JobsOhio Inclusion Grants Support Local, Small Businesses

Southeastern Ohio businesses were given a powerful new tool that is paying dividends across our region thanks to JobsOhio. JobsOhio, Ohio’s private economic development corporation, rolled out the Inclusion Grant program in 2020 to help existing Ohio businesses invest in and grow their operations. Through the program, scores of locally-owned small businesses in Appalachia have received funds that can be used for equipment, infrastructure, training, and other essential costs. We believe many more companies can benefit from this program and we wanted to share examples of how area companies have recently utilized the program.  

  • A Jackson County manufacturer, Nock & Son, needed better internet access and worked collaboratively with local, OhioSE, and JobsOhio staff to access the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant to help bring reliable internet service to their facility.
  • Advantage Tent Fittings, a Chillicothe-based manufacturer, utilized JobsOhio Inclusion Grant funds on a new piece of equipment. This new equipment has allowed the company to delve into new product offerings and new opportunities.
  • A Muskingum County manufacturing company, Shirley K’s, utilized the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant to purchase new equipment. This new equipment will allow the company to diversify its product offerings and expand into a growing market. 
  • Milo’s Whole World Gourmet is a producer of specialty foods such as spirit-infused pastas and BBQ sauces. The Athens County-based company has tapped into the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant to add additional square footage to expand its business.
  • The JonesZylon Company in West Lafayette (Coshocton County) is using the funds to launch a new product line not currently available in the market. The company is a designer and wholesale/distributor of food serving trays, dinnerware, and carts for the corrections, healthcare, and long-term care industries.
  • A Holmes County manufacturer, Green Fox Plastics, accessed the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant to support infrastructure improvements for its new manufacturing facility. The project will allow the company to increase the production of furniture-grade poly lumber board for sale to manufacturers in Ohio and other states.

These projects and many more are developed in conjunction with local economic development offices and Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) staff members. OhioSE is a regional non-profit economic development organization that serves as the JobsOhio network partner in 25 counties and southern and eastern Ohio.

In lieu of an application, local and regional development staff will gauge eligibility. Eligible companies must sell to other businesses, have at least $100,000 in annual revenue, and be operational for at least one year. Typical eligible businesses include manufacturers, logistics and distribution, and back-office operations. Retail, tourism, hospitality, public sector, and healthcare operations are not eligible. Qualifying projects must include new capital investment over a three-year period and normally include a new job commitment.

Companies can be eligible for the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant if they are located in a distressed area and meet the aforementioned criteria. Most of southeastern Ohio is classified as being in an eligible zip code. Companies that are not located in a distressed zip code, but that are owned by a veteran, woman, disabled person, or member of a minority group can qualify for the program.

If your company is exploring a capital investment project over the next 3 years and you believe you are eligible, please reach out to your county economic development office and/or an OhioSE staff member to discuss your project. Funds from the Inclusion Grant will not underwrite your project, but could cover a small percentage of your project to reduce debt liability and speed up your expansion plans. We believe in this program and have seen the fruit of its deployment all over southern and eastern Ohio. We hope you can take advantage of it as well.