Business Plans and Start-Up

  • The Metropreneur Columbus 
    This site is a hub for regular news and informational updates about the growing small business community in Central Ohio. That includes small business profiles, topical features, governance and policy updates, spotlights on women-owned and minority-owned businesses, how-to guides, and other types of interactive editorial features.
  • Business Planning Templates from SCORE
    The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) provides 14 sample templates that can be downloaded or printed and used to help you write a business plan or develop financial or accounting statements.
  • SBA Small Business Training Network
    SBA's virtual campus provides quality and targeted online training to meet the information needs of prospective and existing small business owners. Training courses are free and include topics such as writing a business plan, and accessing contracts and subcontracts.
  • Business Plans and Profiles Index
    This subject guide to sample business plans and profiles for specific business types was created by staff at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. The Columbus Metroplitan Library owns the majority of the books that are indexed here; in addition, the index provides links to many online samples. 

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Doing Business with the Government

  • System for Award Management (SAM)
    SAM is a robust, customer focused database for vendors wishing to do business with the Department of Defense. SAM has been designed to hold information relevant to procurement and financial transactions.
  • City of Columbus Equal Business Opportunity Commission Office
    The Equal Business Opportunity Commission Office promotes inclusiveness of minority and female owned businesses within the City's procurement process, and facilitates the equitable awarding of contracts to minority and female business enterprises. Check their events calendar for sessions to learn about vendor services, contract compliance, minority/female certification, and how to market to the city.
  • Columbus City Council City Bulletin
    The Columbus City Bulletin is published every Saturday and contains all ordinances, resolutions acted upon by Columbus City Council, all bids and notices, and City Code changes.
  • FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities
    The primary feature of this electronic posting system is a central government-wide index and an application that allows buyers to post notice of procurements directly to the internet. This is all part of the Federal Electronic Commerce Framework. Many major components of the Department of Defense, such as the Army and Navy, also post their business opportunities here
  • Franklin County Bid Opportunities
    Franklin County's open bid opportunities and open dates are listed here. Choose the Vendor Registration link at the top of the page to register online to do business with the County.
  • Ohio Office of State Purchasing
    Visit this site to find invitations to bid, requests for proposals, procurement opportunities, and a searchable database of registered vendors. Also, you can obtain an application to register yourself as a vendor, see to whom past contracts have been awarded and much more.
  • Procurement Technical Assistance Centers - Ohio Development Services Agency
    The Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACT) help Ohio's businesses seeking to compete for federal, state, and local government contracts. We provide a variety of services that include bid preparation assistance, bid-matching services, military specifications, one-on-one training, product and procurement histories, help with information resources, and trade events where Ohio firms can meet government buyers. These services are provided at no cost to Ohio businesses. 

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Finding Funding

  • Business Bonds, Grants, Loans, and Tax Credits
    The Ohio Development Services Agency has a variety of bonds, grants, loans and tax credits that can assist Ohio companies as they grow and create jobs in Ohio.
  • Community Capital Development Corporation
    CCDC is a private, not-for-profit corporation which makes loans to small businesses in Central Ohio and the State of Ohio. Their financing programs are designed to assist healthy, growing small businesses invest in land, building, and equipment.
  • Economic & Community Development Institute
    ECDI provides a network of comprehensive support services to build the economic and social capacities of individuals, families, enterprises and communities. To achieve this goal, ECDI offers micro enterprise training and technical assistance, individual development accounts, and micro-loans for small businesses.
  • Small Business Development Centers of Ohio
    Since 1985, the SBDC program has fostered a strong climate for small business growth with many local community partners including colleges and universities, economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, and other community organizations.
  • Entrepreneurship.org - Fostering Entrepreneurship Worldwide
    The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation provides inspirational stories about entrepreneurs who are leading our economic recovery. Content for entrepreneurs includes information spanning everything one may need to launch or grow an entrepreneurial company. There is a variety of content available for your reference, including information about accounting, financing, management, marketing and sales.
  • GrowNow.Ohio.gov
    GrowNOW interest rate reduction program is designed to help small businesses grow by providing them with critical cash flow. When a business is approved for a loan from one of the hundreds of eligible banks in the state, GrowNOW provides an additional three percent discount on the loan's already-negotiated interest rate, when the loan is linked to creating or saving jobs in Ohio.
  • Ohio Rural Development Partnerships
    A statewide organization that brings together citizens, the private sector, and federal, state, and local officials to address the needs of rural Ohio communities.

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Legal and Tax Information

  • Ohio State Bar Association: Legal Basics for Small Business
    Designed especially for small business owners in Ohio who are looking for basic legal information, and presented in an easy-to-read question-answer format, this handbook is a compilation of individual articles written and edited by more than 80 Ohio lawyers who volunteered their time and effort.
  • Small Business and Self-Employed One-Stop Resource
    The IRS small business tax site gathers relevant tax rules and regulations for small businesses and the self-employed, and provides a wealth of other tax related information.
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
    Click on the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to visit a searchable database of the registered patents and trademarks in the United States. Forms and filing instructions are also available.

