MicroCity Loan

This fund provides small business loans up to $35,000 and is used to encourage expansion by providing “gap” debt financing.

 For-profit businesses with five or fewer employees that have adequate historical or projected cash flow. The owner may be one of the employees. 

 Loan proceeds may be used for any legitimate business purpose including: 

• Permanent working capital
• Machinery and equipment
• Tenant improvements
• Construction/renovations.
• Acquisition of real estate. 

MicroCity Fund loans cannot be used to refinance existing debt. 

Loans are for eligible Community Development Block Grant Entitlement Program activities that meet National Objectives for job creation/retention, low or moderate income area benefit or prevention/ elimination of slum and blight. 

 Borrowers must:
• Comply with City environmental requirements.
• Maintain the business within City limits for the entire loan term.
• Demonstrate the ability to repay the loan within a reasonable time period. 

 • Social service agencies
• Religious institutions
• Non-profit service providers
• Private clubs with membership restrictions
• Venture capital investments
• Any use prohibited by City, state, or federal regulation or law

Grow Cincinnati Fund

This fund provides capital for fixed assets, working capital and eligible refinancing to small businesses located in Cincinnati. It is designed to encourage expansion and to increase the capacity of the city’s small businesses by providing gap debt financing and access to technical assistance.

• Low equity requirements.
• Terms up to 25 years for real property improvement.
• Can provide permanent working capital.
• The business must have a financing need of at least $100,000.
• Nonprofits, real estate developers, and investment advisory firms are ineligible. 

• Working capital
• Machinery & equipment
• Tenant improvements
• Renovations
• Acquisition of real estate
• Refinancing debt

 • Loan term equal to the life of the assets being financed
• Low equity requirements (10% for real estate acquisition, 0% for all other eligible uses)
• Variable or fixed interest rates, generally below market rates
• Flexible underwriting criteria
• Limited pre-payment penalties

• Any owner with 20% or more interest must provide a personal guarantee.
• A loan must be collateralized, to the extent possible, with available assets.
• Demonstrated ability to repay a loan with existing and projected cash flow.
• A for-profit business that has been operating for two or more years. 

OpenCincy Business Portal

The OpenCincy tool identifies and estimates the permits, licenses, and fees needed to open or expand your business in the City of Cincinnati.

Calculate my permits
Eric Denson
Eric DensonSmall Business Team

Women, Minority & Small Business Enterprises

In conjunction with the City of Cincinnati Department of Economic Inclusion, we work to identify opportunities for minority business enterprises (MBE), small business enterprises (SBE), and women business enterprises to do business with the City. The Department of Economic Inclusion has created a certification process to ensure that these enterprise groups can participate in as many projects as possible; not just as subcontractors, but as prime contractors.


Department of Economic Inclusion