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Ohio Small Business Loans: Best Local and Online Options

Small business loans for Ohio-based companies can come in a variety of shapes and forms. Whether you are looking for the lowest rates possible, most favorable terms and conditions, or simply wish to obtain funding from a lender closely embedded within the local community, Ohio has a broad range of...

Best Ohio Small Business Loans
Tetiana Sitiugina-Babiuk
Financial Sector Specialist and Content Strategist

Reviewed by: Jen Hubley Luckwaldt, Content Writer and Editor

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At a glance: According to the 2022 Small Business Profile, there are over 966,000 small businesses in Ohio, employing 2.2 million workers. This accounts for 99.6% of all companies within the state. In 2020, the most recent year for which data is available, banks issued $4.1 billion in loans to Ohio businesses with revenues of $1 million or less.

Top 3 Ohio Small Business Loan Options

Whether you are looking for additional funding to expand your small business, purchase equipment, or consolidate debt, many different Ohio small business loan providers can help you achieve these goals. Below, you will find the top 3 private sources to consider when trying to obtain a loan for your company.

1. Economic and Community Development Institute

The Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) is a non-profit organization serving underbanked and underserved small businesses within the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron, Canton, Portsmouth, and Toledo areas.

The ECDI offers loan amounts as high as $500,000 with terms of up to 10 years. The application fee is $25, and you can expect to pay up to an additional 5% of the loan amount in closing fees. In addition, to qualify for the loan, you will be required to participate in specialized financial training. 

Some of the common products offered by the ECDI include:

  • Small Business Solutions Loans. The Small Business Solutions Loan is a microloan offered by ECDI that can provide up to $2,500 with a 12-month repayment term. This option comes with a fixed APR of 7% and is available to entrepreneurs who are members of the Women’s Business Center.
  • SBA loans. ECBI is also one of the top intermediaries for SBA funding, targeting business owners with low to moderate income and entrepreneurs who have had difficulty obtaining financing from traditional financial institutions. A minimum credit score of 590 is necessary to access SBA loans.

2. Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bank offers lines of credit and small business loans for Ohio-based companies. Financing typically comes as SBA funding and is applicable for real estate purchase, working capital, and equipment financing, among other purposes.

These loans provide flexible amounts and repayment options, meaning you can tailor the funding to your needs. You can choose a fixed or variable interest rate, and terms can extend to 25 years, depending on the loan’s purpose.

If you’re purchasing property, you can take advantage of down payments as low as 10%. You may also choose to finance the closing costs.

To qualify for these loans, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You operate a for-profit business within the United States.
  • Your company has a tangible net worth below $15 million.
  • The two-year average net income after taxes isn’t over $5 million.

3. Huntington National Bank

Huntington National Bank has repeatedly ranked as the best SBA lender in Ohio. It provides the following types of SBA loans:

  • 7(a) SBA loans. 7(a) loans are suitable for acquiring, opening, or expanding a small business
  • SBA Express loans. SBA Express loans offer an expedited review process if you need to access the funds sooner.
  • 504 SBA loans. These loans can be used to pay for the equipment needed to modernize or expand a small business

In addition to SBA financing, Huntington also offers the following types of loans:

  • Business term loans for small business owners who wish to purchase or upgrade machinery and equipment.
  • Real estate funding to help small business owners buy, refinance, or build owner-occupied real estate.
  • Dental and veterinary financing to help entrepreneurs start or acquire a practice, purchase equipment, or expand office space. These loans can also pay for construction expenses.
  • Business lines of credit. These credit lines can be accessed either online or by phone. Fixed and variable interest rates plus flexible repayment options can help you tailor the loan to your company’s needs.
  • Lift Local Business program. In addition, Huntington National Bank offers the Lift Local Business program, which provides access to capital at a lower cost. This initiative supports entrepreneurs who are women, veterans, or ethnically and racially diverse.

