My Favorites
My Favorites
Add Page
Add Page
You have 0 items saved in "My Favorites"
Use "My Favorites" to collect pages and downloads that you would like to keep in one place. To store a page, click on the "Add to My Favorites" button at the top of the page. To store a download, click on the plus button next to the download link. My Favorites will be saved for seven days.

Economic Inclusion Plan: Creation of New Businesses

Economic Inclusion is a priority for the City of Cleveland. To advance economic inclusion in our City, the City recognizes the need to facilitate the ability for anyone to become an entrepreneur and start a business in the City of Cleveland. Our efforts include providing access to capital through programs run by the City, partnering with other established organizations that are able to provide capital, expertise, and micro lending, and working with organizations to provide the type of space needed to nurture and grow businesses.  The City of Cleveland and our partners are working on a number of initiatives to support the creation of new businesses. 

The Neighborhood Retail Assistance Program (“NRAP”)

NRAP is successful program that provides financing in the amount up to $40,000 for locally-owned and operated retail businesses, restaurants, cafes, food trucks and other retail-related businesses. The City can forgive up to $3,000 of the loan for the incorporation of green & sustainable features to the project.  Eligible uses of funds include: interior & exterior renovation, equipment, furniture & fixtures, landscaping, signage and soft costs. National chains are prohibited from applying. NRAP has provided funding to over 75 businesses with $2.2 million in City funding that leveraged over $9 million in private investment.

Gardening for Greenbacks Program 

In 2008, the City of Cleveland passed legislation creating the Gardening for Greenbacks Program that provides grants up to $5,000 to entrepreneurs, businesses, merchants or local farmers to assist with urban gardening. Cleveland’s goal was to help put vacant, abandoned residential land back into productive use. Due to the success of the Gardening for Greenbacks Program, CoBank and their affiliates Agribank and Farm Credit Services of Mid-America provided a grant to help support the program.  Eligible uses of grant funds include acquisition of tools, equipment, fencing, and hoop houses.  Applicants must complete a training course offered by one of the City’s partners, such as the OSU Extension on Urban Gardening, and must keep track of the amount of produce grown and sold “for profit” over a 2 year period. Vegetables, fruit, produce and herbs were sold at farmer’s markets, local restaurants, and neighborhood farm stands.  More information is available about zoning changes and other legislation used to allow Urban Agriculture in the report, Growing Cleveland. More information on the Gardening for Greenbacks Program is available in the report Urban Agriculture/Gardening for Greenbacks and the Gardening for Greenbacks Report.  


The Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI)

In 2012, ECDI was recruited to Cleveland after a study of credit availability found that there is an estimated $38 million of unmet loan demand annually in Cuyahoga County. The Economic and Community Development Institute ("ECDI"), a U.S. Treasury designated CDFI micro lender headquartered in Columbus, is a non-profit organization that provides micro lending and technical assistance. The City provided $200,000 to ECDI to structure microloans to small businesses in Cleveland that would not be eligible for traditional bank financing. A portion of the funding ($50,000) is specifically geared toward immigrant and refugee businesses.  ECDI’s lending efforts have resulted in the following:

  • 56 loans to small businesses; 16 in the City of Cleveland

  • $1,876,696 of capital investment; $761,820 to Cleveland-based businesses

  • 32 loans to female-owned businesses; 9 in the City of Cleveland

  • 18 loans to minority-owned businesses; 5 in the City of Cleveland

  • 2 loans for immigrant / refugee businesses; 2 in the City of Cleveland

  • 84 jobs created; 34.5 in the City of Cleveland.

  • 115.5 jobs retained; 34 in the City of Cleveland

  • 69 entrepreneurs received technical assistance, 2 from Food Incubator Program

New Capital Access Fund

The City of Cleveland partnered with the National Development Council (NDC), the Urban League of Greater Cleveland (ULGC), the National Urban League’s Urban Empowerment Fund (UEF), Cuyahoga County, Morgan Stanley and other private local lenders and foundations to help African American and other minority businesses gain access to capital and technical assistance.

The Capital Access Fund of Greater Cleveland (CAF), an $8 million fund  was created by this unique collaborative of organizations and institutions with a simple long term goal, to sustain existing and create additional viable minority small businesses that create jobs for community residents and build community wealth. 

CAF is a three-year program provides minority businesses with low interest loans from $10,000 to $2 million with terms and conditions that are flexible and patient. Uses of funds include fixed asset acquisition, working capital, and restructuring of debt to better match assets and liabilities. Borrowers will be required to participate in pre and post loan counseling with the goal of providing companies access to expert support and coaching throughout their growth process.

