The Small Business Resource Guide
John R. Kasich, Governor
James A. Leftwich, Director
Ohio Department of Development
The State of Ohio is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Provider of ADA Services.
Table of Contents
This Small Business Resource Guide is designed to assist entrepreneurs interested in starting or expanding a
business in the State of Ohio. This guide will provide a collection of information and resources necessary for the
success of Ohio’s entrepreneurs.
Detailed information is current as of December 31, 2010.
Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Page 1
- Minority Business Enterprise Certification(MBE)
- Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity Certification (EDGE)
- State Architect’s Office
- Office of Real Estate and Planning
- Agency Regulatory Ombudsperson
- Ohio Business Gateway (OBG)
Ohio Department of Agriculture Page 3
- Ohio Proud
- Ohio Treasure of State Ag-Link
- Agriculture Revolving Loan Fund
Ohio Department of Aging Page 4
- Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
- Golden Buckeye Program
Ohio Attorney General Page 5
- Employee Background Checks (WebCheck)
Ohio Department of Commerce Page 5
- Division of Real Estate and Professional License
Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) Page 6
- Ohio Energy Resources Division
o Ohio Small Business Energy Saver
- Entrepreneurship & Small Business Division
o Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
o 1st Stop Business Connection
o Small Business Directory
o Women’s Business Directory
o Small Business Advocate
o Small Business Register
o Ohio Business Lending Clearinghouse (Ohio BLC)
- Minority Business Enterprise Division
o Jumpstart Launch 100 Initiative
o Minority Business Assistance Centers (MBAC)
o Minority Business Development Organizations (MBDO)
o Ohio Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC)
o Office of Minority Business Financial Incentives
Ohio Capital Access Program (CAP)
Ohio Minority Direct Loan Program
Minority Business Bonding Program
- Technology and Innovation Division
o Edison Technology Centers
o Ohio Third Frontier
o Ohio Venture Capital
o Technology Investment Tax Credit
o Entrepreneur Signature Program
Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) Page 11
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Page 12
- The Office of Compliance Assistance & Pollution Prevention
- Permit Assistance
Ohio Department of Insurance Page 13
Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) Page 13
- Office of Workforce Development
o Workplace Safety
Ohio Secretary of State Page 14
- License & Registration
Ohio Department of Taxation Page 14
- Vendor Licenses Registration
- Tax Filing
Ohio Department of Transportation Page 15
- Disadvantage Business Enterprise Program (DBE)
Ohio Treasurer of State Page 16
- Ohio Enterprise Bond Fund (OEBF)
Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation Page 17
- Safety Consulting Services
- Division of Safety & Hygiene
- Ohio Safety Councils
- Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP) grants
- SafetyGRANT$ for Ohio employers
Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission Page 18
- Ohio Business Enterprise Program (BEPro)
- Employer Services
- Ohio Abilities
Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Ohio SBDC program is also
funded in part by the Ohio Department of Development. For more information, call 1-800-848-1300 ext. 6-2711 or visit
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES (DAS)
Minority Business Enterprise Certification (MBE)
"Minority Business Enterprise" means a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or joint
venture of any kind that is owned and controlled by U. S. Citizens and residents of Ohio, who
are and have held themselves as members of the following socially and economically
disadvantaged groups: Blacks, American Indians, Hispanics and Asians.
Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity Certification (EDGE)
An Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) participant must be a small socially and
economically disadvantaged business enterprise owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are
Ohio residents. EDGE establishes goals for state agencies, boards and commissions in awarding
contracts to certified EDGE eligible businesses. EDGE applies to procurements of supplies and
services, professional services, information technology services, construction and professional
State Architect’s Office
The State Architect’s Office (SAO) oversees the design and construction of facilities for state
agencies, boards, commissions and institutions of higher education.
Office of Real Estate and Planning
The Office of Real Estate and Planning serves as a full-service real estate office. The office
assists state agencies and universities with their real estate-related needs and audits the use of
state land and space. Its Planning and Design Unit offers space planning and interior design
Agency Regulatory Ombudsperson
The agency Regulatory Ombudsperson is a designated staff member who responds to concerns
raised by a business, entity or person regarding the implementation of a proposed rule. The
Ombudsperson is to act as a problem-solving liaison between the agency and those affected by
the rule. For the Department of Administrative Services, this may take the form of several
areas of policy: human resources for state employees, procurement, information technology,
collective bargaining or equal opportunity.
Ohio Business Gateway (OBG)
OBG Electronic Filing offers Ohio's businesses a time-and money-saving online filing and
payment system that helps simplify business' relationship with government agencies. We now
offer 51 services and transactions from 8 state agencies and more than 500 municipalities.
