Small Business Hearing - June 4 2020

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther Small Business Assessment Announcement
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther
Small Business Assessment Announcement

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Reimagining Small Business Initiative
Reimagining Small Business Initiative

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Economic Development Division
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Columbus, Ohio 43215


Columbus-Franklin County COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund 

Columbus-Franklin County COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery FundOn May 28, 2020, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, City Council President Shannon Hardin and JPMorgan Chase announced the Columbus COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund program, created to help small businesses in Columbus through the challenges of COVID-19.  The City of Columbus will use $5.5 million received through a Federal CARES Act allocation to support the program, and JPMorgan Chase will contribute $250,000 to assist in providing technical assistance to small businesses in support of the City’s efforts.

The City will also be partnering with Franklin County in this initiative. However, slightly different criteria applies for non-City of Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio applicants.

The City has created three (3) small business recovery programs to assist businesses, with less than twenty-five (25) employees, with an emphasis on microenterprises with fewer than 5 employees, to help them better position themselves to weather this COVID created economic downturn. 

The application process opened at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9.  Business owners will collaborate with regional Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) and Technical Assistance Providers to complete and submit an application.

Two of the three fund programs require your business site location to be within the City’s Low to Moderate Income Area boundaries.  Please verify your business site location here.  Learn more about the application process here.

The new programs are as follows:

Small Business Recovery Grants 
Goal: Financial Relief
– To provide financial assistance to existing small businesses including enterprises operating in Low and Moderate Income (LMI) areas of the City of Columbus, in the form of a grant, with the goal of job retention.
Grants up to $10,000 per applicant

Small Business Return Safely (Personal Protective Equipment) Grants 
Goal: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Procurement Assistance
– To provide financial support to assist existing small businesses throughout the City of Columbus in securing PPEs and/or making necessary COVID-19 health/safety improvements required to re-open their businesses safely for their customers and employees.
Grants up to $5,000, per applicant, with a 1:1 match requirement with the qualifying business

Small Business Pivot Loan Program 
Goal: New Market Expansion; Job Retention and Creation
– To provide small businesses, in Low and Moderate Income areas of the City of Columbus, access to low interest loan funding if a business has identified new markets for existing products, new services or new products lines that the business can expand into with the goal of maintaining existing business operations, while retaining existing jobs, creating new jobs or making capital investments due to unexpected market growth.  
Loan Amount Max 50% of Total Business/Project Expansion/Opportunity Cost up to $20,000 – whichever is less

The Small Business Agenda presents a bold vision for real change: our concerted, strategic effort has the power to bridge the small business ecosystem gaps and lift up all small business owners. This is our moment to come together to ensure that America’s Opportunity City rises to the challenge of creating a small business ecosystem that propels every resident toward prosperity.

Our Process

These short-term wins will spark momentum for the multi-year Small Business Agenda and lead to a paradigm shift in how we support small businesses in Columbus
Short Term Wins

Select target neighborhoods and identify Neighborhood Small Business Liaisons for spearheading community partnerships and expanding awareness of resources
Conduct focus groups among entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) to identify collective training needs and capability gaps, and hold ESO-led trainings to address identified gaps

Develop a capital readiness curriculum and create a standard capital readiness assessment process to prepare small business owners to take advantage of capital options
Engage anchor institutions that currently purchase from local small businesses and hold initial anchor collective meeting to outline goals for promoting “buy local” thinking