For businesses, there are several extremely valuable incentive programs in Cleveland - incentives to support business growth, storefront improvements, businesses moving to Downtown Cleveland, and much more. The Alliance works directly with the City of Cleveland's Department of Economic Development to promote these programs and to identify businesses who might benefit from them. Below is a list of some major incentives offered through the Alliance, the City of Cleveland, and our partners.

In addition to the listed incentives, we would enjoy an opportunity to meet you. Every business is different; our focus is to find the right package that will take your business to the next level. Contact Ryan Manthey in our office (216-736-7799) to schedule a time to meet with our Business Development team and discuss your business goals.

Storefront Renovation Program (SRP)

  • SRP creates exciting signage opportunities in targeted downtown retail areas. As a business with a storefront, you want to make sure that your business puts forth the best first impression. This program helps businesses in the downtown central business district through special signage incentives. To talk with someone about the eligibility of your building or business, contact Tom Starinsky of the Historic Gateway Neighborhood.

    SRP Downtown Signage Rebate:
    The City offers a sign-only rebate of 40% up to $3,000 on a per business use basis to those applicants that fully complete their signage construction/installation within one year of executing a SRP Rebate Agreement with the City of Cleveland, with full adherence to all SRP regulations, requirements and project documentation submissions.

    SRP Downtown Signage-Only Business Tenant Loan:
    In partnership with the City of Cleveland and Cleveland Action to Support Housing (CASH), Dollar Bank is offering business tenants a 4.50% fixed interest rate loan up to $15,000 per business use for the design and installation costs associated with new signage created through the SRP.  The loans do not require commercial real estate as collateral and carry terms of 3-5 years based on the credit of the borrower.  No prepayment penalty applies, however both CASH and Dollar Bank charge administrative fees. These deals require a CDBG compensating balance deposit by CASH and therefore require all federal regulations apply including prevailing wages to projects where the cost of installation exceeds $2,000.

Predevelopment Matching Fund

  • Sometimes big ideas need a little help to take the next step toward development. The Predevelopment Matching Fund provides financial support to property owners and developers in order to complete crucial financial and architectural feasibility studies, design development studies, prospective appraisals or historic tax credit qualifications. These studies help to determine the viability of a project before a significant investment is made.

    In recent years, a number of stakeholders have accessed the Predevelopment Matching Fund and supported funds of other downtown organizations including Historic Gateway Neighborhood, Historic Warehouse District Development Corp., Campus District, and Cleveland Theater District Development Corp.

    Through generous support from the Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, and the Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust, a number of predevelopment studies on Downtown projects have been funded. In addition, numerous matching grants (up to $10,000) have been made totaling over $200,000 since 2006.  Project uses have included architectural and housing feasibility studies, a downtown grocery store, mixed-use retail and parking, art space and a museum.

    For more information contact Mark Lammon at Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

Vacant Properties Initiative (VPI)

  • The VPI program from the City of Cleveland helps a company overcome barriers involved with the full reuse of abandoned, idled or underutilized commercial and industrial properties within Cleveland.  Financial assistance could be provided for property acquisition, environmental site assessments, site clearance and demolition, property appraisals, and various new constructions.  Buildings must be at least 20 years old and 40% vacant for at least 2 years.  Funding is available for private developers/businesses and non-profit CDC's.

Citywide Business Grant Program

  • The City of Cleveland utilizes this program in order to attract new businesses, increase commercial property tax values, and provide greater job opportunities for local, talented individuals.  Grants are based on the amount of new income taxes generated by a business.  Suitable applicants are new businesses moving to Cleveland or businesses within the city that are experiencing a growth of at least 5 new jobs per year.  A grant of up to $50,000 per year for three years is available for eligible applicants. 

Economic Development Loan Program

  • Eligible applicants are for-profit corporations who are creating new jobs.  Loans are long term, fixed-rate financing at an interest rate of 4% approved from a minimum of $35,000 to a maximum of $400,000.  Loans can be used for fixed asset financing as well as property acquisition, equipment purchase, new construction and other related costs.  Loans are typically 5-7 years on equipment and up to 15 years on land and building costs. 

Neighborhood Retail Assistance Program (NRAP)

  • NRAP provides financial assistance to small retail businesses, primarily locally-owned, for the purpose of upgrading the exterior appearance of retail districts.  Upgrades include exterior renovation, landscaping, lighting, public art and signage with an emphasis on Green and sustainable designs.  Financing from the City of Clevelland is available to private developers and small businesses.  Eligible applicants can receive up to $40,000 with a 3% interest rate. 

Technology Business Grant Program

  • The City of Cleveland designed this program to grow and attract new technology businesses.  Funding supports the development of new job opportunities for local, talented citizens.  Eligible companies include software, hardware, medical device, homeland security and several other technology driven companies.  Growing technology businesses can receive up to $50,000 per year for 3 years. 

Design District Initiative

  • This initiative is designed to create a district on Euclid Avenue containing showrooms geared toward retail and wholesale buyers, fostering a high-end design experience for buyers from local, national, and worldwide retailers.  Eligible applicants can receive up to $350,000 in loan funding with up to 30% forgiveness.  There is a maximum of a 1-year term with only 6% interest.  Eligible properties include currently vacant retail or commercial space in the District of Design with an expectation for job creation. 

Gardening for Greenbacks

  • The goal of this City of Cleveland initiative is to encourage local food system development to ensure every resident throughout Cleveland has access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.  Grants of up to $3,000 will aid in the purchase of tools, display tables and booths, irrigation systems, rain barrels, greenhouses, and signage. 

The Grow Cuyahoga County Fund

  • This unique loan program is a regional funding effort between Cuyahoga County Community Improvement Corporation (CCCIC), the City of Cleveland and the Cuyahoga County Commissioners.  Eligible applicants will meet Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards, be a for-profit company in business for at least 3 years, and demonstrate an ability to repay the loan.  The Fund makes loans ranging from $35,000 to $1 million to use as working capital for machinery and equipment, acquisition of land and buildings, construction, renovations and tenant improvements.