Skip to Main Content

Lessons Learned: My Journey with JobsOhio Small Business Grant

By: Sarah Daligga, Project Manager

At REDI, we’re passionate about creating an economy where every business can thrive, regardless of who owns it. That is why JobsOhio Small Business Grant is a key part of this mission. It’s specifically designed to support minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, and businesses owned by those with disabilities, especially those in underserved communities. We believe in the potential of these businesses, and the grant provides them with the tools they need to reach new heights.

One of the things I love most about REDI Cincinnati is our role as a convener.  Finding the right resources and partnerships for growth can be tricky. We act as guides, helping businesses discover a wider network of support beyond JobsOhio Small Business Grant itself. This fosters a strong support system within our region and across Ohio.

JobsOhio Small Business Grant is flexible by design, which is crucial.  It can support businesses that might not be eligible for traditional funding.  Whether it’s helping with renovations or offsetting training costs, JobsOhio Small Business Grant provides a platform for businesses to grow and expand.

Working with such a diverse range of businesses has been powerful! We’ve assisted a variety of companies, from machine shops to workforce talent support to specialty food manufacturers. This variety is what makes our region’s economy so rich. Every interaction highlights the incredible dedication these businesses have to their craft and their communities.

Recent initiatives have aimed to enhance diversity across various sectors, from promoting women in manufacturing to supporting minorities in STEM fields. When we favor inclusion and are proactive in the programs available to support businesses, we see the impact in our communities and economy. Since its inception in 2020, JobsOhio Small Business Grant has supported 72 projects in southwest Ohio, which have created almost 500 new jobs, spurred $28.7M in new payroll and resulted in $11M in capital investment. The total grant dollars awarded within the Cincinnati region reached $3M in early 2024. 86 percent of the supported projects have been for companies with underrepresented ownership (woman-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned or owned by those with a disability).

Continuous Evolution

Seeing how businesses use JobsOhio Small Business Grant to make real improvements, like scaling production or making their process more efficient, is what makes this work so rewarding.  Those moments when a business obtains the capital it needs to take that next step are truly special. They remind us of the impact we can have when we work together.

Recognizing that there is always room for improvement is fundamental. The journey of JobsOhio Small Business Grant is ongoing, with each success story and learning moment guiding us towards refinement and enhancement.

Yet, it’s essential to acknowledge that through proactive measures, our economy — both regionally and nationally — benefits from the diversity of thought and experience provided through inclusion work.

JobsOhio Small Business Grant program is a testament to the resilience, innovation, and spirit of our business community. It’s a constant reminder of how important inclusion is for economic prosperity.  Sharing these reflections fills me with hope and excitement that the path we’ve built together promises growth, inclusivity and shared success for all.


*For more information on the JobsOhio Small Business Grant, please visit our dedicated page or contact Cierra Clymer, REDI Cincinnati director of international business development & inclusion (; 513.579.3103).