Business Recruitment Initiative for Over-the-Rhine
The mission of the Business First Grant Program is to benefit the city by strengthening the local economy, increasing business and employment opportunities, and animating the sidewalks of OTR.
The Rewards of BFGP
Businesses that are selected through the Business First Grant Program’s competitive process will be awarded a matching grant up to $20,000 for tenant improvements (TI) and furniture, fixtures and equipment (FFE).The funds will be distributed through a reimbursement process through the Chamber.
Additionally, the BFG Program works to create a support network for the new business.Ongoing mentoring will be provided for the three year duration of the program.The Review Committee will match the new business owner a committee member mentor and with an established business owner in OTR based on the needs of the business. This match is based on the set of skills required and common interests. The Review Committee may also refer the new business to local business resources to strengthen areas of the business that present a challenge to the business’ success. A member of the Review Committee will meet with the business owner regularly to address any concerns the business owner may have and assist the business owner in updating her/his Business Plan.
2013 Program Goals
Promote diversity among business owners in OTR.
Increase customer traffic, safety, and return on investment.
Support capital improvement in unused and underutilized storefronts for business occupation in OTR.
Mentor and encourage businesses that strengthen the neighborhood as a viable and diverse place to live, work and play.
Provide an environment for individuals, entrepreneurs, investors and businesses to thrive.
Desirable businesses include retail, neighborhood services, light manufacturing, large employers who hire from within OTR, Women/Minority Business Enterprises, and those that locate in an area that is compatible with the tenanting strategy for the neighborhood (see downloadable map below). Ineligible businesses include convenience stores, check-cashing services, temporary labor services, churches, social services, home-based businesses, and businesses that are not compatible with adjacent residential uses.
How to Apply
Download an application and submit to the OTR Chamber of Commerce via mail (111 E 13th Street, 45202) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this entire page carefully, paying close attention to what is expected with the completed application. Please feel free to contact the Chamber with questions at (513) 241-2690. Applications will be reviewed twice annually through a competitive process. The Chamber is ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for the 2013 1st Half Year Review. Deadline for submission to the Chamber is now June 15, 2013.
The Application Process
Applicants must submit a completed application to the Chamber prior to opening up for business. The Application form can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. The submission should include a:
·Professional Business Plan that clearly articulates the business model, demographics of target population, staffing plans, experience of personnel, hours of operation, marketing strategy, and includes detailed cash flow projections.
·Three Year Lease including the landlord’s contact information so the Chamber can contact her/him to discuss the terms of the lease.
·Detailed Build-Out Costs of space clearly defining what will be provided by the landlord and what is the responsibility of the tenant.
The applications will be reviewed semi-annually in a competitive process by the Business Attraction and Retention Review Committee.
To be eligible for a grant, the incoming business must:
·Be new to Over-the-Rhine. New businesses and businesses previously established in other locations are permitted. It is preferred that established businesses are currently located outside of the City of Cincinnati boundaries.
·Occupy a storefront or occupy other location in OTR that is consistent with the neighborhood tenanting strategy.
·Sign a three-year lease with the landlord.
oThe tenant and business owner/landlord negotiate the required build out, renovation and preparation required of the building and disclose the cost of build out and the monthly rental amount.
oThe incoming tenant/ business will submit a copy of its current business plan to the building owner/landlord before lease negotiations will be completed.
oBuilding owners and/or landlords must agree to participate fully in the program and tri-party meetings will be held between the applicant, Chamber and Landlord.
·Agree to be open at least 50 hours per week.
·Submit a complete application prior to opening.
oThis includes a thorough and well-organized business plan with a start-up budget and projected cash flow statements for the first three years of operation.
·Once awarded funds, agree to actively participate in the Business First mentoring program, which includes attending regular meetings with a mentor to discuss business details and providing annual financial statements for the period of the lease.
oThe new business meets with the Mentor to discuss concerns and review financial information regularly for three years. As needed, a new business owner may be teamed up with an experienced business owner to work together to address a specific need.
This program is administered by OTR Chamber of Commerce with the support of a Review Committee to oversee leases, programs and funding.
The Business First Grant is made possible by the following corporate and foundation partners: Duke Energy Foundation, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. / U.S. Bank Foundation, Otto M. Budig Family Foundation, PNC Bank, and P&G.