Summary of Top 3 Ohio Small Business Loan Providers

 

ProviderLoan AmountsTermsRatesNotes
Economic and Community Development InstituteUp to $350,000 / Microloans up to $2,500Maximum 5 years or 12 months for microloans7% fixed APR for microloans$25 application fee, 5% closing fee
Fifth Third BankDepends on the loan - some over $10,000,000Up to 25 yearsFixed and variableOption of financing closing costs
Huntington National Bank$1,000 to $150,000 for Lift Local Business programFlexibleFixed and variable rateLift Local Business program supports entrepreneurs who are veterans, women, or minorities

Top Online Ohio Small Business Loan Options 

In addition to local loan sources, online small business lenders offer nationally-available financing. Below, you will find companies that provide these convenient online lenders.

1. Bluevine - Best for Business Line of Credit

banner blu vine

Bluevine is an online fintech company that offers lines of credit for small business owners. Ohio entrepreneurs can take advantage of Bluevine’s quick and easy application process to qualify for short-term funding up to $250,000. 

Pros
Interest rates as low as 4.8%
Soft credit pull
Only pay for what you use
Relatively low credit and time-in-business requirements
Cons
High rates for applicants with low credit
Late payment fees

Bluevine offers short-term credit lines ranging from $5,000 to $250,000. In order to qualify, you need a credit score of 625+, a business history of at least 6 months, and $10,000 monthly revenue. 

One advantage of Bluevine is its incredibly rapid processing time. You can qualify for a short-term loan in less than 5 minutes and receive funds in a matter of hours. However, keep in mind that rates can be steep for customers with a lower credit score. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re an Ohio business owner and need short-term funding to meet unexpected business expenses, Bluevine’s line of credit might be a good choice for you–especially if you take advantage of the lender’s no prepayment penalties and pay your loan down early.

Try BlueVine

Learn more about BlueVine in our comprehensive review.

2. Fundbox - Best for Business Line of Credit

Banner funbox

Fundbox is another financial services platform offering short-term lines of credit for small businesses. To qualify, you need a credit score of 600+, 6 months of business history, and $100,000+ in annual revenue. 

Pros
Next-day funding
Automatic debiting
Low credit and time-in-business requirements
Cons
Relatively low credit limit
Potentially high interest rates

The application process is straightforward. If approved, you can expect to receive the disbursed funds relatively quickly. Credit lines go up to $150,000 and can be paid back over 12 or 14 months. 

Fundbox loans don’t require collateral or a personal guarantee. They also have no fees other than interest. Repayment occurs through weekly automatic debits, and there are no monthly minimums.

The Bottom Line

If you’re an Ohio entrepreneur looking for a small business loan to cover short-term emergencies, Fundbox is a good option. The site offers a calculator to help you figure out weekly payments before committing. Given the potentially high weekly payments, it’s wise to make use of this tool.

Try Fundbox

Learn more about Fundbox in our comprehensive review.

3. Fora Financial - Best for Merchant Cash Advances

banner_Fora Financial

Fora Financial presents yet another online lender alternative offering merchant cash advances and short-term small business loans. The company is known for its fast turn-around times: if you qualify, you can expect to receive the approval within 24 hours and see the funds in your account within the first 72 hours.

Pros
Early payoff discounts
Responsive customer service
No restrictions on use
Cons
Potentially high interest rates
Fees are not disclosed upfront
  • No currently open or unsettled bankruptcies
  • Minimum of 6 months in operation
  • Minimum $5,000 in credit card sales

The Bottom Line

Offering reasonable qualification requirements and responsive customer service, Fora Financial is a good choice for Ohio small business owners seeking alternative lenders. Just read the fine print regarding fees before signing.

Try Fora Financial

Additional Ohio Small Business Financial Resources

Private lenders aren’t the only possible sources of Ohio small business loans. As a matter of fact, several government programs have been established within the state with the goal of supporting local entrepreneurs. As such, below you can find additional important resources worth keeping in mind when researching how to get a small business loan in Ohio.

1. Collateral Enhancement Program

If you lack the collateral necessary to obtain a loan, this solution may be for you. The Collateral Enhancement Program (CEP) was established by the Ohio Development Services Agency to facilitate increased lending to small and minority-owned businesses that require additional capital for growth and expansion. 

CEP works to enable financing that would have been unavailable otherwise due to a collateral shortfall. Specifically, it provides cash deposit accounts to lending institutions in order to supplement collateral required for individual small business loans.

2. GrowNOW

The Ohio government understands that small businesses are a crucial part of the state’s economy. As such, it has established the GrowNOW program intended to support small business financing.

