Turning dreams into reality.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or buying an existing business, you must file the proper paperwork and register the company.
Every industry is different. Find the license you need for your business, and learn about building permits, certificates and zoning.
Success is in the details. Learn which taxes apply to your business and how to secure City services. You’ll also find tips on hiring staff.
Buying or Transferring a Business
Things to Consider
When buying or transferring a business, many of the same considerations apply as in starting a new business. With the help of a licensed professional, you should consider:
- Your tax liability
- Which taxes are applicable to your business
- Whether or not the existing business entity designation is still applicable for your business plans in the future.
Business Licensing, Permitting, and Regulations Processes:
In order to do business in the City of Cincinnati, business owners must comply with State of Ohio requirements as well as local requirements in some instances. Visit our Business Licensing Permitting, and Regulations Processes page for more information.
Small Business Services:
The City provides access to business coaching, classes, help with business plans, and other forms of technical assistance for startups as well as for established businesses.
Small Business Technical Assistance
- Business Plan Assistance
- General Fiscal Assistance
- 1-on-1 Business Coaching
For more information regarding these assistance services, please contact:
Eric Denson, Senior Development Officer
Phone: (513) 352-4981
Selecting a Business Location:
Search for commercial real estate and featured sites ready for development! Brought to you by the Cincinnati commercial brokerage community, Location One Information System (LOIS), Commercial Real Estate Data by Xceligent®, and the City of Cincinnati Department of Trade and Development.
Operating, Growing and Transferring your business.
Once you’re up & running, we want you to stay that way. Tap into these resources so every day remains business as usual.
Whether you’re looking for local contracts or going global, there are resources specifically designed to help you expand.
Workforce Skills Training
A robust, motivated, well-educated, and highly trained workforce is critical for the retention and expansion of all businesses. The Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program will fill a gap in current workforce development programs by providing needed training dollars to Ohio's incumbent workforce through a unique public-private partnership.
Financing & Incentives
Businesses expanding in or relocating to the City of Cincinnati are eligible for several incentive programs. Some of these programs reduce annual operating costs, and in so doing, provide businesses direct cost reductions.
The City of Cincinnati has four tax incentive programs:
Cincinnati levies at 2.1% tax on the net profits of firms. If a company is moving to Cincinnati, or creating jobs in Cincinnati, they may be eligible for a job creation tax credit or a reimbursement.
The City of Cincinnati may offer a Property Investment Reimbursement (PIR) incentive to a company that is considering expanding in or moving to Cincinnati.
Developers making a large-scale investment that requires substantial public improvements may be able to use tax increment financing (TIF) to offset a portion of those costs. The city has 21 tax increment districts and in some cases will create a TIF specific to a project.
The Cincinnati Public Schools, Hamilton County, and the City levy a property tax to meet a wide variety of local service needs. If a company is making an investment that will result in a substantial change to its property tax obligation, and they are creating jobs, they may be eligible for a property tax abatement.
Small Business Loans
The City has two loan funds available for uses such as permanent working capital, purchasing real estate or equipment, and refinancing existing debt.
The MicroCity fund provides loans to small businesses in amounts up to $35,000. It is used to encourage expansion by providing “gap” debt financing. Funding is available to successful growing or emerging small businesses that meet our underwriting requirements and are located within the City of Cincinnati.
The Grow Cincinnati Fund was created to provide capital for fixed assets, working capital, and eligible refinancing to small businesses located in the City of Cincinnati. It is used to encourage expansion and increase the capacity of small business by providing ‘gap’ debt financing and access to technical assistance. Funding is available to successful growing or emerging small businesses that meet our underwriting requirements.
The SBA 504 Loan Program provides long-term fixed-asset financing at an attractive interest rate administered by HCDC Inc.. 504 Program provides subordinated, fixed interest rate, long-term loans for up to 40% of project costs or $5,000,000 (up to $5.5 million in special cases). Terms are 10 and 20 years, depending on the economic life of the asset being financed.
Community Development Block Grant Float Loan (CDBG)
The CDBG Float Loan is used to provide short-term low cost financing for construction and CDBG eligible projects. For more information pleas contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Selling Goods & Services
Find ways you can do business with the City of Cincinnati, including contacting and supplies.
Small Business Enterprise Certification
The purpose of the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program is to promote the economic welfare of the people of the City of Cincinnati, to mitigate the effects of discrimination against SBEs, and to promote full and equal business opportunity for all persons doing business with the City of Cincinnati.
The Small Business Enterprise Program is administered by the Office of Contract Compliance.
Economic Development puts much emphasis on and significant effort in retaining, assisting, and growing companies currently located in Cincinnati. To accomplish this, we have begun to proactively set up one-on-one onsite company visits. We want to help businesses in Cincinnati connect with the City and with neighborhood resources.
If you are a business in the City of Cincinnati that would like to schedule a retention or expansion visit, please email us and one of our development officers will be available to assist you.