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Marketing and Consumer Demographics

  • City of Columbus Economic Development
    Columbus is all about business. Capital of the State of Ohio, we are 15th largest city in the U.S., the largest city in Ohio and the fourth-largest in the Midwest. Columbus offers a stable economy, a great location and a desire to assist companies with relocation, expansion or retention.
  • COCIE Commercial Property Search
    The Central Ohio Commercial Information Exchange is a comprehensive commercial property database. Properties/listings include: office and industrial buildings, retail centers, including big boxes, previously listed land and multi-unit housing properties.
  • Columbus Chamber Resource Center
    The Columbus Chamber is your one-stop for information. Get started with our new, interactive Business Resource tool. Click on the categories below to find hundreds of business-critical resources from governmental entities and nonprofits. Looking for more? Connect with 2,000 businesses in our member directory.
  • The Columbus Region
    The Columbus Region website provides a Data Center, with current and historical data for the Columbus Region, and a Report Builder with demographic reports.
  • Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC ) data port for maps, demographic information, and traffic counts
    This system is a multi-jurisdictional effort in modernizing traffic count data sharing in the central Ohio region. The system allows five major area traffic counting agencies to share data with the public instantaneously. Users can selectively retrieve traffic count data with specific criteria or by clicking on a location within the Google map.
  • Community Research Partners
    DataSource, put together by Community Research Partners, allows you to create customized maps, tables and reports for a variety of geographic areas using Census data and other sources. Free registration is required to use this resource.
  • State and County QuickFacts
    State and County QuickFacts provides frequently requested Census Bureau information at the national, state and county level.

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Organizations and Agencies

  • Check Ohio First
    FREE web-based service initiative of the Ohio Development Services Agency, and the Ohio Small Business Development Centers. Our statewide network provides support, training and one-on-one business consulting to Ohio's small businesses. Our mission is to promote contracting with and between Ohio businesses. Our vision is a virtual community of buyers, suppliers and procurement experts actively connecting and contracting with each other, as well as improving contracting efficiencies. 
  • CCDC Community Capital Development Corporation
    The Community Capital Development Corporation is a private, non-profit corporation that loans money to small businesses in Central Ohio. Visit this site for details about their many loan programs, which include loans to invest in land or equipment, working capital loans, and specialty loans such as the Child Day Care MicroLoan.
  • Columbus Compact Corporation
    Through Columbus' recent designation as a HUD Empowerment Zone, eligible business owners have access to numerous financial incentives. This site provides explanations of these incentives, as well as an address locator to determine if an employee or business is located within the Empowerment Zone.
  • Columbus 2020
    Columbus 2020 serves as the economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus Region, working in partnership with state and local partners to generate opportunity and build capacity for economic growth.
  • COMBA Central Ohio Minority Business Association
    The COMBA website is packed full of information about finding funding, bidding on government contracts, the empowerment zone, and more. Visit the COMBA planroom for more ideas. Plus, this site offers plenty of phone numbers to call COMBA and other small business advocates for further information.
  • Economic & Community Development Institute
    ECDI provides a network of comprehensive support services to build the economic and social capacities of individuals, families, enterprises and communities. To achieve this goal, ECDI offers micro enterprise training and technical assistance, individual development accounts, and micro-loans for small businesses.
  • EnterpriseWorks
    EnterpriseWorks is a non-profit organization with offices located throughout Ohio. This organization offers classes to help determine if owning a business is right for you and how to write a business plan. A schedule of classes with dates, times, locations and prices is provided.
  • INCREASE Community Development Corporation
    The INCREASE Community Development Corporation (ICDC) is a faith-based non-profit organization devoted to increasing the quality of life in Central Ohio through education, entrepreneurship and economic development.
  • National Association of Women Business Owners, Columbus Chapter
    The National Association of Women Business Owners, Columbus OH Chapter, is a Central Ohio organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs in all industries. Membership is open to sole proprietors, partners and corporate owners with 5% ownership in their company.
  • Ohio Employee Ownership Center
    The Ohio Employee Ownership Center supports the development of business across Ohio and around the world by its efforts that are proven to save jobs, create wealth, and grow the economy. Use the OEOC website to locate resources for education and training for employee owned businesses, and documents on family business succession planning.
  • Ohio Small Business Development Center
    The Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Columbus State Community College is a public-private partnership supported by the US Small Business Administration, the Ohio Department of Development, Columbus State Community College and other local partners. Through its programs and services, the Center provides entrepreneurial development assistance and business consulting to start-up and emerging business owners
  • SBA Columbus District Office
    The Small Business Administration Columbus District Office serves sixty counties in the northwest, central and southern parts of Ohio. On this site, find the district calendar of events and the names and phone numbers of local organizations offering services, financial assistance and management advice to small businesses.
  • SCORE Service Corps of Retired Executives Columbus Chapter
    SCORE is a volunteer organization that uses the skill and experience of retired executives to assist individuals with their decisions to begin or to operate a small business. SCORE offers low cost educational seminars, and one-on-one counseling sessions.
  • TechColumbus
    TechColumbus provides expert advice, access to capital, and business growth connections to Central Ohio's technology entrepreneurs.  They connect entrepreneurs to the resources they need, including seasoned business mentors, expert service providers, business partners, and even potential customers from Ohio and beyond.