With the program, entrepreneurs can receive a reduction of 3% on the interest rate of a new or existing business loan. The maximum loan value is $400,000, and the discount lasts 2 years, with the possibility of renewal. For each $50,000 borrowed, the company must maintain one full-time or two part-time employees in Ohio.

3. Ohio Minority Business Direct Loan Program

Minority entrepreneurs can obtain financing for fixed asset purchases or improvements through the Ohio Minority Business Direct Loan Program. The available funding amounts range from $45,000 to $450,000, representing 40% of the investment’s total cost. The additional 50% comes from a bank, and the remaining 10% from the owner equity.

Interest rates are currently fixed at 3% on the portion that the program funds. However, the interest rate is 1.5% for borrowers who are certified as a Women-Owned Business Enterprise. The repayment terms can be as long as 15 years.

Other Resources for Ohio Small Businesses

Without a doubt, Ohio small business loans are crucial for the growth and expansion of many young companies. However, there are other types of resources available in the state that can provide much-needed assistance for your small business venture.

1. Ohio Business Gateway

The Ohio Business Gateway is a government-run website that offers links to resources to help you start, finance, and grow your Ohio company. The site also facilitates enterprise management by allowing online tax submission.

2. Procurement Technical Assistance Centers

The Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) in Ohio are a service of the Office of Government Contracting (GC), which belongs to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Their mission is to ensure that small companies, especially those owned by a woman or disadvantaged person, receive the highest possible participation in government contracts and subcontracts.

3. Small Business Development Centers

The Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) offer assistance and counseling to citizens who wish to start or improve their venture. Certified business advisors (CBAs) within the SBDC provide training and advice to help entrepreneurs develop plans, identify capital sources, and conduct market research.

How to Prepare for an Ohio Small Business Loan

To ensure that you receive an affordable loan, you must take a few specific actions. They include registering your company, drawing up a business plan, and building your credit.

1. Register Your Business

Opening a legal business in the state of Ohio requires several steps. They include:

2. Write a Business Plan

A business plan enables a lender to understand how your enterprise functions. This document needs to contain the following:

  • An introduction that includes your mission and vision
  • Your goals and how your company makes money
  • Proof of the length of time you’ve been in business
  • Financial statements and evidence of annual income
  • Information on suppliers and stakeholders
  • Your credit rating
  • Evidence that you can provide collateral
  • Data showing your company’s achievements, including previous loan repayments 

3. Build Your Credit 

Before applying for a loan, make sure to find out your credit score. Luckily, you can easily check both your business and personal credit ratings online for free.

Once you have your credit information, verify whether it meets the standards of the lenders you’re looking at. Often, you’ll pay higher interest rates if your credit score is low, so it might be worth spending some time to build your credit up:

  • If you find mistakes in your credit report, ask the credit bureau to correct them
  • Pay off any overdue accounts
  • Pay your bills on time, including credit card, cell phone, medical, and other bills
  • Keep your credit balances low relative to the credit limit
  • Avoid closing credit accounts, as this may negatively impact your credit score

Final Words

If you are looking for an Ohio small business loan, you are in luck: within the state, multiple private lenders–from traditional banks to online services–offer a broad range of financial products to meet your needs. In addition, several government programs exist to help entrepreneurs obtain the necessary financing.

To qualify for the best possible loan and prepare for your application, make sure to register your company, create a thorough business plan, and clean up your credit. Then, carefully study the variety of products offered by the lenders and their corresponding documentation requirements. This way, you will be able to find the local or online financing option that will suit your needs well and help to move your business forward.

About the Author

Tetiana Sitiugina-Babiuk

Tetiana Sitiugina-Babiuk

Financial Sector Specialist and Content Strategist

Independent writer, content strategist, and financial sector specialist. Tatiana has an extensive experience in working with financial institutions such as Bank of Canada and Risk Management unit at FinDev Canada. She holds an MA in Financial Risk Management from the University of Toronto.

More about me
Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

Reviewed by: Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

Content Writer and Editor

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt is an editor, writer, and content strategist with a focus on personal finance, careers, and DEI. A small business owner for over a decade, Jen helps publications and brands create and optimize B2B and B2C content.

More about me

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