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NKY businesses among recipients of more than $264,000 in Main Street Ventures grants

Main Street Ventures, a local nonprofit that provides equity-free funding to entrepreneurs and startups in eight counties within the Tri-State region, has awarded grants totaling $264,524 to 15 local entrepreneurs during its fourth quarter grant cycle for Leap and Launch funding, bringing its yearly total in awarded grants to $1,103,754 to support 64 companies.

“We continue to be impressed with the quality of early stage businesses in our community that apply for funding from Main Street Ventures,” said Sean Parker, Executive Director at Main Street Ventures. “As we approach our 25th anniversary next year, we’re excited to continue empowering entrepreneurs to transform their innovative ideas into thriving businesses. Over the last five years, our grant recipients have generated more than $14 million in sales and provided 400 jobs throughout the community. We can’t wait to see what happens in year 25.”

Main Street Ventures began in 1999 by providing tech companies with physical infrastructure and a Wi-Fi network. In 2010, the organization launched The Brandery, a seed-stage startup accelerator that leverages the expertise of the Cincinnati region – namely branding, marketing, and design. Now, they are excited to continue creating a diverse and inclusive startup community, attracting and retaining qualified talent and building businesses with long-term viability – from tech startups to brick-and-mortar storefronts.

“This year we had a staggering 400 businesses apply for funding, a testament to the thriving startup ecosystem and the vast need for support in the region,” said Parker.

Since 2018, Main Street Ventures has distributed equity-free funding in the form of grants to 164 companies, totaling nearly $3.5 million. In addition to grant funding, recipients receive programming support in the form of workshops, advising from key players in the local startup ecosystem, and more business development resources.

Launch Funding provides emerging, pre-revenue businesses at the prototype or product stage with $5,000 to $10,000 of equity-free funding to increase the odds of reaching the market entry stage and beyond. Leap Funding provides promising, revenue generating businesses with $10,000 to $30,000 of equity-free funding to scale their community impact and increase the odds of survival.

Companies receiving fourth quarter Launch Funding

• 6 ‘N The Mornin’ is a southern-style breakfast/brunch restaurant that serves and welcomes those of all nationalities and backgrounds.

• Brewed & Frothy Coffee is a small-batch coffee roaster and mobile coffee cart providing coffee catering at private events like weddings, bridal parties, business meetings, anniversary dinners, brunches, birthday parties and more.

• Inland Shrimp Company has developed proprietary technology that allows food-conscious consumers to enjoy fresh, locally-raised seafood species utilizing vertical farming methods, remote sensing and automation, and alternative energy from repurposed inner-city buildings that employ local residents and drastically reduce our seafood carbon footprint.

• Outmore Gear designs, makes, and sells outdoor recreation equipment.

• Qualzai is the AI-powered co-pilot and one-stop shop for qualitative research.

Companies receiving fourth quarter Leap Funding

• Beards & Bellies is barbecue focused on locally sourced, quality ingredients with a Louisiana twist that brings you that Southern Hospitality no matter where you enjoy.

• BenSuite is an innovative SaaS platform streamlining the outdated employee benefits industry, fostering modern collaboration between insurance brokers and carriers through a centralized portal.

• Commonwealth Sanctuary is Northern Kentucky’s only comedy club, only dedicated listening room, and a premier community events venue.

• Jet Black Vintage is a sustainable black-owned business focused on training young fashion designers and providing unique one-of-one garments from repurposed materials and serving the Cincinnati community with premium curated vintage goods from the ‘60s through the early 2000s.

• Live N Learn creates impactful international education opportunities for students and families to travel, host, and most importantly, make meaningful connections with peers from around the world.

• The Delish Dish is a full-service catering and events company that specializes in from-scratch food, exceptional service, and unique presentation for events from 10 to 500 guests.

• Micromerch is a full-service solution that creates, photographs and distributes sustainable branded merchandise for ambitious teams.

• Modica produces award-winning cocktail and mocktail mixers made with superfoods, functional ingredients, and up to 70% less sugar than other mixers.

• OBA-AI streamlines insurance claims by instantly and accurately assessing auto damage by leveraging AI and a computer vision model.

• Spotted Yeti Media is a video marketing and production company that produces videos to promote, educate, and inspire.

These grants were made possible, in part, due to funding support from Ohio Third Frontier, the Hubert Family Foundation, the McDonald Family Foundation, The P&G Fund, Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trust, Northern Kentucky Entrepreneurship Fund in collaboration with Blue North and Horizon Community Funds, and Cincinnati City Council ARPA funds, which concluded with this grant cycle. The ARPA funding allowed Main Street Ventures to distribute approximately $900,000 in grants to 44 women-owned businesses in Cincinnati, helping create 178 jobs and $70,914 of generated revenue.

Main Street Ventures

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