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Grow Cincinnati Loan Fund

The Grow Cincinnati Fund was created to provide capital for fixed assets, working capital, and eligible refinancing to small businesses located in the City of Cincinnati. It is used to encourage expansion and increase the capacity of small business by providing ‘gap’ debt financing and access to technical assistance. Funding is available to successful growing or emerging small businesses that meet our underwriting requirements.

What Businesses Are Eligible:

For profit businesses that have collateral sufficient to secure the loan and have adequate historical or projected cash flow to repay the debt.

Ineligible Businesses / Organizations

  • Social service agencies to care for or rehabilitate people
  • 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

How Much Can Be Borrowed

Typical loan amounts range from $100,000 to $300,000 with a maximum of $2,000,000 as permitted by the U.S. SBA.

How Can Funds Be Used

• Permanent Working Capital Up to 7 years
• Machinery and equipment Up to 10 years
• Tenant Improvements Terms Terms of the Lease, Up to 20 years
• Construction/Renovations Terms Terms up to 25 years
• Acquisition of Real Estate Terms Up to 25 years

* Combined uses will determine other term.

What are the advantages of this program?

  • Loan term equal to the life of the assets being financed.
  • Low equity requirements.
    • 10% for real estate acquisition
    • 100% for all other eligible finance
  • Variable or fixed interest rates, generally below market rates.
  • Flexible underwriting criteria.
  • Limited pre-payment penalties.
  • Loans tailored to individual borrowers.

Who is the ideal borrower?

  • A for-profit business that has been operating for two or more years.
  • The business has a financing need above $100,000.
  • The business has demonstrated historical cash flow to service existing and new debt.
  • A business which will create or retain jobs as a result of the loan.
  • Nonprofits, real estate developers, and investment advisory firms are ineligible. 

General Requirements

Borrowers must:

  • Maintain the business within City limits for the entire loan term.
  • Demonstrate ability to repay loan within a reasonable time period.

What should be submitted?

  • Completed application
  • Three years of business tax returns.
  • Interim income statement, balance sheet, AR & AP aging schedules no more than 90 days old.
  • Business debt schedule.
  • One year of sales and cost projections.
  • Three years of personal tax returns.
  • Management experience, resumes.
  • Credit release form. 

How do I learn more?

Contact The City of Cincinnati's Economic Development Division at (513) 352-4981 or

Download the Grow Cincinnati Loan Fund Brochure



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