The fund was launched December 1st, 2016. With a goal of creating or maintaining a minimum of 300 jobs within three years, CAF already has completed 8 loans totaling $1.4 million helping to create or maintain 70 local jobs.

For more information please contact, 
Michael R. Elliott, Program Manager, City of Cleveland (216) 664-4470 or by email at

Grow Cuyahoga County Fund

The Grow Cuyahoga County Fund is a partnership between the City of Cleveland,   Cuyahoga County and the Grow America Fund, Inc.  The partnership works to identify small business with potential to grow and create jobs.  The Fund provides loans from $100,000 to $3.4 million at or below market rates with longer loan terms, up to 25 years.  In 2014, Grow Cuyahoga County Funded approved 5 loans to 4 businesses for a total of $2,728,000. All were located in the City of Cleveland and included Martin Sheet Metal (new roof); Cream of the Crop, LLC dba Crop Rocks & Vinyl (new restaurant equipment & working capital); Solstice Distributing (working capital & refinance of existing loan); and Ohio Awning & Manufacturing Co. (acquisition & renovation of real estate and    purchase of new equipment). The loans leveraged $525,000 of additional funds, creating 34 new FTE jobs and retaining 68 FTE jobs in the City of Cleveland. City funds leveraged a minimum of $5 for every $1 in City loan funds for City businesses.


Post Incubator Space—The Health Tech Corridor

The Health Tech Corridor was founded in 2010 as a public-nonprofit collaboration between BioEnterprise, The Cleveland Foundation, the City of Cleveland, and MidTown Cleveland. Recognizing there was a lack of suitable space to house the growing number of health-tech and high-tech businesses spinning out of the City’s anchor institutions, the Health Tech Corridor partners came together behind this unique effort to develop, brand, and market a health-tech and high-tech business corridor on the east side of Cleveland centered around the Health Line Bus Rapid Transit System.

  • Many HTC buildings offer month-to-month or six month lease terms (the co-working space is exclusively month-to-month), giving businesses the flexibility needed to grow;

  • Various space options from 500 sq. ft. to land to develop regional or national headquarters;

  • Approximately 580,000 sq. ft. of renovated office and lab space;

  • 687,000 sq. ft. of new office, lab, and residential space;

  • ·The City has supported development of space with approximately $86.4 million in assistance through HUD 108 Loans, State Job Ready Sites Funds, BEDI Grants and EDI Grants that has leveraged  $289 million to date.


StartMart opened its doors in September 2015 in the 35,000 sq. ft. second floor of the Terminal Tower located in Downtown Cleveland as an entrepreneurial hub for the City’s startup community. By providing entrepreneurs and startups low cost co-working space and flexible arrangements for office space, StartMart centralizes the workspace of entrepreneurs. Their business model fosters the sharing of ideas and knowledge and, thus, has great potential for innovation. StartMart connects entrepreneurs to not only the space to grow and expand as needed, but also to critical resources such as startup accelerators, professional services, telepresence technology, startup events, networking and capital. Created by the Cleveland-based startup accelerator and venture fund, Flashstarts, the density and diversity the StartMart model provides to Cleveland’s startup and co-working community has the capacity to transform our City’s growing entrepreneurship ecosystem. Fostering this type of innovation in Cleveland will catalyze job creation, investment and further development. The City of Cleveland provided a $40,000 grant to StartMart to assist with the acquisition of office equipment, furniture & fixtures through our Neighborhood Development Program to be used towards the furnishing of the space.

Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen

The Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen (“Culinary Kitchen”) is a 3,600 sq. ft. incubator cooking commercial facility that includes cold, frozen and dry storage. It is located at 2800 Euclid Avenue in Downtown Cleveland. The former catering kitchen for Cleveland State University is owned by local investor Gordon Priemer, the Economic & Community Development Institute and Hospitality Sales & Marketing and operated by father & son, Bill & Tim Skaryd. The facility hosts bakers, ice cream & popsicle makers, sausage makers, canners/picklers, sauerkraut makers and syrup makers. Individuals and businesses rent by the hour, currently $24 per hour.  There are no leases; a user agreement is signed for liability purposes. They also offer a $200 nine-week course on all aspects of producing commercial foods for individuals who are in the concept phase of their business plan. Experts are brought in as part of the discussion and training. The Culinary Kitchen currently accommodates 20 micro-businesses.