THE BRIDGE GRANT

ABOUT:

The OTR Chamber’s Bridge Grant is a new program created in June 2021 in partnership with Main Street Ventures (MSV) . This new grant is an evolution of the organization’s previous Business First and Innovation Challenge grants. The Bridge Grant was created to help “bridge” the funding gap for promising OTR and Pendleton small businesses or organizations, who have demonstrated that they have the potential, talent and drive to be key players in creating a stable, sustainable, and equitable community.

As the OTR Chamber’s vision is to create a model for inclusive urban revitalization, we are investing in entrepreneurs who will help us make this a reality. Bridge fund amounts will vary per cycle and need. Bridge grants are intended to be funds which will help bridge the gap between the need and the goal, therefore are not large dollar grants. Grant sizes could range from $500 - $20,000.

GOALS:

  • Increase access to capital and critical resources, to support small business retention, and expansion.

  • Increase the retention rate for minority-owned small businesses, and ensure equitable economic growth.

  • Create new jobs and opportunities in the Over-the-Rhine community, which specifically support equitable community development.

  • Drive greater economic inclusion for both Cincinnati residents and consumers.

ELIGIBILITY & DETAILS:

Bridge Grant applicants MUST be located in the Over-the-Rhine or Pendleton neighborhoods. Please reference the OTR boundary here and Pendleton boundary here .

  • The Bridge Grant is available for those businesses or organizations who apply for MSV’s Leap Grant (please reference Leap Grant information below under "APPLY")

  • Applicants must be an existing business or organization in OTR or Pendleton’s small business district. Those who are looking to open a business in the community, please contact [email protected]

  • Special consideration will be given to women and minority-owned businesses.

  • Examples of eligible funds include a new project, piece of new equipment or advancement in technology. Regardless, it MUST be project-based where results can be tracked by a defined metric.

  • Funds will not be provided for general business operating, or property acquisitions and/or renovations.

  • All grant applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis in line with MSV’s quarterly grant cycle. Please note: The number of Boost Grants awarded, and amounts may vary per cycle.

We highly recommend taking advantage of Main Street Ventures “Open Office Hours” here .

APPLY:

Applicants must first complete MSV’s Leap Grant online application*. While filling out the questionnaire, applicants will be asked if the business is in either OTR or Pendleton. If the business checks "yes," they will be sent a link via email to additional application materials that must be completed for the Bridge Grant.

*NOTE: Applicants must complete both the MSV Leap Grant and OTR Chamber Bridge application materials to be considered for the Bridge Grant.

TIMELINE FOR BRIDGE & LEAP GRANTS:

  • Application Opens: October 1st, 2021

  • Open Office Hours: October - November, Tuesday & Thursday afternoons

  • Application Closes: November 19th, 2021

  • Recipients Announced: December 2021

  • Application Re-Opens: January 1st, 2021

FREQUENTLY-ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):

Can a nonprofit organization apply? Yes, a 501c3 designated organization may apply, as long as they are location within the OTR or Pendleton boundary and the meets eligibility requirements.

If our business was denied a Main Street Venture Leap Grant, are we still eligible for an OTR Chamber Bridge Grant, and vice versa? Yes, as while this is a partnership, the two grants are still considered separate entities. If you did not receive a Leap Grant, you are still eligible to receive funds from the Bridge Grant. If you did not receive a Bridge Grant, you are still eligible to receive funds from the Leap Grant.

Can I apply more than once? If you have applied and received funding for either/both the Leap or Bridge Grant, you may no longer apply again. However, if you applied and received funding for the Leap Grant but are new to the Bridge Grant, you may apply to the Bridge Grant. If you applied and did not receive funding for either/both the Leap or Bridge Grant, you may apply again – however we highly suggest taking advantage of Main Street Ventures “Open Office Hours” HERE

What are examples of ineligible projects to apply for? Any requests for general business operating, or property acquisitions and/or renovations will not be eligible for funding.