The Neighborhood Retail Assistance program provides grants and loans to Cleveland's small retail businesses 

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Small Businesses and Retail

Small businesses make up the fastest growing section of the US economy, creating more jobs each year than any other business segment. The City of Cleveland supports small businesses through a variety of assistance programs.

Retail businesses are the heart of city neighborhoods, providing goods and services as well as a place for the community to connect. The City supports retail businesses through loans and grants and by providing financing for additional neighborhood parking through targeted programs.

Money spent within the City of Cleveland contributes to job retention and creation as well as providing tax funds for services and schools.

Gardening for Greenbacks Vacant Property Initiative
Neighborhood Retail Assistance Program District of Design
Grow Cuyahoga County Fund Working Capital Loan Program
ED Loan Program

Gardening for Greenbacks

 216.664.4363 – Weekdays 8 am to 5 pm

Gardening for Greenbacks Brochure  -   NRAP Application Form

Grants of up to $3000 are available for equipment related to growing and selling produce. Members of farmer cooperatives and other community supported agriculture programs that sell food and share proceeds are eligible to participate. Program objectives include ensuring that residents have access to fresh, healthy and affordable food.

Neighborhood Retail Assistance Program

216.664.3720 - Weekdays 8 am to 5 pm - 601 Lakeside Ave.

NRAP Flyer -  NRAP Application Form - CDC Contacts  - Councilpersons

The Neighborhood Retail Assistance program or ‘NRAP’ program is structured to provide grant and loan assistance (up to $40,000) to small retail-related businesses and targets projects which will upgrade the exterior appearance and feel of retail districts. These projects include landscaping, lighting and signage, enhancements which have proven to have a positive effect on the economic vitality, vibrancy, and image of a community. All NRAP applicants must have a letter of support from their community Development Corporation (CDC) and their councilperson.

*When locating near a CDC boundary it is a good idea to call the CDCs to confirm which CDC covers that area.

The Grow Cuyahoga County Fund

This is a public-private partnership intended to attract new funds to the region. It provides ED incentives including financing for working capital, retail establishments, and restaurants. -more

Vacant Property Initiative Fund

216.664.2406 - Weekdays 8 am to 5 pm - 601 Lakeside, Room 210

These loans are designed to overcome barriers to the re-use of abandoned, idled or underutilized commercial and industrial properties. Eligible applicants include private developers and businesses, and non-profit CDC’s.  -more

Economic Development Loan Program

Designed to help companies from across all industries grow and prosper, this program offers long term, fixed-rate financing at 4% interest. This provides a lower debt service on overall financing and can help a company aggressively pursue and execute on their growth strategy.-more

District of Design Initiative

216.623.6606 or 216.348.5301

District of Design Initiative Brochure

This initiative is designed to create a showroom district on Euclid Avenue and the streets between East 9th and East 22nd. The goal is to create a high-end urban experience for buyers from national and local retailers. Eligible activities include property acquisition, site clearance/demolition, appraisals, renovations, new construction, leasehold improvements, signage, exterior lighting & improvements, architectural expenses, and permit fees. Funding of up to $350,00 include loan forgiveness incentives. A shared 1st priority lean or letter of credit will be required.

Working Capital Loan Program

216.664.3612 or 216.664.2202 – Weekdays 8 am to 5 pm – Send Email

Working Capital Loan Brochure   - Working Capital Loan Application

This program is designed to assist businesses that have recently had their lines of credit cut. The company must show pending orders that require inventory purchase, have the ability to re-pay debt, and be credit worthy. The City cannot refinance existing debt or fund speculative projects. The loans are for one year and may be extended for up to an additional two years, if the company can show inadequate access to a bank line of credit. The loan will be deferred for 3 months and be amortized over 39 months at 4.25% fixed interest. Maximum loan amount is $200,000. Borrowers may pre-pay the loan without penalty. City participation is 33.3% maximum, and requires at least 10% equity participation.

Department of Economic Development
Tracey A. Nichols, Director
601 Lakeside Ave, Room 210
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

P: 216.664.2406
F: 216.664.3681
Relay Service: 711
Send Email

Downtown Cleveland

Mission Statement


To provide assistance to businesses expanding within or locating to the city of Cleveland including financing, workforce solutions and technical assistance that will encourage investment in the community to enhance the lives of our citizens.

- Economic Development