Financial Assistance Programs and Information

Financial Information 

The following lists were compiled by Ohio EPA, Office of Pollution Prevention to provide information for those interested in obtaining financing for environmental projects in Ohio. It is by no means complete. Please contact Bill Narotski of the Office of Pollution Prevention or the contacts in the following lists to request more information.

Recommended Reading*

*On a related topic, the costs associated with waste are addressed in "Waste: What is it Really Costing You?"

Business Development Assistance

The Ohio Development Services Agency assists domestic and foreign businesses with up-to-date information on sites, buildings, labor, markets, taxes and financing. Development specialists act as liaisons between the companies and state/local agencies.

Contact: Ohio Development Services Agency, 77 S. High St., 29th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215 at 1-800-848-1300.

Energy Star Program

ENERGY STAR partners with manufacturers, retailers, utilities, home builders, financial institutions, service and product providers and other businesses in order to foster a market place that supports practices, products and services that are as energy-efficient as possible.

The Environmental Finance Program

The Environmental Finance Program provides financial technical assistance to the regulated community on environmental finance issues, trends and options. The Environmental Financing Information Network (EFIN) is an outreach service of this program offering electronic access to many types of environmental financing information on financing alternatives for state and local environmental programs and projects. Among the financing mechanisms on this page is the 'Guidebook of Financial Tools.' It provides a wealth of valuable information on 250 financing tools that federal, state and local governments as well as the private sector can use to pay for environmental programs, systems and activities.

Contact: Office of the Chief Financial Officer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., 2710A, Washington D.C. 20460 at (202) 564-1151. More information here

1st Stop Business Connection

1st Stop Business Connection supplies new entrepreneurs with information about licenses and permits required by the State of Ohio. Directs callers to proper area for technical, financial and management resources.

Contact: Office of Business Assistance, Ohio Development Services Agency at (614) 466-4232 or 1-800-848-1300. Email here

Minority Contractors and Business Assistance Program

Minority Business Assistance Center Program provides outreach for the department into the minority business community. Minority entrepreneurs are provided with management, technical, financial and contract procurement assistance, as well as loan and bond packaging services at no cost.

Contact: Minority Business Development Division, Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-848-1300.

Ohio Small Business Development Centers

Ohio Small Business Development Centers provide in-depth counseling, management/technical assistance, entrepreneurship education, training and advocacy. Centers network government, academic and business resources for small business development. Specialty counseling in government procurement and international trade.

Contact: Office of Business Assistance, Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-848-1300.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Toolbook for Financing Energy Efficiency and Pollution Prevention Technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Toolbook for Financing Energy Efficiency and Pollution Prevention Technologies provides an overview of public and private financing resources, private lender concerns and types of public-sector tools suitable for manufacturers.

U.S. EPA Resources to Assist in Pursuing Environmental Education Grants and Funding

U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a variety of assistance, including loans and counseling, to small businesses.

Contact: U.S. Small Business Administration, Columbus District Office, 401 N. Front St., Suite 200, Columbus, OH 43215 at (614) 469-6860.

Women's Business Resource Program

The Women's Business Resource Program provides assistance for start-up, expansion and management of businesses owned by women; advocate on behalf of women entrepreneurs; and directions on purchasing and procurement opportunities with government agencies. The program also researches legislation that may impact businesses owned by women.

Contact: Office of Business Assistance, Ohio Development Services Agency at (614) 466-2711.

412 Program

The 412 program is a direct incentive grant program. Projects will be analyzed as to local impact, job creation/retention and leveraged investment. These funds must be used for a designated capital purpose. Normal application of the funds are for costs associated with the construction of public infrastructure supporting a development project. Examples of eligible expenditures are engineering and construction costs of roads, sewer and water lines supporting a development project. These funds can also be used for on-site infrastructure (access roads, parking facilities) or for machinery and equipment costs.

Contact: Ohio Office of Business Development, Ohio Department of Development at (614) 466-4551 or 1-800-848-1300.

Conversion Facilities Exemption

The Conversion Facilities Exemption was designed to encourage and reward businesses for investing in energy conversion, solid waste energy conversion or thermal efficiency improvements. These investments will lower operating costs and reduce pollution. Submit exemptions through the Department of Taxation.

Contact: Ohio Department of Taxation at (888) 405-4039.

Microenterprise Business Development Program

Microenterprise Business Development Program funds are distributed on a competitive basis to eligible communities to assist in the development of local microenteprise businesses and to create and retain long-term jobs in the private sector. Microenterprises are defined as for-profit entities with five or fewer employees, one of whom owns the business.

Contact: Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-848-1300.

Ohio Industrial Training Program (OITP)

The Ohio Industrial Training Program (OITP) assists companies in preparing training plans, acquiring the most appropriate training resources (for training-the-trainer) and offsetting the company's costs to train their employees. These actions enable a company to become a more efficient, high performance operation.

