Celebrate National Small Business Week With The Library

Written by David Siders, Civic Engagement Coordinator, Downtown Main Library

Small businesses have been a hot topic throughout the pandemic, with both success stories and stories of hardship. Looking on the bright side, Findlay Kitchen, opens a new window envisions creating a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in response to an uptick in community members who want to grow their small business ideas in new ways, such as developing food products to sell in grocery stores.

CHPL Serves Up Small Business Support

On another bright note, Findlay Kitchen and its members enthusiastically report how much they use and value our MakerSpace at the Downtown Main Library to create marketing and support materials for their small businesses.

Kaya Burgin, Manager of the Avondale Branch Library, took notice of a number of community members interested in learning more about growing their small business ideas and took action. The Avondale Branch is providing a two-part small business workshop series to meet community demand.

The first workshop was in August and featured Eric Kearney talking about "The African American Chamber of Commerce: How to Start a Business.” The second workshop is 10-11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Avondale Branch. Its topic is “Small Business Dream to Reality: What It Takes" featuring SCORE, an organization whose experienced volunteers help small businesses succeed.

“The Greater Cincinnati SCORE offers valuable insights into Small Business Start-Up fundamentals for the new or undecided entrepreneur. Explore the basics of validating the concept, preparing for execution, legal/regulatory issues, funding, business plan, and deciding next steps. This results-driven presentation includes informative and helpful handouts,” said Greg Bedel, SCORE Greater Cincinnati Chairperson.

At CHPL, be sure to check out the vast resources we offer online for small businesses. As an example, the Small Business Reference Center provides full-text reference books, and magazines that address topics such as how to create a business plan, operations management, and sales, and growing or rescuing an existing business. Business videos include interviews, “lessons learned” features, lectures, and how-to videos to help foster success in all aspects of managing a business.

Small Business Summit Highlights Bouncing Back

On the national level, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced its 2021 National Small Business Week, opens a new window Virtual Summit for Sept. 13-15. This year’s events spotlight the resilience of America’s entrepreneurs and the renewal of the small business economy as they build back better from the economic crisis brought on by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

The virtual summit honors the nation’s 30 million small businesses for their perseverance, ingenuity, triumphs, and creativity. This year’s National Small Business Week activities take place in a virtual atrium and include educational panels providing retooling and innovative practices for entrepreneurs as small businesses look to pivot and recover toward a stronger economy.

The SBA, along with their summit partner SCORE — the nation's largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors — are sharing important information about the many programs and services available to help businesses start and grow, build resilience and support, retain employees, discover new markets, and join key networks.

Your Small Business Wish Is ‘Granted’

Millions of dollars remain available in four new grant programs that target businesses that have suffered significant losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ohio Department of Development is administering the grants. To apply, businesses can visit the “For Businesses” section at InvestingInOhiosFuture.Ohio.Gov, opens a new window. The site includes documents for each grant program’s terms and conditions, facts sheet, and frequently asked questions.

The programs are:

  • Food and Beverage Establishment Grant: This program provides grants of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 to restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and other food and drinks businesses. The amount of individual grants to eligible businesses is determined by the business’ loss of revenue in 2020.
  • Lodging Grant: This program provides grants of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 to hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfast operations. The amount of individual grants to eligible businesses is determined by the business’ decline in occupancy rate in 2020.
  • Entertainment Venue Grant: This program provides grants of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 to theaters, music venues, spectator sports venues, museums, and other entertainment venues. The amount of individual grants to eligible businesses is determined by the business’ loss of revenue in 2020.
  • New Small Business Grant: This program provides grants of $10,000 to small businesses that were established between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.

Buy Local, Grant Local

The Hamilton County Small Business Relief Grant Program is currently accepting applications for grants up to $10,000. To support our small business community, Hamilton County Commissioners are awarding $4.1 million in grants to eligible small businesses in the third round of funding using CARES Act dollars.

You need three things to apply:
• A government-issued ID,
• A copy of filed 2019 and 2020 federal business tax returns,
• Proof that your business operates in Hamilton County.

To learn more, go to Hamilton County's COVID Relief website, opens a new window. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 4.

For application assistance, reach out to our partners with the 513 Small Business Assist Program, opens a new window: email 513assist@nextstreet.com or call 513-273-0503.

Visit the Library’s complete list of business resources on our website. And, visit the Library to use a computer or print and fax your documents!