Cuyahoga County awards small business grants to Cleveland Heights, Fairview Park, Lakewood, Maple Heights

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cuyahoga County will award $600,000 in federal grants to Cleveland Heights, Fairview Park, Lakewood and Maple Heights so they can give forgivable loans to small businesses.

Each city will receive $150,000 and will contribute $50,000 to match the award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Small Business Administration Municipal Grant Program supports small business growth with financing to create jobs. In 2015 the county launched a pilot program with Cleveland and Shaker Heights.

Cleveland received a $500,000 grant and Shaker Heights received $250,000. The county said each city matched the award.

The investments leveraged more than $11 million of bank loans to 30 small businesses, creating 55 new jobs and retaining 96 existing jobs, the county said. The program included support for women- and minority-owned businesses.

The county also announced Tuesday that it will award an additional $250,000 matching grant to Cleveland to continue the small business program.

The county chose the other cities from 22 inner-ring cities asked to submit applications.

“We are very glad that the county is expanding this important economic development initiative beyond the two pilot cities of Shaker Heights and the City of Cleveland,” Gil Goldberg, U.S Small Business Administration district director, said in a statement. “The expansion of the funds from the County coupled with $50,000 from each of the four additional municipalities will provide Cleveland Heights, Fairview Park, Lakewood, and Maple Heights with a pool of $200,000 that will be leveraged with SBA loans to provide a total economic impact of $2 million to $3 million in funding for small businesses in each of the four inner-ring suburbs.”

Under the new initiative, small businesses in the communities are eligible for performance grants/forgivable loans for:

  • up to 15 percent of the cost of the businesses’ expansion project
  • working capital up to $50,000

Start-up businesses are also eligible. Businesses must have 10-percent equity and be willing to receive technical assistance from one of three Small Business Development Centers in Cuyahoga County, and qualify for an SBA loan, the county said in June when it announced the expansion of the program.

Small businesses in the cities can apply through their banks or city halls.

The performance grant/forgivable loan is paid for individuals accounts account established by the county and the city. The city administers the account and will be the small business’ main point of contact.

“Our partnership with the SBA is a core component to our strategy to create a value for our municipal clients and a continuum of capital for our small business formation and job creation.” Ted Carter, the county’s chief economic development officer said in a statement. “We look forward to expanding this to other communities.”

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