Contact: Ohio Industrial Training Program, Ohio Department of Development at (614) 466-4155 or 1-800-848-1300.

Ohio Research Commercialization Grant Program

Ohio Research Commercialization Grant Program (ORCGP) was created to improve the commercial viability of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and Advanced Technology Program (ATP) research and development projects. The intent is to improve the ability of small technology companies to assess and realize the commercial potential of research projects and to promote the competitiveness of these companies through the augmentation of federal research and development funding.

Contact: Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-848-1300.

Recycling and Litter Prevention Grants

Ohio EPA offers different types of competitive grant funding to assist communities develop recycling programs, including Community Development Grants, Market Development Grants and Scrap Tire Grants. Click here to learn more about these and other grants.

Small Business Innovative Research Grants

The Ohio Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Office helps Ohio's small research-oriented firms compete for federal agency research and development (R&D) grants or contracts. Federal agencies solicit for grant proposals on a revolving basis. Check the solicitation calendar to determine when a grant request can be submitted to a particular agency.

Contact: Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-848-1300.

U.S. EPA Grants

Check out this page for links to grant funding available through the U.S. EPA.

Ag-LINK Program

Direct 166 Loan Program

The Direct 166 Loan Program "provides loans for land and building acquisition, construction, expansion or renovation and equipment purchases for eligible business," according to the program's website

Contact: Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-848-1300.

Drinking Water Assistance Fund

The Drinking Water Assistance Fund offers loans to public water system owners at below-market rates for water treatment and water distribution system improvements. Eligible systems must be publicly or privately owned community water systems or non-profit, non-community water systems.

Contact: Ohio EPA, Division of Drinking and Ground Waters at (614) 644-2752.

Drinking Water Emergency Loan Fund

The Drinking Water Emergency Loan Fund provides loans to owners or operators of public drinking water systems for emergency remediation of a threat of contamination, which prevents the system from supplying adequate quantities of safe, drinkable water to its users. To be eligible, the system must have a valid license to operate and document the threat of contamination.

Contact: Ohio EPA, Division of Drinking and Ground Waters at (614) 644-2752.

Linked Deposit Program for Petroleum Underground Storage Tanks

The Linked Deposit Program for Petroleum Underground Storage Tanks was designed to assist small petroleum retailers with the upgrade/replacement of existing petroleum underground storage tanks (USTs). It also applies to other small businesses/farms with petroleum USTs.

Contact: Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Release Compensation Board at (614) 752-8963 or 1-800-224-4659. Email here

Ohio Air Quality Development Authority

The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority issues bonds with attractive terms, providing substantial benefits for companies seeking financing for air pollution control and pollution prevention equipment. Certain projects financed through the authority may qualify for state and local tax savings, as well.

Contact: Ohio Air Quality Development Authority, 50 W. Broad St., Suite 1718, Columbus, OH 43215 at (614) 224-3383.

Ohio Development Services Agency

The following loan or low-interest bond programs are available through the Ohio Development Services Agency.

  • The Ohio Enterprise Bond Fund provides funding for land and building acquisition, construction, expansion or renovation and equipment purchases for commercial or industrial projects between $1.5 million and $10 million in size. 
  • The Ohio Qualified Small-Issue Bond Program provides low-interest financing for small manufacturing facilities locating or expanding in Ohio that have or can obtain allocations of volume cap. Contact the Office of Strategic Business Investments, Business Services Division of the Ohio Development Services Agency at (614) 466-4551. 
  • The Volume Cap Program provides authority to issue tax-exempt bonds for select private activities. Awarded pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Sections 122-4-01 to 122-4-08. Contact the Office of Strategic Business Investments, Business Services Division of the Ohio Development Services Agency at (614) 466-4551. 
  • The Direct 166 Loan Program provides loans for land and building acquisition, expansion or renovation and equipment purchase.  
  • The Regional 166 Loan Program provides loans for land and building acquisition, expansion or renovation and equipment purchase. A total of 12 local economic development agencies administer the program. 
  • The Pioneer Rural Loan provides direct loans for businesses locating or expanding in Ohio's rural areas. Businesses must demonstrate that they will create new jobs for Ohio citizens in rural areas. Loan may be used for acquisition of land and buildings, new construction, renovation and expansion of existing buildings and acquisition of machinery and equipment. 
  • The Capital Access Program encourages lending by establishing a unique loan "guarantee" reserve pool at the lending institution. The state, the lender and the borrower each make a small contribution into the pool. The reserve pool is available to the lender for recovery of any losses they may have for any loan that is enrolled in the Capital Access Program. Contact the Minority Business Development Division (614) 466-5700 or 1-800-848-1300. 
  • The Minority Business Direct Loan provides loans for the purchase or improvement of fixed assets for state-certified minority-owned businesses. Contact the Minority Business Development Division at (614) 466-5700 or 1-800-848-1300. 
  • The Ohio Mini-Loan Guarantee Program provides loan guarantees for fixed assets for small business (start-up or existing business expansion) for projects of $100,000 or less. 
  • The Rural Industrial Park Loan provides direct loans and loan guarantees to rural, distressed local communities and other eligible applicants committed to creating well-planned industrial parks.
  • The Urban Redevelopment Loan removes development barriers from urban core property so that private sector job opportunities can be created. 
  • The Urban and Rural Initiative provides assistance to municipalities and non-profit economic development organizations in distressed areas for land acquisition, infrastructure improvements, renovation of existing buildings and brownfield site remediation (project must participate in the Voluntary Action Program). The project must result in economic reuse or the creation of industrial parks. 

