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Business & Employee Resources

University Circle Inc. stands with our business community during this trying time. As programs and services become available, we will communicate them to the businesses located in University Circle as well as the alumni of our business development programs.

To do this effectively, we are compiling information relevant for business owners and their employees. 


The State of Ohio is using their CARES Act dollars to help various areas of the Ohio economy. Specifically for small businesses, there are two primary areas that offer additional grant dollars.

  • Small Business Relief Grants:   $10,000 grants to small businesses to help them through the current crisis. The program, which will begin accepting applications November 2, 2020, will be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency. For eligibility requirements and to apply, click here. Download the fact sheet.

  • Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund:  $2,500 grants will be open to various on-premise alcohol permit holders who have had the most difficult financial distress during COVID-19. For eligibility requirements and to apply, click hereDownload the fact sheet.


Helpful Guides

  • CARES Act Summary: Greater Cleveland Partnership's Advocacy Team summarized a two-page document that covers all programs and support outlined in the CARES Act for businesses, nonprofits, individuals, states, and more. Download it here.

  • CARES Act Summary for Nonprofits: In addition to the GCP summary, BVU shared a summary compiled by Tom Raffa from Marcum LLP. Marcum is an international leader on financial advising for nonprofits and various other sectors. This summary is a deep dive into the CARES Act specific to nonprofits. You can download it at this link.

  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Benesch, a business-focused law firm with Cleveland offices, has prepared two very helpful documents to help you apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Their Fact Sheet spells out eligibility and their Checklist provides guidance on all of the materials you need.

  • What's in it for Restaurants: National Restaurant Association shared an executive summary of all benefits in the CARES Act for restaurants. Download in here

  • Paycheck Protection Program: For nonprofits and small businesses under 500 employees that maintain payroll during the COVID-19 crisis, the Paycheck Protection Program is a loan fund to help maintain those costs. These loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain certain requirements. Official guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program needs to come directly from your SBA lender. We recommend reading a Small Business Guide prepared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Download it here.

Paycheck Protection Program

  • Processed through an SBA Lender. Your current bank is likely a lender. Contact them for more information. The program officially starts on April 3. 
  • The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
  • Fully Forgiven: Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
  • Download a sample form application to help you begin
  • PPP Overview from U.S. Dept of Treasury 
  • PPP Fact Sheet from U.S. Dept of Treasury
  • PPP Document Checklist from PNC Bank (just a guide, your bank may differ)

Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans

  • SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million in assistance 
  • Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact 
  • Interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible 
  • The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75% 
  • Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay up to a maximum term of 30 years
  • EIDL Advance: There is an option for a $10,000 advance on your EIDL award, applied for in conjunction with an EIDL Loan. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will NOT have to be repaid.

For detailed information on SBA programs for the coronavirus, please visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus.


University Circle Business Owners

  • UCI has converted most surface lots in Uptown to allow for at least 30-minute free parking to encourage pickup/carry out orders 
  • Cleveland Dept of Health shared a Guidance Document for open food establishments. We advise you to thoroughly review and follow it to the best of your ability. 
  • If you have had to lay off employees and they are seeking employment, cooks and any employee with ServSafe qualifications are in high demand at hospital systems. If previously employed in the Circle, University Hospitals has listings today.
  • Working on your business will be crucial after COVID-19 begins to pass. UCI will be waiving the $500 tuition for the NextStep Strategies for Business Growth program as well as the $100 deposit for Financial Essentials for Small Business Owners program for University Circle small businesses
  • UCI will continue to program the Greater Circle Business Alliance with free resources and education relevant to responding to COVID-19

Cuyahoga County Small Business Resource Center

  • Cuyahoga County launched their Small Business Resource Center in partnership with dozens of other business development organizations. 
  • It can assist with applying for the EIDL program, consulting services, retention services and more
  • Open Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm
  • Call 216-452-9741
  • Visit www.cuyahogacounty.us/helpforbusiness

