Business Leaders and Community Stakeholders,
A successful and sustainable recovery for Ohio must include all Ohioans. Nearly 20% of Ohioans live in distressed areas—defined as areas that have not recovered from the last recession. The COVID-19 pandemic further disproportionally impacted these communities and their residents. It is critical that we support these areas of the state to help them and Ohio overall with post-pandemic economic recovery.
These communities are home to businesses with intellect that can benefit all of Ohio. JobsOhio is prioritizing efforts to empower the businesses with the resources they need to reach their potential. Since the start of 2020, we have worked on an inclusion strategy that focuses on investing in and driving job creation to Ohio’s distressed areas as well as providing the capital needed to grow the businesses in these communities and those owned by underserved populations.
One component of this strategy is the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant, which was created in July 2020 as part of JobsOhio’s COVID relief programming. The program puts funding of up to $50,000 for small and medium-sized businesses located in distressed areas of the state and owned by underrepresented population groups. As of today:
- 133 companies have closed deals or are currently in the pipeline.
- Over 4,287 jobs have been created or retained.
- Of these projects, 82% are in distressed communities, 23% are woman owned, 21% are minority owned, and 11% are veteran owned.
Some of the participating homegrown businesses include The Chef’s Garden, an agriculture company that pivoted its business model due to the pandemic, and MAKO Finished Products, a rural Ohio-based business that helps power a leading fitness brand. After a successful first year in providing $5 million in financial support to small and medium-sized businesses, the JobsOhio Board of Directors recently approved an increase of up to $8 million in 2021 due to the success and growing interest from local businesses.
Our efforts to ensure Ohio’s recovery is inclusive of all Ohio continue and we will share more in future updates.