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Ohio City opens fund, competition to support local business district

Marc Lefkowitz  |  01/11/11 @ 1:10pm

Ohio City Near West Development and Charter One are investing in the start up of more local businesses in the Market District (grants will be instrumental in start ups for alternative food production and distribution businesses. Maybe this will kick start the cooperative food prep kitchen and business incubator for market gardeners on the Near West Side). They are sponsoring a competition (write an essay, win up to $20,000) that starts today and ends January 31 (see below for details).

Small businesses and entrepreneurs with ideas taking shape around the West Side Market have an opportunity to secure grants to help their company and ideas grow as part of the Charter One Growing Communities Initiative. The Ohio City Near West Development Corporation and Charter One today announced the Ohio City Market District Small Business Development Grant Competition.

The competition will provide winners with grants ranging from $3,000 to $20,000 to expand or launch small businesses in the Ohio City Market District, a flourishing neighborhood surrounding the West Side Market with a diverse and exciting mix of businesses, homes, retail and non-profit institutions. Charter One and the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation, along with other public and nonprofit partners, announced last fall the "Growing Communities" initiative designed to promote job creation, local food and neighborhood redevelopment. The grant competition is one component of the initiative.

"These grants are designed to launch start-ups, fuel new ideas and support the continued growth of businesses already located in the Market District," said Ken Marblestone, president of Charter One, Ohio. "Cleveland has an amazing culture of small business entrepreneurs with exciting new ideas. By helping with start-up funding, we hope entrepreneurs will be able to focus more easily on the important things -- turning their ideas into reality and into jobs."

The Ohio City Market District is defined as the area around West Side Market, from West 24th Street to West 28th Street between Jay Avenue at the north end and Chatham Avenue at the south end.

"Ohio City is excited to partner with Charter One to build on the foundation of over 150 small businesses located within the Market District," said Eric Wobser, Executive Director for Ohio City Near West Development Corporation. "Charter One's investment in these small businesses is going to create new jobs and serve as a catalyst for revitalizing Northeast Ohio's economy."

New businesses or expanding businesses can apply for the grants by completing the Ohio City Market District Small Business Development Competition Grant Form, along with submitting a short essay, and a business plan.

The competition begins today and runs through January 31, 2011. Applications must be received by 5 PM on January 31, 2011 in order to be eligible. Grant applications will be judged on their merits by a grant selection committee, and winners and grant amounts will be announced the week of February 21, 2011. Funds will be dispersed upon completion of the grant agreements, no later than March 22, 2011.

The application and details can be found here. Applications can also be picked up in person at the offices of the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation. Please direct inquiries to:

Ohio City Near West Development Corporation Attn: Thomas McNair, Director of Economic Development and Planning 2525 Market Avenue, Suite A Cleveland, OH 44113 Telephone: 216.781.3222 x 107 Email: tmcnair@ohiocity.org

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