Here to Help

The City of Hamilton is committed to helping businesses thrive, big or small. Hamilton’s small businesses are so important in making Hamilton a great place to live, work, and play, from our favorite pizza place to our trusted car repair shop. Hamilton boasts a number of business districts that provide a variety of business opportunities, from the walkable and historic downtown and Main Street districts to the car-friendly and convenient Route 4 and West Side districts.

We want to make doing business in Hamilton as easy as possible, so we have established a Business Development Team that is one point of contact for all of your business needs. Whether you are interested in starting a business or are an existing business owner, the Small Business Liaison can assist you.

For more information, contact the Small Business Liaison Liz Hayden at startmeup@hamilton-oh.gov or 513-785-7070. For help developing a business plan, learn about SBA loans, work with a seasoned small business mentor, and much more, also check out The Hamilton Mill, Hamilton’s business incubator. They can connect you to the right resources. Fill out their inquiry form here.

Small Business Assistance

Design Assistance Program

In order to encourage new businesses and the expansion of existing businesses in Hamilton, the Hamilton Department of Economic Development offers a Design Assistance Program. This program provides business owners interested in renovating existing buildings or in constructing new buildings with a grant that is worth up to 5% of the total project cost to be used for professional architectural/technical services. The design process typically provides the owner with some or all of the following:

  • Floor plans showing existing and/or new construction
  • Building facade improvements
  • Preliminary building, zoning and safety code analysis

For more information, check out the Fact Sheet here. To apply, fill out the application here. Or email startmeup@hamilton-oh.gov.

 

Microloan Program

The Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce has a microloan program. It is a partnership with First Financial Bank that offers low-interest loans up to $10,000 to businesses within the City of Hamilton. These loans are 2% above the prime interest rate and can be paid back over a 4 year period. Loans are based on personal credit score. This is a good option for a start-up business, but must have a business plan. Business revenues are $500,000 or less and have 10 or fewer employees. For more information, check out the Chamber’s website here.

 

IMPROVE

If you’re looking at doing something downtown, the IMPROVE program might help. The Special Improvement District (SID) has a great program, as well, that I encourage you to apply for. The IMPROVE Program (Incentives to Maintain Proper Restoration Of Valuable Edifices) is available for businesses located in downtown Hamilton. The purpose of the program is to help the SID’s downtown building/business owners improve the exterior facades of their downtown buildings and/or businesses. It is a matching grant up to $2,000 for exterior improvements. For more information, click here.

 

Community Reinvestment Area

For small businesses purchasing property in Hamilton, the Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) offers property owners a property tax abatement on property improvements. Up to 50% of the improved value can be abated for up to twelve years. Property owners submit an application to the City of Hamilton prior to construction or remodeling. For more information, check out the program brochure here. You can find the commercial application here.

 

Efficiency Smart

Hamilton Utilities has partnered with Efficiency Smart to offer a comprehensive energy efficiency program to Hamilton utility customers. There is no cost to participate in the program. Efficiency Smart provides technical assistance and financial incentives, which allow for the implementation of energy-saving improvements to Hamilton’s homeowners, renters, small to medium-sized businesses, institutions, and large commercial and industrial customers. There are many components of Efficiency Smart that could help small businesses, including rebates for energy-efficient products and discounts on energy-efficient lighting. For more information, check out the website here. You can email info@efficiencysmart.org to set up an appointment or for more information.

 

SBA 504 loan

The SBA 504 loan offers long-term financing at a below-market rate. Possibilities with this loan include real estate acquisition, new construction, renovation of existing buildings, machinery and equipment acquisition, and project-related soft costs. For more information, contact the Small Business Development Center or learn more at the Small Business Association website.

 

Ohio GrowNOW

When a business is approved for a loan at an eligible bank, GrowNow provides an additional three percent discount on the loan’s already negotiated interest rate. The program can be used by businesses that are organized for profit, have less than 150 employees and are headquartered in Ohio. Maximum loan is $400,000 and there is no application deadline. For more information, check out the website here.

Small Business Development Partners

Food Truck Vendors

If you plan to be a street vendor on public property (streets, sidewalks, etc.) then you will need a street vendor’s license. If you vend from private property or are part of a festival or special event, you do not need a Street Vending license. Learn More