The Ohio Business Gateway is about making government accessible to you and your business by
helping you find the information and services you need to keep your business thriving in Ohio.
OBG’s goal is to help business owners complete transaction or find needed information as
efficiently as possible, so you can focus on what matters most: running and growing your
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Ohio Proud is the Ohio Department of Agriculture's marketing program that identifies and
promotes food and agricultural products that are made in Ohio and grown in Ohio. Agriculture
is Ohio's number one industry, contributing more than $98 billion to the state's economy. If you
are a consumer looking for products or a company who needs marketing assistance, Ohio Proud
Ohio Treasurer of State Ag-Link
The Department of Economic Development within the Ohio Treasury administers Ag-LINK. This
annual program provides an interest rate reduction on operating loans and lines of credit to
Ohio's farming community. Every year before the planting season, many farmers finance their
operating costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, and fuel. Much like the GrowNOW program for small
businesses, the Ohio Treasury places deposits with Ohio banks at below market rates when the
bank agrees to reduce the interest rate on a farmer's loan. By law, $125 million is allocated for
Agriculture Revolving Loan Fund
The Agriculture Revolving Loan Fund provides loans to all eligible applicants statewide to assist
with the creation or expansion of agriculture ventures that focus on aquaculture, food
processing and bioenergy.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGING
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a paid job training and work
experience program for low-income adults age 55 and older. Training is available in positions
such as receptionists, typists, secretarial assistants, nutrition aides, security guards,
maintenance workers, teachers' aides and more. Custom training programs and positions are
developed to meet the needs of participants and employers. SCSEP also allows eligible seniors
to contribute to their communities by performing valuable community service.
Participants train in nonprofit organizations, hospitals, schools, police stations, senior centers,
food banks, museums, nutrition programs and various governmental agencies. Participants
train 20 hours per week and are paid at least state or federal minimum wage. Schedules are
determined by the needs of the training site, but are typically four hours a day, five days a
Benefits vary, but may include job training, personal leave, physical exams, job-related
counseling, workers' compensation and job referral and placement
Golden Buckeye Program
Merchants of all types (e.g., restaurants, retail, auto care, medical and more) voluntarily offer
special savings or deals for older Ohioans who carry the Golden Buckeye card. Most
participating merchants display the Golden Buckeye logo on their door, in their window or at
the checkout. Businesses that honor the Golden Buckeye card receive no compensation from
the State of Ohio for their participation, and the savings they offer will vary. Some offer a
percentage off a total purchase, others offer special deals on certain products or services.
Please repay their kindness with your patronage (and save some money in the process).
OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL
Employee Background Checks
Many Ohio employers, both public and private, are required to perform background checks on
new hires and individuals obtaining professional licenses. The Attorney General's Office's
Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) completes such background checks by
comparing fingerprints received against a database of criminal fingerprints to determine if
there is a criminal record. All fingerprints must be submitted to BCI through WebCheck or card
scan unless exemption reasons are met.
To get a background check, contact a provider from this listing.
If you have questions, you may call BCI at (877) 224-0043.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Division of Real Estate & Professional License
The Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing is part of the Department of Commerce.
The Division is responsible for licensing Ohio's real estate brokers and salespeople, real estate
appraisers, and foreign real estate dealers and salespeople. The Division is also responsible for
the registration of cemeteries located in Ohio and the registration of real estate developments
located in other states but marketed in Ohio.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENT (ODOD)
Ohio Energy Resources Division
- Ohio Small Business Energy Saver
Ohio Small Business Energy Saver is a free and easy tool for businesses spending
less than $150,000 annually on energy to find ways to reduce energy waste.
Entrepreneurship and Small Business Division
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
The SBDCs are staffed with highly trained & certified business advisors who offer
No-cost counseling to help with your specific business needs. The 41 centers
across Ohio are in your local communities to guide you to the right resources and
services to help your business grow and succeed. The SBDC business advisors are
the experts to assist pre-venture, start-up, and existing businesses.
- 1st Stop Business Connection
The 1st Stop Business Connection, a program sponsored Ohio SBDC to provide
FREE business start-up kits to guide you in registering your business in Ohio.
- Small Business Directory
This directory is designed to provide business contact information, industry type
and other links to websites that may benefit business owners. The directory is
also designed to assist purchasing agents to identify potential vendors.
