October 9, 2019
Kelly Adamson
(513) 512-5668 (office)
(513) 470-1379 (mobile)
[email protected]
Over-the-Rhine Chamber Announces Grant Application Availability
Applications due Nov. 1
The Over-the-Rhine Chamber wants to add an opportunity for entrepreneurs to take a step closer to their dream of owning and operating a business in Over-the-Rhine (OTR). The Business First Grant (BFG) program, now in its 13th year, incentivizes economic development in OTR by providing grants to qualified new and minority-owned businesses who are opening a business in the neighborhood.
Since its inception in 2006, the grant program has awarded over $460,000 to local businesses. “These businesses have created more than 300 new jobs and have leveraged over $4.5 million of direct investment and over $10 million of indirect commercial investment in the neighborhood,” says Kelly Adamson, OTR Chamber Executive Director. 
In 2018, the application process and requirements were reevaluated with a new goal of connecting more minority business owners to brick-and-mortar storefronts in OTR. “Our organization’s vision is to be a model neighborhood for inclusive urban revitalization, says Adamson. “So we aren’t shy about creating programs such as Business First Grant to drive this vision to reality.”
Last year, Tammie Scott was the first to be awarded 10 thousand in funds from the newest version of the grant. She is currently progressing with the development of Nostalgia Wine bar, which will be located in the Behlen Building at 1432 Vine St. in the heart of the Vine St. commercial district. The approximately 1,650-square-foot modern jazz lounge, with a focus on supporting minority-owned wineries and distilleries, is expected to be under construction this fall. Scott is working in conjunction with Luminaut Architecture and Design, Linked Solutions Incorporated, and 3CDC. Nostalgia will be open for business in the first quarter of 2020.
In 2019, the OTR Chamber partnered with Main Street Ventures to roll-out the Business First Grant, This partnership will shift the grant into their online portal and co-hosted a workshop for interested applicants at Union Hall. Main Street Ventures is an organization supporting emerging businesses and entrepreneurial support organizations through grants, with a focus on women and minority-owned businesses who have been historically under-represented as founders. The OTR Chamber was a recipient of their Ecosystem Building Grant this year, which a portion of funds are going towards their attraction and retention grants, including Business First. 
“This program is just one step towards OTR’s goal of being known locally and nationally as a community who provides opportunity for everyone and also has the built-in infrastructure to sustain them,” Adamson says. “As Main Street Ventures shares this goal, we both knew this partnership would strengthen our local entrepreneur support system and I encourage other organizations to step out of their silos and collaborate so we can achieve that goal as a unit.”
For more information about the Business First Program and the OTR Chamber, visit https://www.otrchamber.com/businessfirstgrant. Applications for the BFG grant are due Nov. 1.   
About the OTR Chamber
The OTR Chamber of Commerce is the driving force for creating a strong economy while also promoting inclusivity, embracing diversity and celebrating originality.
For more information, visit: www.otrchamber.com
A special thanks to the organizations who made this grant possible: