CINCINNATI (FOX19) - As Ohio begins to reopen, small businesses have the massive job of opening their doors and ensuring they are following COVID-19 reopening guidelines, which is expected to be time-consuming and costly.
The Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce has set a goal of raising $500,000 to cushion the steep costs of reopening for many of the small businesses in the OTR and Pendleton neighborhoods.
The fund hopes to provide grants up to $20,000 to get vulnerable businesses back on their feet with financial support as well as guaranteeing a one-year membership to the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), a certified Community Development Corporation (CDC) which through the SBA-funded Women’s Business Center will provide technical assistance and small business development services.
Companies and individuals interested in donating to the fund should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We created this fund to not only provide financial support for the reopening process, but to strengthen our small business district as a whole by tying in access to technical assistance and educational services," says Kelly Adamson, OTR Chamber Executive Director.
Main Street Ventures and Urban Sites are each contributing $100,000; as well, Sycamore Capital has donated $50,000. The contributions from these three organizations make up half the funds the OTR Chamber has collected.
“Urban Sites and our family foundation have been revitalizing historic OTR spaces since the early 1990s and this is our legacy," said Greg Olson, CEO of Urban Sites. “The OTR neighborhood catalyzed the rebirth of our great city and our contribution today reinforces the gravity in maintaining what was built.”
The OTR Chamber is utilizing the $100,000 matching grant from Main Street Ventures to kick off a crowdfunding campaign titled, “OTR Back on the Rise”. The campaign’s objective is to match the Main Street Ventures contribution with 100 individual donations of $1,000, those individual donors will be recognized as “OTR Backers”. The OTR Chamber in partnership with 3CDC promises the backers will be recognized in a future community project.
“Main Street Ventures has been helping build the small business ecosystem in OTR for 20 years. From the “Digital Rhine” on Main Street in the early 2000s, The Brandery startup accelerator, and countless grants and investments over the years, we have been there to help OTR flourish into the neighborhood we all love today,” said Tony Alexander, Executive Director, Main Street Ventures.
Adamson believes this crowdfunding opportunity will be a way for Cincinnatians to be a part of the rebuilding of their community, “We see this as an opportunity to uniquely acknowledge the people who stood up and said to our small businesses, ‘I’ve got your back’'.”
How to Donate to the “OTR Back on the Rise” Campaign:
Visit the website: https://www.otrchamber.com/backontherise or mail a check to the Over-the-Rhine Revitalization Corporation c/o to the OTR Chamber of Commerce, 1307 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. The OTR Revitalization Corporation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization created in 2000. Tax ID: 06-1663070
How OTR Businesses can Apply for Funds:
This program is specifically for small businesses located in Over-the-Rhine and Pendleton boundaries, as stated in the OTR Chamber of Commerce bylaws. For more information on the grant and eligibility requirements, visit: https://www.otrchamber.com/smallbusinessfund