Funding Options & Incentives


Funding Options & Incentives

Appleseed Microfinance, which is based at the Braintree Business Development Center in Mansfield, provides small capital for small businesses in the 21 counties of Northeast Ohio. Eligible businesses with annual revenues of less than $1 million can receive loans between $1,000 and $35,000, which can be used for equipment, inventory, business debt restructuring, working capital, and short-term projects. Startups and existing businesses, as well as home-based companies, are all encouraged to apply.

The length of these loans depends on the loan amount and the investor’s use of funds, with a maximum term of five years. In addition:

  • The loan’s interest rate is fixed at the prime rate + 4%
  • Loans require a personal guarantee from all owners

A non-refundable $50 application fee is required, and the closing fee is 1% of the loan amount.

View the Website

The Collateral Enhancement Program (CEP) uses federal funding to improve access to capital for Ohio’s small businesses. The CEP provides lending institutions with cash collateral deposits to use as additional collateral for loans made to eligible for-profit small businesses. Under the CEP, the Ohio Development Services Agency will open an interest-bearing account with a Lender and deposit up to 30 percent of the loan amount where there is a collateral shortfall as determined by the Lender and the Ohio Development Services Agency (up to 50 percent of the loan amount for minority-owned businesses or businesses located in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone).

The Energy Loan Fund is a program that provides low-cost financing to small businesses and manufacturers for energy improvements that reduce energy usage and associated costs, reduce fossil fuel emissions, and/or create or retain jobs. Funding is provided through the Advanced Energy Fund and the federal State Energy Program and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Eligible activities include energy retrofits, energy distribution technologies, and renewable energy technologies. Projects must achieve a 15 percent reduction in energy usage, demonstrate economic and environmental impacts, and be included within a long-term energy strategy of the community served.

Natural resource-based business/recycling loans, downtown revitalization loans in communities of less than 25,000 population, and renewable energy loans to help farms and rural businesses to be more energy efficient through renewable energy sources: geothermal, solar, and wind.

View the Website

InvestOhio is a new tool to infuse much-needed capital into Ohio’s small businesses, helping them create jobs. The nearly 900,000 small businesses in Ohio are one of the backbones of the state’s economy. InvestOhio encourages investors to actively support these small businesses, sparking growth, and improving Ohio’s competitive position. The program, administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Taxation, is expected to generate at least $1 billion in new private investment in Ohio small businesses by 2013.

Unlocking the full potential of diverse and ambitious entrepreneurs to economically transform entire communities.

In response to the need for job and wealth creation in Northeast Ohio, the region’s civic, community, and philanthropic leaders came together in 2003 and provided the vision and leadership for a solution: a unique partnership between public and private entities charged with creating economic transformation in Northeast Ohio through the growth of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

View the Website

The Ohio Brownfield Fund is a collection of funding sources that can be used to help plan, assess, and remediate brownfields throughout the state. A brownfield is a piece of property whose redevelopment is complicated by the potential presence of environmental contaminants such as hazardous substances, asbestos, lead-based paint, and petroleum. Brownfield redevelopment allows a community to reclaim and improve its lands, making property viable for new development.

The Ohio Capital Access Program encourages lending to businesses creating or retaining jobs by establishing a unique credit enhancement reserve account at participating Capital Access Program lenders. The state, the lender, and the business each make a small contribution to the account. The reserve account is available to the lender for recovery of losses associated with any loan the lender has enrolled in the program.

The Community Reinvestment Area program provides local real property tax incentives for residents and businesses that invest in designated areas of Ohio. The designated areas are created and administered by the municipality or county in which it is located, and the area must be formally confirmed by the director of the Development Services Agency. Real property investors meeting the local criteria thresholds must apply to the municipality or county for the real property tax exemption.

This program is administered locally by a Community Reinvestment Area housing officer. For more information, please call 419-289-3200.

The Ohio Enterprise Zone Program provides real property tax incentives for businesses that expand or locate in Ohio (and may provide personal property tax incentives for those qualifying businesses that continue to pay personal property tax). Municipalities or counties must apply to the director of the Development Services Agency to have a zone certified in their jurisdiction. To secure tax incentives for qualified new real and/or personal property investment, a non-retail business must apply to the local community prior to making the investment.

This program is administered at the local level by an Enterprise Zone Manager. For more information, please call 419-289-3200.

The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a 25 percent tax credit for the rehabilitation expenses to owners and lessees of historically significant buildings. A building is eligible if it is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places; contributes to a National Register Historic District, National Park Service Certified Historic District, or Certified Local Government historic district; or is listed as a local landmark by a Certified Local Government. The program is competitive and receives applications bi-annually in March and September.

The Ohio Minority Business Direct Loan Program provides fixed, low-interest rate loans to certified minority-owned businesses that are purchasing or improving fixed assets and creating or retaining jobs. The loans can be used to finance up to 40 percent of the project value and require participation by another lender.

The Regional 166 Direct Loan provides low-interest loans to businesses creating new jobs or retaining existing employment opportunities at the project site in Ohio.  The program promotes economic development, business expansion, job creation and/or job retention by providing low-interest loans to businesses who may have limited access to adequate capital from private sources of financing.

Roadwork Development (629) funds are available for public roadway improvements, including engineering and design costs. Funds are available for projects primarily involving manufacturing, research and development, high technology, corporate headquarters, and distribution activity. Projects must typically create or retain jobs. Grants are usually provided to local jurisdictions and require local participation.

Entrepreneurial Support