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Small Business Loans in Ohio

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The 982,000-plus small businesses in Ohio help fuel the state’s economy. But operating a business in the state comes with its own challenges, not to mention the bureaucratic headaches of registering with the Ohio Secretary of State and Ohio Department of Taxation.

Small business loans in Ohio are available from state and local government agencies, and can help you to start or expand your business in the Buckeye State. We’ll walk you through the Ohio small business loan options to choose from.

If you’re looking for a small business loan in Ohio, here are some options to consider:


  • Loan amounts up to $400,000
  • Up to a 3% interest rate reduction
  • Repayment terms of two years with possible renewal

GrowNOW is sponsored by the Ohio Treasury and partners with financial institutions to offer low-cost small business loans in Ohio. To qualify, you must be a small business headquartered in Ohio with a majority of your employees being Ohio residents. These small business loans can be used for most business expenses but the company must be operating in Ohio and must commit to create and retain at least one full-time or two part-time jobs for every $50,000 in GrowNOW funds they receive.

Ohio Micro-Loan Program

  • Loan amounts range from $10,000 to $45,000
  • 0% interest rate
  • Repayment terms are five years for permanent working capital and seven years for equipment

The Ohio Micro-Loan Program provides loans to small businesses for working capital, purchasing equipment or refinancing debt. There is a short, online application, but no application fee. To be eligible, your business must be certified as a minority-owned business or women-owned business by the Ohio Department of Development Minority Business Development Division.

Women’s Business Enterprise Loan Program

  • Loan amounts are between $45,000 to $500,000
  • 3% interest rate or 1.5% if certified as a Women-Owned Business Enterprise in Ohio
  • Repayment terms are 10 years for equipment loans and 15 years for real estate

The Women’s Business Enterprise Loan Program offers loans to existing women-owned businesses. Funds can go towards buying equipment, commercial real estate or property renovations or refinancing business debt. Interest rates on these loans are offered at or below the market rate, but there is a $300 application fee and a commitment fee of 1.5% of the total amount of your loan. Small businesses must also be operating for at least two years.

If your small business is located in one of Ohio’s major cities, these business loans might be worth considering:

Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority

  • Loan amounts of $25,000 to $500,000
  • Interest rates vary; website states it is “below prime”
  • Repayment terms of up to 15 years

Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority offers small business loans specifically for minority-owned businesses. However, any small business with less than 100 employees can apply. To be eligible, your business must be located in Franklin County, Ohio, have fewer than 100 employees and serve certain industries. There’s a non-refundable $250 application fee of, a commitment fee of $500 and an origination fee of $750, among others.

Telhio Credit Union

  • Loan amounts are not disclosed
  • Interest rates are not disclosed
  • Repayment terms are not disclosed

Telhio Credit Union offers credit union business loans for businesses in the Cincinnati and Columbus metro areas. Among its products are working capital loans, commercial real estate loans and several flavors of SBA loans, including 7(a) loans and 504 loans. The information provided on Telhio’s website is limited, and anyone who is interested in the loan program is directed to contact Telhio directly for more details or to apply online. As common with credit unions, you’ll likely need to be a member to be eligible.

LISC Greater Cincinnati

  • Loan amounts up to $10,000
  • 0% interest
  • Repayment terms of three years

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Greater Cincinnati partnered with the online lending platform Kiva to offer microloans specifically for minority- and women-owned businesses within the Greater Cincinnati area. Lenders from all over the globe can lend funds to borrowers, who will then pay them back directly without any fees.

Huntington Bank SBA loans

Huntington Bank is a leading SBA lender offering 7(a) Loans, SBA Express Loans and 504 Loans. The website does not disclose a lot of information, but the SBA sets maximums on rates, repayment term length, fees and eligibility criteria.

