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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

Resources to Build Your Business Opening a small business requires careful consideration of your market, a firm business plan, and the discipline to protect what is most important to you at this time–your financial capital. Through the office of the Small Business Concierge and the Small Business Builder, you will be connected with the resources necessary to help you accomplish your goals.

Behind every good business is a solid business plan. Columbus is nationally recognized for its wide variety of free business resources that will assist you in crafting a sound business and marketing plan, finding the right employees, obtaining financing, and how to properly account for your business. - learn more

Your Specific Business Roadmap Starting your own business in Columbus just became a lot easier. Here is the heart and soul of the Small Business Builder. Below are links to various industries and the steps necessary at the city, county, state, and federal level for turning your business idea into reality:
         •     Restaurant
         •     Day Care Center
         •     Salon/Barber Shop

Helpful Government Links Perhaps you have a question and already know where you want to look. For your convenience, here are a few important departments and agencies that will be able to assist you in getting your business off the ground.

City of Columbus:
         •   Department of Building and Zoning Services
         •   Department of Development
         •   Equal Business Opportunity Commission
         •   Columbus Public Health
         •   Public Safety
         •   Fire Division
         •   Income Tax Division

If you are an existing business of 50 employees or less, are registered with the City of Columbus as a vendor, and are looking for professional development opportunities for yourself or your staff, please check out the City's Small Business Training Program! You can receive training in hiring practices, social media management, career development, financial planning, and so much more!

State of Ohio and U.S. Agencies:
         •   Starting a Business in Ohio – OH Secretary of State
         •   "Thinking About Starting a Business?" – SBA.gov

Columbus Economic Development Division

We're here for you. Our department works hard to make sure you have everything you need to evaluate Columbus as a potential future home to your business.  Upon contacting us, we'll immediately begin compiling and organizing the most critical information into a customized presentation to help you make the most informed decision-including information about:

  • Available real estate
  • Business taxes
  • Community tours
  • Demographics & economic data
  • Financial incentives
  • Introductions to community leaders
  • Regulatory navigation assistance
  • Workforce development & training

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