City Council funds Main Street Ventures to benefit women-owned small businesses

Cincinnati City Council will provide a total of $1 million to further the mission of Main Street Ventures in the Cincinnati entrepreneurial ecosystem. This financial contribution comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, a bill passed to assist the economic and health recovery of the United States brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will help Main Street Ventures increase their grant programming specifically for women-owned small businesses that have been particularly susceptible to the impacts of COVID-19 due to lack of access to capital.

“I’m proud that City Council unanimously supported these stimulus dollars for the Main Street Ventures initiative to support female entrepreneurs. Data shows that closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship helps create more stable households, healthier communities, and stronger local economies,” said Liz Keating, Cincinnati City Council member. “Supporting women-owned businesses has a direct impact on children and families and the impact of this program can benefit our city immensely.”

MSVs’ primary objective is to support all entrepreneurs that show potential to create jobs and positively impact the community. MSV also supports organizations that strengthen the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. There is a specific focus on empowering female and minority founders.

From 2018-2020, Main Street Ventures distributed more than $1.26 million to local startups and organizations – 76% with historically underrepresented founders. MSV grant recipients have provided more than 240 job opportunities.

“We are thrilled to see City Council’s unanimous support for Greater Cincinnati’s entrepreneurship community. Main Street Ventures is uniquely positioned to support the city’s efforts to recover and reignite economic growth that will counteract both the negative financial and social impacts of the pandemic,” said Kelly Bonnell, executive director of Main Street Ventures. “Fifty percent of the applications we receive are from female-founded startups and these funds will go directly to increasing their chances of success for not only their businesses, but for the greater good of our communities.”

Main Street invests in entrepreneurs through two types of grants:

  • Leap and Launch grants provide promising businesses at the revenue stage with grants ranging from $10,000-$30,000 to scale their community impact and increase the odds of survival.
  • Launch grants provide businesses at the prototype or product stage with $5,000-$10,000 to help them reach the market entry stage and beyond.

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