Best Small Business Resources in the Columbus Area

Starting a business is a life-changing experience. Ohio has dozens of great resources to help entrepreneurs get started. Our team researched and vetted organizations in the Columbus area and compiled our list of recommended resources in this article.

You can also read our guide to starting a business in Ohio.

Resources Available in your Area

Economic and Community Development Institute of Columbus

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Financial

Description

The ECDI is primarily a funding operation. It is ideal for people who cannot be funded through other means because they have poor credit. They have a training center where they cover the basics of business management and workshops where they cover industry-specific material. The ECDI does charge for some of its classes and workshops.

Restrictions

In order to apply for funding, you must have a credit score of 590 or better, at least 2 years of tax records, and some form of collateral for the loan.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

1655 Old Leonard Ave.
Columbus, OH 43219
614-559-0115


Columbus Metropolitan Library

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Business Planning
  • Research

Offers Free Service

Accepts Walks In

Description

The Columbus Public Library is great for entrepreneurs who want to do research for their business. The library houses several databases for topics such as demographics and geographic population distribution, industry information, and economic standings. The databases and other resources in the library are available to anyone who would like to access them, but most of the information will be relevant to Columbus and surrounding areas.

Restrictions

Library card required for some services. 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

96 S Grant Ave.
Columbus, OH 43215
614-645-2275

HOURS OF OPERATION:

MON - THU: 9 am - 9 pm
FRI: 9 am - 6 pm
SAT: 9 am - 6 pm
SUN: 1 pm - 5 pm

Columbus SCORE

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Networking

Offers Free Service

Description

SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives) is a leading, nation-wide organization that has assisted millions of entrepreneurs over its 50+ years of operation. SCORE is a resource partner of the SBA that offers access to a network of experienced business leaders who donate time to mentor entrepreneurs and small business owners. They also host free or inexpensive workshops online and at 300 local chapters around the United States. Mentoring can be conducted either in person or remotely and is always free and confidential, no matter how often you take advantage of this service.


Economic and Community Development Institute, Inc Columbus

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Networking

Description

Women's Business Centers are nationwide programs established by the SBA to assist women in starting small businesses. Some of these centers are combined with other local organizations and use that relationship to offer even more services. Each Women's Business Center has counselors who can provide mentorship and assistance with business planning. Women’s Business Centers also provide a network of other businesses, and some have loan programs available

Restrictions

The Women's Business Centers are, as the name implies, meant for women primarily.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

1655 Old Leonard Avenue
Columbus, OH 43219
614-732-0981


Minority Business Assistance Center

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Business Planning
  • Financial
  • Accounting
  • Research

Description

Housed in the Columbus Urban League, the Columbus MBAC is devoted to assisting existing and aspiring entrepreneurs in starting and growing their business. They are devoted to helping all small businesses (not just minority-owned businesses) and are ideal for people who would like to gain the advantageous distinction of a minority-owned business.  Their services are available at no cost, and they function as a great resource in addition to the Small Business Development Centers.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

788 Mount Vernon Ave.
Columbus, OH 43203
614-257-6300


Ohio SBDC at Columbus State Community College

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Financial

Offers Free Service

Description

The greatest strength of the SBDC is their free, confidential, 1-on-1 business mentoring for anyone who seeks it. Sometimes in order to be considered for mentoring from one of their professional business advisors, you may have to attend a class/workshop or at least present your business plan. SBDC's are located all throughout the state and you should use the SBDC closest to your location if possible, but you can often transfer to a different location if they do not fit your needs.