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Forgivable Loan Program Offered to Small Businesses in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County

The Municipal-Small Business Initiative is a program developed in partnership by Cuyahoga County, Cleveland, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. The program provides loan money for small businesses, especially minority-owned, that might otherwise not be possible.

How the program works

Small businesses can qualify for loans to fund a promising business plan, project or strategy. Business owners must be able to kick in 10 percent of the money needed. Once the business owner is accepted into the program, they can qualify for a 15 percent performance grant, which is actually a forgivable loan of $15,000 on a $100,000 funded project. They can then apply for an SBA-backed loan from a participating SBA bank.

The benefits

The program benefits the small business owner by increasing their chances of getting an SBA-backed loan. How? On a $100,000 loan request, for example, the owner has already committed to paying the first 10 percent, and the second 15 percent is provided through the program as a forgivable loan. So, the owner now has 25 percent of the loan covered.

The $1.5 million loan fund comes from Cuyahoga County, who allocated $750,000, the city of Cleveland who committed $500,000, and Shaker Heights who allocated $250,000 to the program. Cuyahoga County will match city grants for two years or more.

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