- Women’s Business Directory
The Women’s Business directory is s key element of the women business
resource programs. This online tool will help identify and locate women-owned
firms throughout the State of Ohio. Once you are registered in the Directory of
Ohio Women-Owned Businesses, you will also be automatically added to the
Small Business Directory.
- Small Business Advocate
The Small Business Advocate’s primary mission is to assist small businesses when
they experience unreasonable or unfair state regulatory actions, such as
investigations, excessive fines, penalties, threats, or other enforcement action by
a state agency. The advocate will investigate the issue and work toward a
mutually acceptable resolution, after all means of direct resolution by the small
business owner have been attempted.
- Small Business Register
The Small Business Register is a weekly online publication that informs the public
of proposed changes in state agency rules and regulations that could affect the
way Ohio's small business owners operate.
Ohio's regulatory process should be built on the foundations of transparency,
accountability and performance. Agencies should develop regulations in the full
light of public scrutiny, and the public should have an opportunity to shape those
regulations and to challenge any that are unfair, overly burdensome and
ineffective. The Small Business Register lists the state agency proposing the rule,
the rule number and the rule name.
- Ohio Business Lending Clearinghouse (OBLC)
The Ohio Business Lending Clearinghouse is a free service for Ohio small
businesses, designed to improve communication and access between Ohio’s
businesses and Ohio’s lending community. Ohio business loan prospects will be
able to easily invite no-obligation bank reviews of their profile from multiple
banks who participate in the Ohio Business Lending Clearinghouse.
Minority Business Enterprise Division
- Jumpstart Launch100 Initiative
The JumpStart Launch100 Initiative is a collaborative statewide initiative to
create a pipeline of 100 high potential minority and inner-city based businesses
in Ohio over the next five years.
- Minority Business Assistance Centers (MBAC)
The Minority Business Assistance Centers provide a variety of business
development services to new and existing business owners. Each MBAC is staffed
with certified business counselors that assist minority entrepreneurs with loan
and bond packaging services, management, technical, financial and contract
procurement assistance. There are seven MBAC offices located throughout the
state in the following cities: Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton,
Portsmouth and Toledo.
- Minority Business Development Organizations (MBDO)
The objective of the Minority Business Development Organizations is to provide
outreach and advocacy for the minority business community. In partnership
with the Minority Business Enterprise Division and local chamber affiliates, the
Minority Business Development Organizations identify and support eligible
companies to accelerate Ohio’s long-term prosperity by focusing and leveraging
resources to promote innovation, competitiveness, and self-sufficiency.
The Minority Business Development Organizations strengthen the state’s
minority business community and contribute to the economic viability of the
State of Ohio by providing a Mentor- Protégé Program, management and
technical assistance services, business development counseling, and access to
financial and other resources to minority and disadvantaged business
owners. These are just a few of the resources available to minority business
owners through the Minority Business Development Organizations.
- Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC)
The Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) helps Ohio's businesses
sell goods and services to local, state and federal governments. The program is
part of a nationwide network of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers
created and monitored by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).
The Procurement Technical Assistance Centers provide a variety of services that
include marketing, one-on-one training, bid-matching services, product and
procurement histories, military specifications, bid preparation assistance, help
with information resources, and trade events where Ohio firms can meet
government buyers. These services are provided at no cost to Ohio businesses.
- Office of Minority Financial Incentives
Ohio Capital Access Program (CAP)
The Capital Access Program encourages state chartered financial
institutions to make loans to for profit or non-profit small businesses that
are having difficulty obtaining business loans through conventional
Ohio Minority Direct Loan Program
The Ohio Minority Direct Loan Program provides direct loans for
businesses locating or expanding in Ohio that demonstrate they will
create new jobs for Ohio citizens.
Minority Business Bonding Program
The Minority Business Bonding Program provides bid, performance and
payment bonds to state-certified minority businesses.
Technology and Innovation Division
- Edison Technology Centers
Ohio’s Edison Technology Centers foster the advancement of applied research
and development with the long-term objective of increasing the competitiveness
of existing companies within Ohio’s key industry sectors. The Edison Technology
Centers provide a variety of product and process innovation and
commercialization services that result in new product designs, enhanced
productivity, and cost reduction measures for established and early-stage
businesses. Ohio is home to research laboratories that find new, innovative ways
for businesses to thrive, including TechSolve, the largest independent machining
laboratory in the nation.
