The 2019 Innovation Challenge Grant application period was June 1 - July 1, 2019. We are no longer accepting applications. Stay tuned for updates on grant award(s) for 2019.

The Innovation Challenge Grant was created in 2014, to award grants to OTR businesses and organizations for projects which will help them expand or fund a creative partnership or service. All existing businesses located in Over-the-Rhine (as defined by the City of Cincinnati) are eligible and you must be a member of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce to apply. The Innovation Challenge grant is administered by the OTR Chamber’s Business Attraction and Retention Committee, a diverse group of leaders and stakeholders in the community.
Grant Funds:
Up to $10,000 of funds will be granted. Areas of focus must be a project which will help an existing OTR business or organization expand on their current business OR fund a new creative partnership or service. See below to reference a list of past grant recipients, their projects and funding amounts.
  • Must be an existing business or organization in Over-the-Rhine or Pendleton (as defined by City of Cincinnati).
  • Must be a current member of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce.
  • Applicants must fully complete the Innovation Challenge Grant Application and submit an application fee of $25.00. All application fees are rolled into future Innovation Challenge grants. Application fees can be accepted via check or paid by credit card. Checks must be made out to Over-the-Rhine Revitalization Corporation and mailed to: OTR Chamber of Commerce, 1805 Elm Street, 3rd Floor, 45202. To pay via credit card, please request to be invoiced when submitting an application.
Click here to download the 2019 Innovation Challenge Grant application. Please email all applications and any questions to [email protected].
Past Recipients:
  • MOTR Pub: $1,000, to create an interactive parking map to provide the locations of lots, garages and meter street parking.
  • Cincy Shirts: $1,000, to create a wall of stadium seats for t-shirt display, and research and development for a line of Stadium Seat Furniture to expand their inventory selection.
  • Garage OTR: $1,000, to create a new guided Segway Tour featuring the public art and art institutions downtown and OTR.
  • Garage OTR: $2,500, for the addition of an air station and tire gauge, available to the public 24/7.
  • Daisy Mae: $750, for the purchase of new technology (iPads, USB Bar Code Scanners) to improve inventory management, and create an efficient system for customer checkout.
  • Findlay Market: $2,500 towards City Kitchen, an 8-week workforce development pilot program to test for operating a larger workforce development program within a fully functioning restaurant operation.
  • MORTAR: $2,500, to create the opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs from local schools to host a summer pop-up shop and participate in educational programs.
  • Lucca Laser Workshop: $1,500, towards machinery to create custom design orders, expanding Lucca’s custom product line.
  • Sarah Center: $2,225, to allow the organization to purchase software that will help expand their online retail operations. The Sarah Center provides classes in jewelry, quilting and sewing. The handmade pieces created in these courses are then sold at the center as a way for each participant to generate income for their creations.
  • Libby Shop: $600, to fund in-store improvements and the purchase of signage to help the store attract new customers.
  • Venice on Vine: $5,175, to help the restaurant and social enterprise remain relevant in a highly competitive industry. Specific projects funded by the grant will include menu adaptation and expansion, improved site design, and an expanded advertising and digital marketing program.
  • Spruce Nail Shop: $5,500 to take its cruelty-free and toxin-free nail services outside of a traditional salon environment with a mobile nail salon.
  • St. Francis Seraph Ministries: $2,500 to purchase durable equipment and supplies in order to expand its Cooking for the Family program, teaching local people basic cooking skills using fresh and healthy ingredients. The grant allows them to expand to other local organizations including the OTR YMCA and Elm Street Health Center.
  • Know Theatre: $2,000 to expand its Play(under)ground program, which it piloted last season. The program gives local performing artists the chance to experiment with new ideas as a complement to the theater's MainStage season.
The Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce is able to make these grants because of the generosity of our donors. These grants are important to the OTR Chamber and our business district because they help us fulfill our mission of promoting economic vitality and fostering a socially and culturally diverse Over-the-Rhine community. A special thanks to the following organizations for making this grant possible: Main Street Ventures, BB&T, PNC Bank and Oswald Construction