New Partnership Creates $250,000 COVID Recovery Loan Fund for Queen City Women – and Minority-Owned Small Businesses

September 10, 2020

Greater Cincinnati Foundation Partners With ECDI to Administer Funds Throughout the Greater Cincinnati Tristate Area

CINCINNATI – September 10, 2020: Greater Cincinnati Foundation has approved a $250,000 loan fund to support Cincinnati area small businesses. The funds are designed to support companies that don’t always enjoy equitable access to traditional businesses loans and are more likely to be impacted by pandemic: minority- and women-owned businesses. The fund will be administered by the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), a community microlender that serves small businesses throughout the state of Ohio, providing under-served entrepreneurs with education and access to capital.

The fund intends to strengthen and sustain the Greater Cincinnati local economy through COVID-19 recovery and beyond. “The demand for small business financial and technical assistance is unlike anything we’ve seen,” says Ella Frye, Director of ECDI’s Women’s Business Center in Cincinnati. Across the state, ECDI has closed 220 loans totaling $8 million, between April 1 and the beginning of August. Compare that to the past few years, when the organization closed an average of $7-$8 million in loans per year. Nearly 70% of loans closed since the start of the pandemic were to Black-owned businesses, while around 50% were to women-owned. “These numbers reflect the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on people of color and female entrepreneurships,” says Frye. “We are excited to partner with the Greater Cincinnati Foundation to help broaden our reach to these small businesses as they grapple with the crisis.”

The diversity of ECDI’s client base was a key driver for Greater Cincinnati Foundation in working with the organization. “We chose to partner with ECDI because of their strong track record of assisting underserved entrepreneurs and their ability to offer not only capital, but also training and business mentorship services to entrepreneurs through their Cincinnati Women’s Business Center,” said Ellen Katz, President and CEO of Greater Cincinnati Foundation. “Local businesses are reeling, due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, and we are proud to provide access to sustaining capital in a way that supports racial and gender equity for Cincinnati’s entrepreneurs.”

Business owners in the Greater Cincinnati Area, including Indiana and Kentucky, are encouraged to apply on ECDI’s website:

As a holistic business development center for diverse entrepreneurs, ECDI also offers training, operational assistance and business services. In response to COVID, the nonprofit provides guidance on a range of topics, including business pivots, tax and accounting help, recovery planning and more.



About Greater Cincinnati Foundation
As the region’s leading community foundation, Greater Cincinnati Foundation connects people with purpose in an eight-county region in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. GCF is leading the charge toward a more vibrant Greater Cincinnati for everyone – now, and for generations to come.

About ECDI

ECDI is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to assuring underserved and underbanked entrepreneurs – regardless of where they came from, where they live, their gender or their race – have access to funding and a range of business incubation services they need to succeed. Based in Columbus, with offices in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Akron and Toledo, we are a one-stop resource center, serving small businesses in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. As a leading SBA microloan intermediary, a certified Community Development Corporation, and Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution, we are proud to have assisted more than 17,000 individuals, disbursed over $63.7 million through more than 2,800 loans, and created and retained more than 9,000 jobs since 2004. Learn more: