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Business Innovation Challenge

November 1, 2016 was the most recent application deadline. Stay tuned for the 2017 deadline! 

The program: For the fall 2015 round of challenge grants, we awarded up to $2,500 grants to existing businesses with an innovative idea for how to spend it, with a focus on growing new products and services in Over-the-Rhine. Awards went to Daisy Mae's and The Garage OTR.

More about the Program:
Administered by the OTR Chamber's Business Attraction and Retention Committee, the program seeks to award grants to businesses with an innovative idea for how to spend it, with a focus on growing new products and services in Over-the-Rhine. We have offered three rounds of applications since the program inception in 2014 with the fall 2015 round being the first to offer grants up to $2,500. All existing businesses located in Over-the-Rhine (as defined by the City of Cincinnati) are eligible.

Innovation ideas can:
  • Focus on expanding your business: equipment, promotions, you name it
  • Enhance your customer experience
  • Help fund a project or service you’ve been wanting to launch

Requirements:
  • Submit a one-page application (or a one minute video) explaining your vision with words, graphics, charts, or anything you’d like.
  • Include the total budget of your project and the gap in funding, if applicable.
  • Include your business name and contact information.
  • A $20 application fee is required ($30 for Non Members). All application fees will be rolled into future Innovation Challenge grants.
  • All existing businesses located in Over-the-Rhine (as defined by the City of Cincinnati) are eligible.
  • Winning applicant will be required to have or obtain a current Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce membership.

In its first three rounds of applications, more than 40 businesses applied total. The Committee evaluated each application and considered innovation, business growth, execution, and impact. The following businesses have been awarded: MOTR Pub, Cincy Shirts, The Garage OTR / Segway, Steam Whistle Letterpress, Daisy Mae, and We Have Become Vikings.

Funding for the 2016 Innovation Challenge is provided by Fifth Third Bank.