Medical Grade Decontamination Services

  • Airriva, an Ohio based property management company, is offering medical grade sanitization services at very affordable rates. (Starting at $10 for a bathroom for example.)
  • You can learn more here or call them at 614-345-3996

Ohio Liquor Buy-Back

  • A bar or restaurant may return unopened high proof liquor products purchased within the last 30 days (on or after February 13, 2020)
  • To return, a bar/restaurant or F2 permit holder needs to bring the unopened high proof liquor product back to the liquor store they purchased the product. 
    • The Agency will call the Liquor Enterprise Service Center (LESC) for approval. Approval is immediate, but awareness of the return is necessary
  • For questions or more information regarding the one-time high proof liquor buy back, please feel free to contact the LESC at 877-812-0013 or OhioLiquorInfo@com.ohio.gov.

HFLA of Northeast Ohio COVID-19 Emergency Loan

In light of the financial burdens created by the spread of COVID-19, the Hebrew Free Loan Association (HFLA) is offering expedited interest-free loans of up to $1,500 for purposes including (but not limited to): 

  • Lost wages due to inability to go to work
  • Child care costs due to school closures
  • Small business losses
  • Related medical costs

To apply, borrowers should contact HFLA at 216-378-9042 or email team@interestfree.org or Brady@interestfree.org specifying that the request is for coronavirus related needs. If you need more funds you may be eligible to apply for HFLA’s standard interest free loan (up to $10,000 with a guarantor).

Honeycomb Small Business Relief Loan

  • Honeycomb Credit is offering loans up to $50,000 for business in operation for at least 3 years, up to $25,000 for business in operation for at least one year
  • 45-day payment free periods, 6-month interest-only periods and reducing posting, success, and investor fees
  • Fixed interest rates between 7.5% and 10%
  • Loans are community funded via the Honeycomb Crowdfunding Platform
  • More information available here


  • Zoom is a free video teleconferencing service
  • GoToMeeting offers a free 14-day trial for their conference call and video chat services


Unemployment Policy Updates

  • Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will waive employer penalties for late reporting and payments for the next quarter to assist employers impacted by the lack of staff availability. See this fact sheet for more information.
  • The CARES Act will provide an additional weekly benefit of $600 on top of your weekly award from the State of Ohio. 

Safe & Sanitized Short-Term Housing

  • Airriva, an Ohio-based property management company, has reduced their short-term housing rates by 70%. They offer various night stays in and around University Circle (and Cleveland) for employees of healthcare facilities, safety personnel, displaced travelers and others effected by COVID-19. 
  • Rates range from $38-$65/night and all properties go through medical-grade sterilization. 
  • Book/Reserve Here

Unemployment Eligibility

  • The State’s unemployment system has been updated to cover employees who are out of work due to Covid-19, even if only temporarily
  • The state will waive the typical waiting period required to qualify 
  • Workers without paid time off who are under quarantine by their job or a health-care professional can also receive unemployment
  • The state has set up a Q&A page with more information

Applying for Unemployment 

Employees should apply for unemployment online

Bartender Employee Relief Program

  • Financial assistance available to a Bartender or the spouse or child of a Bartender, defined as an individual employed in serving beverages or otherwise engaged in the production, promotion or distribution of alcoholic beverages.
  • Application available here
  • For COVID-19 Relief, must upload your most recent paycheck

ShareWork Ohio

  • SharedWork Ohio is a voluntary layoff aversion program. It allows workers to remain employed and employers to retain trained staff during times of reduced business activity. Under a SharedWork Ohio plan, the participating employer reduces affected employees’ hours in a uniform manner. 
  • The participating employee works the reduced hours each week, and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) provides eligible individuals an unemployment insurance benefit proportionate to their reduced hours.
  • Employer FAQ and Employee FAQ
  • http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/SharedWorkOhio/

Employers Now Hiring

The Greater Cleveland Partnership has put together a list of employers that are now hiring. See the list here.

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