Main Street Ventures’ funding programs support local entrepreneurs in the idea/prototype and revenue stages with equity-free business start-up funding, rather than traditional investments.
This no-strings attached funding model supports:
Grants allow founders to take bold ideas to the next level without investor limits.
Supporting good ideas across all spaces encourages innovation in our community.
Accessible, debt-free funding creates opportunities for other financial support.
Launch Funding provides emerging, pre-revenue businesses that have a Prototype or Product (showing clear evidence of direct customer engagement validating the business model and product) with $5,000 - $10,000 of equity free funding to continue development and prepare for market entry.
Leap Funding provides promising, revenue-generating businesses with $10,000 - $30,000 of equity-free funding to scale their community impact and increase the odds of long-term survival. Funding is awarded to businesses that demonstrate the potential to continue to create jobs and opportunities in the Greater Cincinnati Region.
Learn Funding provides 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 the development of STEM talent.
Criteria and Special Considerations
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 (see below)
Application MUST be project-based where results can be tracked by a defined metric. Main Street Ventures does not provide general business operating funds.
Special consideration will be granted to:
Women and Minority-Owned businesses
Businesses that can show matching funds from other sources.
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.
Which Grant Should I Apply For?
We are happy to guide you through the application process and help you determine which of our grants is most applicable to your business via our Office Hours which are available on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons until the Application period closes.
Our general guideline, however, is to assess your business stage in terms of revenue. If your business is pre-revenue, you should consider applying for the Launch Grant. If your business has generated sufficient revenue relative to your industry, you should likely apply for the Leap Grant.
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 after one full quarter if the business has experienced significant changes and growth.
Who decides grant award recipients?
The Main Street Ventures Board of Directors approves the grant award recipients each quarter.
Special Funding Grants
Main Street Ventures is proud to partner with generous sponsors to provide Special Leap Grants with more specific criteria. Applicants for these 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 Grant application and check the box where indicated to be considered for one of these Special Grants.
The Wendy S. Lea Grant - For Women-Owned Businesses
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 that 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 Funding Grant will be awarded annually to a startup or small business in the Greater Cincinnati Region that has a first-time women founder(s), women 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.