- Ohio Third Frontier
In targeted areas of technology, the Ohio Third Frontier is bringing about the
growth of existing and emerging industry clusters by:
Increasing the quantity of high-quality research that has commercial
relevance to Ohio companies
Expanding access and availability of investment capital to create, grow,
and attract technology-based enterprises
Growing and nurturing an increasingly experienced pool of
entrepreneurial management talent
Addressing the technical needs of existing companies pursuing new
products and production processes
Contributing to the expansion of a technologically proficient workforce
- Ohio Venture Capital Authority
The purpose of the Ohio Venture Capital Authority is to increase the amount of
private investment capital for Ohio companies in the seed or early stage of
business development. The Program seeks to drive entrepreneurial growth, job
creation and economic prosperity in Ohio by creating a "fund of funds" portfolio
of seed and early stage capital investments. The Program is overseen by the Ohio
Venture Capital Authority (OVCA). The fund of funds, called The Ohio Capital
Fund, is managed by Buckeye Venture Partners, LLC.
- Technology Investment Tax Program
The Technology Investment Tax Credit program offers a variety of benefits to
Ohio taxpayers who invest in small, research and development, and technology-
oriented firms. Through this innovative program, Ohio investors may reduce
their state taxes by 25 percent of the amount they invest in qualified,
technology-based Ohio companies. Both the companies and their investor's
must meet several requirements specified by Ohio law in order to be considered
for the Technology Investment Tax Credit program.
- Entrepreneur Signature Program
The goal of the Entrepreneurial Signature Program (ESP) is to significantly
increase the technology-based entrepreneurial commercialization outcomes
throughout a defined geographical region and to focus the effort on strategic
technology-based sectors that offer exceptional economic development
prospects for the region. Each ESP represents a comprehensive, coordinated
network of high-value services and assistance providers that is visible and easily
accessible to technology-based entrepreneurs and small tech-based companies
throughout its region. Each ESP provides an approach that tightly integrates
sources of deal flow, entrepreneurial support, and capital to effectively grow the
technology-based entrepreneurial commercialization outcomes throughout its
OHIO EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP CENTER (OEOC)
The Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC), a non-profit outreach center of Kent State
University, supports the development of businesses across Ohio and around the world by its
efforts that are proven to save jobs, create wealth, and grow the economy. The OEOC's work
rests on a simple philosophy: broader ownership of productive assets is a good thing for
employees, communities, and our country.
The OEOC provides technical assistance, training, & outreach to the business community in 4
- To business owners looking to exit their business
- To owners interested in selling their business to their employees
- To employee groups, local governments, and community groups seeking to avoid
business shutdowns and job loss in their communities; and
- To existing employee-owned companies, designed to help them be better employee-
OHIO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)
Office of Compliance Assistance & Pollution Prevention (OCAPP)
The Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention is a non-regulatory program that
provides information and resources to help small businesses comply with environmental
regulations. OCAPP also helps customers identify and implement pollution prevention
measures that can save money, increase business performance and benefit the environment.
Services of the office include a toll-free hotline, on-site compliance and P2 assessments (A P2
Assessment is an on-site survey of a company's operations to identify and evaluate
opportunities to reduce wastes and pollution), workshops/training, plain-English publications
library and assistance in completing permit application forms.
Ohio EPA’s mission is to protect the environment. However, we also recognize the challenges
we face as a state in attracting and retaining businesses to maintain a strong economy for
Ohio. To help meet both of these goals we strive for timely permit application reviews that
meet business timeframes whenever possible, while continuing our main mission of
protecting the environment.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE
The mission of the Ohio Department of Insurance is to provide consumer protection through
education and fair but vigilant regulation while promoting a stable and competitive
environment for insurers.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF JOBS AND FAMILY SERVICES (ODJFS)
Office of Workforce Development (OWD)
OhioMeansJobs.com is a window for employers to look for Ohio-based talent,
post job opportunities, and integrate employment events into a single, cost free
point of contact.
- Workplace Safety
Staff conducts routine inspections of workplaces throughout the state. They
provide information, ensure compliance with the labor laws, investigate
complaints and consult with both employers and employees. The Bureau
assists the public in understanding their rights and responsibilities under the
wage and hour law, and pursues reported violations of the law. They also
coordinate the activities of the field staff, standardize enforcement procedures
and interpret the rules and regulations.
OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE
Business Services Division
- License & Registrations
The Business Services Division receives and approves articles of incorporation for
Ohio corporations and grants licenses to in & out-of-state corporations seeking
to do business in Ohio. Limited partnerships and limited liability companies also
file with the secretary of state's office.
