean] /Adobe Stock

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Crystal Kendrick

Written by Crystal Kendrick

Publisher, The Voice of Black Cincinnati