Grant Types & Eligibility

Main Street Ventures offers several types of grants. If you think one applies to what you're working on, send us an application!

Leap Funding Grants

Grants awarded to emerging businesses with the potential to create jobs and opportunities in the region. Our Leap Grant program provides promising businesses with $10,000 - $30,000 grants to scale their community impact and increase the odds of survival. Special consideration is given to tech-enabled companies, Women and Minority-Owned businesses and businesses showing matching funds from other sources.

See additional consideration during COVID-19 Pandemic

Ecosystem Building Grants

Support for organizations and events that strengthen and connect the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem. These can include entrepreneur support organizations and other groups that foster resource collaboration and development of STEM talent.

Grant Review Timeline

Application Opens

October 1st, 2020

Open Office Hours


October and November 2020

Tuesday and Thursday Afternoons

Application Closes 


November 23rd, 2020

Decisions Delivered

during December, 2020

Application Open for next cycle

January 1st 2021

Policies & Restrictions

Programs to be funded MUST be located in the Greater Cincinnati region (Hamilton, Butler, Clermont and Warren counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn County in Indiana.). Grant requests from other regions will NOT be considered.

Common Questions

When will I receive a response in regard to my grant application?

Grants are reviewed on a quarterly basis. Review the timeline provided above. Please do not contact us for updates if within that timeframe.

Why was my grant application declined?

While we try to give specific feedback to as many applications as possible, sometimes we are unable to provide a detailed reply. Please read all of the criteria, an application that has been declined usually fails to meet some of the required aspects.

My grant application was declined, when can I apply again?

We will consider new applications from the same company, organization, or event after a period of one-year.

Who decides grant award recipients?

The Main Street Ventures Advisory Board made up of leaders in the StartupCincy entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Leap Funding Grants

$10-$30,000 grants going directly to companies in need.


Provided only for specific projects - e.g. “need to purchase more materials for open purchase orders” or “need to hire X position to deliver for a new client.” In every case, we have very specific ways to check on the positive or negative outcome of the grant funding to better hone future activities. Special "Leap" Grants with more specified criteria are also available.

In this climate of economic uncertainty, consideration will be given to those applicants who have leveraged all other funding opportunities (SBA, etc.) and have a strong plan and balance sheet to properly leverage Leap Grant funding. 

Find Funding Resources at:

Criteria to Apply for a LEAP Grant

  • Applicant MUST be a business entity (C-Corp, S-Corp, or LLC) with a Federal Tax ID (EIN).

  • Business entity MUST be located in the Greater Cincinnati Region

  • Application MUST be project-based where results can be tracked by a defined metric. Main Street Ventures does not provide general business operating funds.

  • Grant Recipients must agree to limited reporting for 24 months from the time of grant award.

Special consideration will be granted to:

  • Companies that are"tech-enabled."

    • Industries such as Advanced Manufacturing, Advanced Materials, Biomedical, Energy, Life Sciences, Sensors, and Software / IT

  • Women and Minority-Owned businesses. 

  • Businesses that can show matching funds from other sources.

Application Opens 1/1/2021

Special Leap Grants
Main Street Ventures is proud to partner with generous sponsors to provide Special Leap Grants with more specific criteria. Applicants for these Leap Grants must match ALL criteria above but, if they meet more specialized criteria listed, would be in a potentially smaller pool of applicants and have a greater chance of success in obtaining funding. Use the standard Leap Grant application and check the box where indicated to be considered for one of these Special Leap Grants.


The Wendy S. Lea Female Founder Grant

Created to recognize the continued contributions of Wendy Lea to the Cincinnati startup and small business community. Through her leadership of Cintrifuse from 2014-2018, Wendy was instrumental in improving multiple metrics which serve to assist both startups and other organizations within StartupCincy.

Through funding from Main Street Ventures and generous matching dollars from The Robert A. and Diane J. McDonald Family Foundation, this Leap Funding Grant will be awarded annually to a startup or small business in the Greater Cincinnati Region that has a first-time female founder(s), female ownership of 51%+, and revenue. Bob McDonald, while serving as the Chairman of Cintrifuse, helped recruit and hire Wendy. Diane and Bob are grateful to Wendy for the incredible impact she has had on the Greater Cincinnati area and more importantly, on the many individuals involved in StartupCincy.


Ecosystem Building Grants

Supporting organizations and events who are strengthening the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. These can include entrepreneur support organizations as well as individuals and organizations hosting community events that foster collaboration and development of STEM talent.

Are you working on something that supports and strengthens the StartupCincy Ecosystem? Send Main Street Ventures a brief description of what you are working on, and we will follow up if there is a fit.