The Corporations Section of the Business Services Division also approves
amendments to filed documents, mergers; consolidations and dissolutions, and
registers trademarks, trade names, service marks and fictitious names.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION
Vendor License Registration
Ohio law requires any person or business making retail sales of tangible personal property or
taxable services to register for the sales tax by obtaining a vendor’s license. The state offers
several different types of vendor's licenses, depending on the kind of business, and at least
three ways to obtain a license.
Online Tax Filing
The Ohio Department of Taxation offers resources for filing and paying business taxes online.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE)
The Ohio Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Unified Certification Program (UCP) has
been developed in cooperation with the Federal Department of Transportation and municipal,
county, and state organizations to provide a centralized point of access for the distribution and
management of DBE related information. This Web site has been developed in cooperation
with the Federal Department of Transportation and municipal, county, and state organizations
to provide a centralized point of access for the distribution and management of DBE related
The intended audiences include, but are not limited, to the following.
- Prospective Disadvantaged Businesses
- Current Disadvantaged Businesses
- Municipal, County, and State Government
- General Contractors
OHIO TREASURER OF STATE
Ohio Enterprise Bond Fund (OEBF)
The Ohio Enterprise Bond Fund (OEBF) was created in 1988 in conjunction with the Ohio
Department of Development (ODOD) to provide a source of low-cost borrowing for Ohio
businesses. Since that time, OEBF has issued project bonds totaling over $500 million. These
funds can purchase land, buildings and equipment that will create and retain jobs and further
promote economic development throughout Ohio.
GrowNOW makes borrowing affordable for Ohio’s small businesses. GrowNOW enables
businesses to remain financially stable, hire additional employees or retain their workforce, and
become more productive.
In partnership with Ohio's state depository banks, The Ohio Treasury offers small business
owners a 3% interest rate reduction when they link their loans to creating or retaining jobs in
Ohio. Here’s how it works. When a business takes out a loan with an eligible bank, GrowNOW
can provide a 3% interest rate reduction on the loan. Essentially, the Treasury places a deposit
at the business' bank at a 3% interest rate reduction on the loan.
OHIO BUREAU OF WORKER’S COMPENSATION (BWC)
Safety Consulting Services
BWC maintains local customer service offices throughout the state to make it easier for Ohio
employers to take advantage of injury-prevention services. Specializing in safety, industrial
hygiene and ergonomics, our consultants will provide on-site services for your organization.
Division of Safety & Hygiene
The most valuable asset your organization has is its employees. By improving safety and
preventing incidents, you can protect your work force while reducing your workers'
compensation costs. If you are an employer participating in Ohio's exclusive workers'
compensation system, BWC's Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH) can meet all your needs and at
no direct cost to you.
Ohio Safety Council List
- Ohio Safety Council locations listed by regions.
Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP) grants
DFSP grants are available to assist employers who are implementing the DFSP at the Basic or
Advanced level. However, employers operating a comparable program are not eligible for DFSP
SafetyGRANT$ for Ohio employers
The purpose of the Safety Intervention Grant$ Program is to gather information about the
effectiveness of safety interventions so that BWC may share the results with Ohio employers.
The program is available to any Ohio state-fund or public employer who wishes to purchase
equipment to substantially reduce or eliminate injuries and illnesses associated with a
particular task or operation. The program is designed to work and partner with Ohio employers
to establish safety intervention best practices for accident and injury prevention.
OHIO REHABILITATION SERVICES COMMISSION (RSC)
Ohio Business Enterprise Program (BEPro)
The Ohio Business Enterprise Program (BEPro) enables Ohioans with disabilities to have careers
in food service management. Today, BEPro has more than 120 food service and vending
enterprises in Ohio. People who are legally blind manage cafeterias, convenient stores, snack
bars and vending machines in state, federal and county buildings. State universities, colleges
and interstate highway rest areas also boast BEPro businesses. As a BEPro manager you will be
the sole proprietor of a business. Your income will come from profits, not from wages or
payments by a state, federal or county government. The average yearly personal income of a
BEPro manager is $37,000. In Ohio, BEPro entrepreneurs employ more than 200 people; many
are people with disabilities. As a BEPro manager, you hire and supervise employees.
Employer Services & Support
RSC can develop the best candidates for your specific positions. RSC will provide qualified job
applicants, and evaluate and train prospective employees. Hiring through Employer Services is
good for Ohio - and good for your business.
Ohio Abilities provides enhanced opportunities for Ohioans with most significant disabilities to
explore self-employment and microenterprise. Through the agreement, the Ohio Department
of Development’s (ODOD) Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) will provide funding
grants, self-employment and business counseling, marketing training and technical assistance
to Ohioans who receive services through RSC.