  • Loan amounts up to $5,000,000
  • Interest rates are subject to SBA maximums
  • Repayment terms are subject to SBA maximums


KeyBank is a traditional brick-and-mortar bank with a wide range of loan options, including term loans, business lines of credit, commercial real estate loans, equipment financing, SBA 7(a) loans and SBA 504 loans.

The business term loans that KeyBank offers can be unsecured or secured with adjustable or fixed rates and used for anything from purchasing property to debt consolidation.

  • Loan amounts range from $10,000 to $500,000
  • Interest rates not disclosed
  • Repayment terms are 12 to 84 months

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank is also a traditional bank with many loan products to choose from. These can include unsecured term loans, secured loans, lines of credit, equipment financing, commercial real estate loans, SBA 7(a) loans, SBA 7(a) real estate loans and SBA 504 loans.

Its equipment financing product can be used to purchase commercial vehicles or construction equipment that can reach up to 125% of the overall costs to help with other expenses, such as installation.

  • Loan amounts are up to $1,000,000 when you apply in person or up to $200,000 when applying online
  • Interest rates are not disclosed
  • Repayment terms start at 24 months


A small business grant can also help provide financial assistance. This type of funding comes from the federal or local government and is given to small businesses that meet the designated size standards of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Some places to find small business grants in Ohio can include:


SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides coaching and mentorship to small businesses. Backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE also gives opportunities to participate in educational workshops to support your business. You can use the SBA local assistance search tool to find an expert counselor in your community.

Small Business Development Centers

Small Business Development Centers, such as the Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), offer counseling and training to small businesses on anything from business planning to market research, to both new and existing companies. To find a SBDC near you, search your zip code online for a location near you.

When applying for a small business loan in Ohio, pay attention to specific requirements each lender has. Here are several common factors most applications will ask for:

Credit score: Minimum credit scores will vary by lender, but it’s generally a good rule of thumb to have a minimum score within the 600s. But, if yours is lower, there may be bad credit business loans to consider.

Business plan: A business plan helps show your business’ ability to pay back the loan with details on how the company will grow and bring in revenue. A traditional business plan usually showcases the description of the company, the service or product it provides, market analysis and requests for funding.

Annual revenue: Lenders look at your annual revenue to see if you have enough money coming in to make loan payments. The amount of annual revenue needed may vary by each lender; however, many ask that you make at least $100,000 each year, if not more.

Time in business: Not all lenders will approve lending for startup businesses. Some may require that you have been operating for a certain amount of time, typically within one or two years, before you can be approved for funding.

When trying to get a business loan, here are some features that you may want to look for:

  • Fixed APR: Fixed interest rates remain the same throughout the duration of your loan making them easier to plan for repayment, especially with long-term loans that can take years to pay off.
  • Transparent repayment terms: Each lender should provide clear repayment terms so you not only know when your loan needs to be paid off in full but can also compare terms with other lenders.
  • Short-term or long-term: Short-term loans tend to range from three to 24 months, with weekly or daily repayments, while long-term loans can have terms up to ten years or more with monthly payments. The term length will depend on how much funding you need and for what specific expense it will go toward.
  • Collateral: Secured loans are backed by collateral, or an asset, such as equipment or real estate, that can be seized by the lender if you should default. If you don’t have a high credit score but have the assets, a secured business loan might help you receive a larger sum of money. An unsecured loan does not require collateral so you’ll likely need a higher credit score to apply.

While newer businesses may not have the revenue to apply with a more traditional lender, that doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot find funding elsewhere. One example that may be an option is an equipment financing loan. These loans look at the value of the equipment and use that as collateral, rather than focusing on the amount of money the business is making.

While many traditional lenders may require you to be in business for a certain amount of time to receive funding, there are others better suited for startups. Microloans are geared toward start-ups, offering up to $50,000 without strict annual revenue requirements.

Yes. Even if you have bad credit, you may still be able to get a small business loan in Ohio. Some lenders look at other factors besides your credit score when considering you for a loan. If you can offer collateral for the loan, lenders may be willing to look past a lower credit score.

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