Cuyahoga County Expands Small Business Administration Municipal Grant Program

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Jeane’ Holley, (216) 698-2544;

Cleveland, OH – Cuyahoga County is pleased to announce expansion of the Small Business Administration (SBA) Municipal Grant Program, a program that supports small business growth with financing to create jobs. The expansion of the program is being extended into up to three inner ring suburbs.

In 2015, Cuyahoga County launched a pilot of the SBA Municipal Grant Program with the City of Cleveland and Shaker Heights. The City of Cleveland provided funding to 25 small businesses, using $401,574 of County grant funds to create 36 jobs. The City of Shaker Heights provided funding to 5 small business, using $92,483 of County grant funds to create 17 jobs.

“Cuyahoga County is thrilled to support the expansion of this small business development program, that has been so successful in the cities of Cleveland and Shaker Heights, to more inner ring suburbs,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “We appreciate the support of the Cleveland office of the United States Small Business Administration, one of our key small business partners, along with the Economic and Community Development Institute, the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, the National Development Council and Grow Cuyahoga Fund, and JumpStart. We look forward to announcing the newly added participating cities in July.”

Under the initiative, small businesses in participating communities are eligible for performance grants/forgivable loans up to 15% of the businesses’ expansion project or working capital need provided the amount does not exceed $50,000. Start-up businesses are also eligible under the initiative. Businesses must have 10% equity, be willing to receive technical assistance from one of three Small Business Development Centers in Cuyahoga County, and qualify for an SBA loan.

“This program expansion, fully supports our commitment and strategy to growing existing businesses in our County,” said Ted Carter, Cuyahoga County Chief Economic Development & Business Officer. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy.”

Once the County announces the added municipalities, small businesses in participating municipalities need to either contact their lending institution or their municipal economic development staff to apply. The performance grant/forgivable loan is funded through a separate account established by the County and municipality. The municipality is the administrator of the account and will be the small business’ main point of contact.

The County and the participating inner ring suburb/municipality hope to create jobs through this initiative by focusing on those businesses that need a little extra support, through the performance grant/forgivable loan, to qualify for an SBA loan.

“This is an important initiative that combines the force of the U.S. Small Business Administration and its participating banking partners with funding directly from Cuyahoga County and inner ring suburbs,” said Gil Goldberg, District Director, Small Business Administration. “To me, it’s importance stems from three interrelated factors. First, the county and city funding is leveraged with an SBA loan supplied by participating SBA financial institutions so that there is a greater bang for the buck. Second, that greater bang for the buck enables more businesses to qualify for SBA loans. And thirdly, the initiative has enabled the County and the City of Cleveland and Shaker Heights to create one job for every $3,500 in performance grant funding. That is unbelievable.”

“The SBA County Municipal Grant program has been helpful in the City’s efforts to reach out to and support our neighborhood-serving businesses,” said Mayor Leiken, City of Shaker Heights. “The partnership with the SBA and SBDC has ensured that Shaker Heights businesses receive the coaching and banking connections they need to establish themselves and grow in our community. The matching financial support of Cuyahoga County extends the City’s economic development funding ability and fills the equity gap that businesses often face in applying for an SBA loan.”

Municipalities within Cuyahoga County interested in the program must submit an application to the Cuyahoga County Department of Development by June 30, 2017. For additional information call (216) 443-7260.