Ohio Water Pollution Control Loan Fund

Ohio's Water Pollution Control Loan Fund offers communities below-market interest rates for municipal wastewater treatment improvements and non-point source pollution control and pollution prevention projects. Among the projects eligible for assistance are: wastewater treatment facilities; septage receiving facilities; landfills; urban storm water runoff; forestry best management practices; agricultural runoff control; and brownfield/contaminated site remediation.

Contact: Ohio EPA, Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance at (614) 644-2798.

Renew & Rebuild Ohio

The Renew Ohio Program "assists small business owners and the agricultural community," according to the program's website.

The Rebuild Ohio Program "assists homeowners financing the restoration of their homes through the use of construction or other loans by providing a 3 percent interest rate reduction on those loans for a five or seven year period," according to the program's website.

Contact: Office of the Ohio Treasurer, 1-800-228-1102.

SBA 504 Loan

The Certified Development Company (CDC)/504 Loan Program is a long-term financing tool for economic development within a community. The 504 program provides growing businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land and buildings. Check the webpage for a list of CDCs.

Water Pollution Control Loan Fund Linked Deposit Program

The linked deposit program of the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) is a mechanism for financing certain WPCLF projects. Instead of borrowing directly from the fund, a linked deposit loan is made to the applicant by a private lending institution. The below-market interest rate for the loan is supported by a WPCLF-funded certificate of deposit with the lender. The Ohio WPCLF was the first State Revolving Fund (SRF) program in the nation to use linked deposits.

Contact: Ohio EPA, Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance at (614) 644-2798.

Air Pollution Control Equipment Tax Exemption Program

This program offers tax exemptions for companies installing air or noise pollution control equipment and facilities.

Contact: Bruce Weinberg at (614) 644-3752 or Bill Juris at (614) 644-3593, Division of Air Pollution Control, Ohio EPA, 50 W. Town St., Suite 700, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049.

Community Reinvestment Areas

The Ohio Community Reinvestment Areas Program offer local tax incentives for businesses that expand or locate in designated areas of Ohio.

Contact: Office of Strategic Business Investments, Ohio Development Services Agency at (614) 466-4551 or 1-800-848-1300.

Enterprise Zone

The Ohio Enterprise Zone Program offers local and state tax incentives for businesses that expand or locate in Ohio. These incentives include up to 100 percent abatement of real estate or tangible personal property taxes for up to 10 years. Additional state incentives available.

Contact: Office of Strategic Business Investments, Ohio Development Services Agency at (614) 466-4551 or 1-800-848-1300.

Ohio's Manufacturing Machinery Equipment Investment Tax Credit and Subsequent Grant

Ohio's Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment Investment Tax Credit and Subsequent Grant is a non-refundable corporate franchise or state income tax credit for a manufacturer that purchases new machinery and equipment that is located in Ohio and is used in the production or assembly of a manufactured good.

Contact: Ohio Department of Taxation, P.O. Box 530, Columbus, OH 43216-0530 or click here for their website. 

Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit

The Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit offers state and municipal tax incentives available for businesses that expand or locate in Ohio. State guidelines regulate the types of businesses and projects eligible for the incentive.

Contact: Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-848-1300.

Research and Development Sales Tax Exemption

The Research and Development Sales Tax Exemption provides an exemption from the usual state and county sales tax for companies that purchase equipment for research and development activities.

Contact: Ohio Department of Taxation, Sales Tax Division at 1-888-405-4039.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Tax Credit

The Work Opportunities Tax Credit (WOTC) Program offers employers a credit against their federal tax liability for hiring individuals from nine target groups.

Contact: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Office of Workforce Development, 30 E. Broad St., 32nd Floor, P.O. Box 1618, Columbus, OH 43215 at (614) 644-0966 or 1-888-296-7541. Email here

13.5 Percent Eligible Investment Areas

Tax credits are available to businesses that purchase qualifying manufacturing machinery and equipment for use in certain areas of the state that are designed by the state as a distressed area, a labor surplus area, an inner city area or a situational distress area.

Water Pollution Control Equipment Tax Exemption Program

The Water Pollution Control Equipment Tax Exemption Program offers tax incentives for business purchasing water pollution control equipment.