There’s new help for small businesses to navigate assistance programs

There’s lots of money, resources, and programs out there to help small businesses get back on their post-pandemic feet. Successfully navigating those programs is another story.

To help with jumping through the hoops, Hamilton County just launched a program called 513 Small Business Assist to help remove the barriers business owners face when winding their way through the bureaucracy of recovery assistance programs.
The program will allow eligible small businesses to receive one-on-one support with grant applications, business planning, marketing, and access to funding.
And by “small business,” they mean really small. Businesses must have 50 or fewer employees to qualify, and preference will be given to businesses with five or fewer workers.

The program works like this: Small business owners will complete an assessment and then are provided with an initial recommendation, within two business days, of what support and services they should receive and a gauge of their level of readiness to access the funding. They are then matched to an organization that can support them.

A representative from the organization will follow up for a one-on-one consultation within two or three business days after the report is received.
Business owners can consult a business advisor on their business plan and areas that need support, connect to funding programs and grant opportunities, and get direct support throughout the application process.

They can also get access to experts who can help make legal, marketing, financial management, or accounting improvements to the enterprise.
Businesses must be located in municipalities within Hamilton County. No vices are allowed — Gambling, liquor, and adult entertainment establishments do not qualify.

The program brings together a working coalition of organizations with a mission of helping small businesses, including HCDC Inc., Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, African American Chamber of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati USA Hispanic Chamber, Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative, and the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio.

The funders include Hamilton County Commissioners, Fifth Third Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

For more information, email [email protected] or call 513-273-0503.
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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.