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Statistics and Industry Information

  • Columbus Business First Data Center
    The Data Center includes data on topics as diverse as salary data for organizations in the Columbus metro area, Big Ten athletics spending, FBI Uniform Crime Reports for Ohio cities, and a database of central Ohio public companies. 
  • The Columbus Region
    Use this site for current and customizable economic data for the Columbus Region. Learn more about the 11-county Columbus Region and gather demographics, statistics, educational data, maps and business information. As you review information found throughout the site, you can click Add Page along the way. The pages will be available in Your Favorites section, and you can download and print a custom report.
  • Ohio Labor Market Information
    Labor Market Information (LMI) can help you recruit qualified workers and develop job descriptions.  They can also help you make sound economic decisions by providing you with data on affirmative action, wages, and employment in your area.
  • County Business Patterns
    County Business Patterns is an annual series published by the U.S. Census Bureau that provides subnational economic data by industry. Statistics from these reports include number of employees, payroll amount, and number of establishments. These industry statistics are given for state, county, MSA, and ZIP code levels.
  • BizStats
    BizStats.com is a leading online source for small business statistics. Detailed statistics such as number of businesses, costs, and revenue are included for approximately 50 industries.

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Business & Economic Statistics

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    This excellent site contains an amazing amount of statistical information relating to the United States economy. Here you will find the consumer price index, unemployment data, spending rates, and the inflation calculator.
  • Community Research Partners
    DataSource, put together by Community Research Partners, allows you to create customized maps, tables and reports for a variety of geographic areas using Census data and other sources. Free registration is required to use this resource.
  • Consumer Expenditure Survey
    The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) program consists of two surveys—the quarterly Interview survey and the Diary survey—that provide information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics.
  • County Business Patterns
    County Business Patterns is an annual series published by the U.S. Census Bureau that provides subnational economic data by industry. Statistics from these reports include number of employees, payroll amount, and number of establishments. These industry statistics are given for state, county, MSA, and ZIP code levels.
  • Energy Information Administration
    The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is a statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy that provides policy-independent data, forecasts, and analyses to promote sound policy making and public understanding regarding energy and its interaction with the economy.
  • FDIC Statistics on Banking
    The Statistics on Banking is a quarterly publication that provides detailed aggregate financial information for all FDIC-insured institutions.
  • FedStats
    This site provides access to statistics produced by more than 70 federal agencies.
  • National Agricultural Statistics Service
    The mission of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is to provide timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. The NASS conducts hundreds of surveys and prepares reports covering virtually every facet of U.S. agriculture such as prices paid and received by farmers and farm labor and wages.
  • United States Census
    Gather demographic information on your community, research the local economy and find your SIC or NAICS code using this U.S. Department of Commerce site.

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Industry Research

  • County Business Patterns
    County Business Patterns is an annual series published by the U.S. Census Bureau that provides subnational economic data by industry. Statistics from these reports include number of employees, payroll amount, and number of establishments. These industry statistics are given for state, county, MSA, and ZIP code levels.
  • NAICS: North American Industry Classification System
    Beginning in 1997, the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) was replaced by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). This six digit code is a major revision that not only provides for newer industries, but also reorganizes the categories on a production/process-oriented basis. This new, uniform, industry-wide classification system has been designed as the index for statistical reporting of all economic activities of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
  • SIC: Standard Industrial Classification Search
    Through this site, you can search the 1987 version of the SIC manual by keyword to access descriptive information for a specified 4-digit SIC, and examine the manual structure. You can also search by specific 4-digit SIC number.
  • Ohio Building Code Industry Standards
    The Science, Business & News department on the 3rd floor of Main Library has a collection of hundreds of industry standards that are referenced from the Ohio Building Code.
    View our Ohio Building Code standards resource guide

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Business News

  • Daily Reporter
    This is the official newspaper of the Columbus Bar Association, United States Circuit Court, United States District Court, Supreme Court of Ohio, and all Courts of Record of Franklin County. News articles cover business, legal, and economic development information for Central Ohio.

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