Free Grants and Loans for Minority and Women Owned Businesses in Ohio

Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Hannah Stevens

Free grant programs and low-cost loans are available for Black, Latino, Asian, veteran, LGBTQ, and women owned businesses in Ohio to finance their start-up or business. Below is a list of several sources of funding, including government programs and lenders that may be available in your area. There are many programs that provide loans, grants, mentoring, and other options with allocated funds for women and/or minority owned businesses in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Cincinnati, and other cities in Ohio.

You can use the money to pay for various business expenses, such as payroll, sales, rent, website or technology costs, marketing, and more. All lenders (or grantors) have their own terms and conditions. They also have an established application process for a free MWBE or BIPOC grant or loan. However, every listed program has agreed to allocate some of their funds for minority and women owned companies.

A small business in Ohio can get the funding they need to grow or save their business. There are also programs that help women and minority entrepreneurs, and start-up businesses. You can get assistance from a bank, foundation, government agency, non-profit, corporation, or any other lender.

Loans or Free Grants for Women or Minority Owned Small Businesses in Ohio 

The listed funds and programs are up to date. Moreover, some of the grants and low-cost loans are exclusively available for veterans, LGBTQ+, Black, Asian, Latino, as well as grants for women owned businesses.

Year Round Free Business Coaching and Loan/Grant Resources

Akron Ohio Rubber City Match

This program provides small businesses with a free grant and/or a low-cost loan to help them develop the downtown areas. It also helps to reclaim vacant buildings. The priority is on redeveloping this region of the city, with focus on MWBE businesses/enterprises. This financial assistance program has two “tracks” or components.

Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce

The chamber is a resource for black community in Columbus and across central Ohio. They help with capital and grant applications, as well as issuing Kiva loans at 0% interest rates. Moreover, the staff assists small businesses to enter new markets, find the resources they need to start or grow, and more.


The non-profit MORTAR helps entrepreneurs in Cincinnati, Ohio. They provide a training program to help entrepreneurs learn how to start a business, create business plans, raise capital, and much more. They also provide assistance to low-income, underprivileged communities with a particular focus on minorities. Furthermore, there is an ongoing assistance, which includes information about free government grants, low-cost loans, mentoring, and more.

Cincinnati Minority Business Assistance Center

The Cincinnati Minority Business Center works in conjunction with the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce and Northern Kentucky. They assist people start a business, or obtain capital to expand an existing MWBE. They also offer advice, support, mentoring, access to 0% APR interest microloans from Kiva, and more  assistance in 17 counties throughout southern Ohio. Furthermore, the Center offers help with financial statements, an Entrepreneurial Program, Strategic Growth Plans, and more.

This is quite similar to one of the free grants and loans for minority and women owned businesses in North Carolina, Salisbury-Rowan NAACP and Self-Help Credit Union .

Cuyahoga Small Business Resource Center

The Cuyahoga Small Business Resource Center is a source of referrals and financial assistance. They also offer information about free grants from the government, and interest-free, forgivable loans. Moreover, the center works with corporations, non-profits, and other organizations in the county to support minority, veteran, and women owned small businesses.

Greater West Dayton Incubator (GWDI)

The Greater West Dayton Incubator program can help start-ups and businesses in Dayton, Ohio.  This program focuses providing assistance for Black, Latino, low-income, and BIPOC businesses. You can also get microloans and other support. Furthermore, they provide legal assistance in starting a business, sales and marketing assistance, business plan creation, website development, and more.

Erie County Minority Business Empowerment Team

The Erie County Minority Business Empowerment Team assist Black, Latino, Asian, women, and BIPOC owned small businesses. This agency is a great place to find out about grants, and get mentorship from business owners. They also offer workshops, networking, and many other tools.

Franklin County and Columbus, Ohio

There are many programs that offer free assistance and business development in Franklin County, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio. The local and national charities alongside nonprofits offer assistance.

  • New Horizons Computer Learning Center in Columbus OH (call 614 798-1000)
  • Ohio Small Business Development Center (dial 614 287 5294)


ECDI is a microlender offering low-cost loans and other support. The institute focuses on financing veterans, immigrant, minorities, refugees, women, and LGBTQ+ owned businesses. ECDI Ohio also offers support to veterans, rural loans, loans for construction projects, and more. Additionally, they offer coaching, marketing assistance, and other services.

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)

OEFFA assists farmers in Ohio to get Capital since they are a Kiva Trustee. Farmers in the organic/all-natural industry can receive financial assistance and support. The crowdfunding platform may issue microloans up to $15,000, and has a 0% interest rate.

Ohio Women’s Business Coalition

The organization is comprised of female leaders, business owners, politicians, and community leaders. They aim to help female business owners start and grow their companies. In order to do this, they provide capital raises, venture funding, and other support. You can also join them as a member.

Women’s Business Centers of Ohio

The Women’s Business Centers of Ohio are multiple locations in the state, including Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus. WBC of Ohio provides free services for women owned businesses, or females who are looking to start their own business. They provide free computer labs, networking, training programs, and information about loans. Furthermore, they offer mentoring and coaching from volunteer female business owners (including Black or Brown), and more.

State of Ohio

Ohio offers loans to MWBEs and minority owned businesses. These two programs offer different financial assistance options, but they can both provide interest-free funds or low-cost loans funds to eligible borrowers. Women’s Business Enterprise Loan Program is an option, which is geared towards MWBE owned companies. The Ohio Micro-Enterprise Loan Program is the another choice. The loans they offer can be used to pay for equipment, real estate costs, and other bills.

This is quite similar to one of the free grants and loans for minority and women owned businesses in Oregon, the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME).

Urban League of Cleveland

The Urban League of Cleveland promotes local minority owned businesses. The Small Business Development Center  (SBDC) and UBIZ Center manages the programs. You can get financial assistance and loans. You can also get free professional consulting services, learn information about small business capital, sales contract opportunities, and more. The site also has an Entrepreneurship Centre.

Stark County Minority Business Assistance Center

The local Association runs the Stark County Minority Business Assistance Center, and they offer variety of services. These include assistance in raising capital for MWBE businesses from low-cost loans or free grants. They also provide coaching, workshops, help with government certification, and more.

Bounce Innovation Hub

The Bounce Innovation Hub offers information about financial assistance, free counseling, grant application and other support to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Summit County and Akron, Ohio. GROW is a program for women and minority tech companies. It offers co-working spaces, free expert counseling, information about low-cost loans or grants for capital, and more. RISE is also the name of the grants.

Huntington Lift Local Business Program

A lender based in Ohio offers the Huntington Lift Local business program. They allocate millions of dollars to support minority, veteran, and women owned businesses. Moreover, the lender works in conjunction with the SBA to provide funds for disadvantaged businesses. The Huntington Bank also offers loans with lower credit requirements, no origin fees, and a flexible, longer repayment options.