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Women’s Business Enterprise Loan Program

a young woman opening the door to her small business shop

This loan program is designed to stimulate the growth of existing women-owned businesses by providing loans at market rate or below market rate interest (currently up to 3%). The minimum loan amount is $45,000 up to a maximum of $500,000. Loans will be repaid within 10 years for equipment and machinery and 15 years for owner-occupied real estate. The business must have its principal place of business and its business operations located in Ohio.

Review program guidelines for detailed information.

Download Women’s Business Enterprise Loan Program fact sheet.

To apply, click here

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the least amount I can borrow under each loan program?

  • The Ohio Micro-Loan (Micro-Loan) Program minimum is $10,000.
  • The Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Loan Program minimum is $45,000.
  • The Ohio Minority Business Direct (MBD) Loan Program minimum is $45,000.

What is the maximum loan amount I can borrow under each loan program?

  • The Micro-Loan maximum is $45,000.
  • The WBE Loan maximum is $500,000.
  • The MBD Loan maximum is $1.5 million.

Which loan programs must I be state-certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) or Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) to qualify for?

  • MBE or WBE certification is required for the Micro-Loan Program.
  • MBE certification is required for the MBD Loan Program.
  • It is recommended for the WBE Loan Program, but it is not required.

How long does my operating company have to have been in business and generating revenue to qualify for these loan programs?

  • One year for the Micro-Loan Program.
  • Two years for the WBE Loan Program.
  • Three years for the MBD Loan Program.

Do you assist startup businesses?

We can help startup businesses with business planning and counseling through our Minority Business Assistance Centers and other business services in the Department of Development. Startups are not eligible for these loan programs until they reach the milestones listed above.


Are these loans forgivable?

No, they have set terms, rates, and fees.


Can I apply for more than one loan program at a time?

Yes.


Can I apply for the loan before my certification has been approved?

No, you must complete your certification before applying for the Micro-Loan Program and the MBD Loan Program. The WBE Loan Program does not require certification, but it is recommended.


Is there a way to have my certification expedited?

Yes, you must request your certification to be expedited through the Minority Business Assistance Center in your area.


What are eligible uses of funds for each loan program?

  • The Micro-Loan can be used for any working/operating capital need, refinancing business debt, inventory, equipment, machinery, etc.
  • The WBE and MBD loans can be used for purchasing commercial real estate and property, renovations, leasehold improvements, machinery, and equipment.

What are the interest rates, fees, and terms?

  • The Micro-Loan interest rate is 0%. There is no application fee. No client equity required, and there is no commitment fee. The loan term is five years or seven years for equipment/machinery.
  • The WBE Loan interest rate is 3%, but if you are state-certified as a Women-Owned Business Enterprise, the interest rate is 1.5%. The loan term is 10 years or 15 years for purchase of commercial real estate. There is a 1.5% commitment fee of the total loan amount. There is a $300 application fee.
  • The MBD Loan interest rate is 3%. The loan term is 10 years or 15 years for purchase of commercial real estate. There is a 1.5% commitment fee of the total loan amount. There is a $300 application fee.

What additional documents do I need to upload to the application?

  • Three years of tax returns with all schedules included. If you are a sole proprietorship, personal tax returns. Form 1040, including Schedule C-business revenues. Less common schedules, Schedule A, capital gains, and Schedule E for real estate investors.
  • If any other business structure: Form 1065 for Partnerships and 1120-S for corporations are the most common, including Schedule K-1, partnership income.
  • Year-to-date financial statements: Balance sheet and income statement that are within 60 days of application submission.
  • Debt Schedule, including (1) outstanding balance, (2) monthly payment, and (3) maturity.
  • Projections for next two business years per program guidelines.
  • Personal financial statement for all personal guarantors.
  • Management Information:Provide owners’ individual resume, capability statement, or executive summary from your business plan. Include information about your business operations, how your business will benefit with competitive advantages pursuing this project, and the owners’ expertise and/or previous experience in this industry.
  • Sources and uses:
    • If machinery and/or equipment, provide invoice(s), including technical specifications and pricing.
    • If a vehicle, provide official dealer documentation, including VIN number. Only vehicles for exclusive use of the business (commercial type) are allowed.
    • If real estate, provide official documentation (e.g., real estate contract, land) and details of the proposed purchase. Investment and residential real estate of any type are not allowed.
    • If leasehold improvements/renovations, provide documentation, including but not limited to proposed budget, construction schedule, and/or cost estimates.
    • If payroll/hiring, how many employees will be hired as result of the project besides stockholders/owners.