Small Business Grant Proposal Draws Support from Across Ohio

COLUMBUS Last week, Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague proposed for at least $100 million in remaining CARES Act funds to be used to create a streamlined, reimbursement-based grant program to support Ohio’s small businesses. Since then, business leaders, community advocates, and policymakers from across the Buckeye State have placed their support behind Treasurer Sprague’s plan. 

Here’s what they’re saying:

Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16)
“I have heard from small business across Ohio’s 16th District who are desperately in need of additional aid to keep their doors open as we work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. I applaud Treasurer Sprague’s efforts to ensure that at least $100 million remaining in the state’s federal CARES Act allocation goes to supporting these small businesses and helping to get our economy back on track.”

Pat Tiberi, President & CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable
“Keeping Ohio’s small business open in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis is essential to helping Ohio’s economy get back on track. Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague is to be congratulated for supporting Ohio’s job creators and protecting Ohio’s workers during these difficult economic times.”

Andrew E. Doehrel, President & CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce
“Ohio businesses, particularly small businesses, continue to be adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. During these unprecedented times, many local communities throughout the state of Ohio have been innovative and creative in their efforts to assist small businesses. In an effort to continue to provide much-needed assistance to small businesses, we are supportive of the establishment of a statewide small business grant program to help Ohio businesses pay for unexpected expenses caused by the pandemic.” 

Eric Burkland, President of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association
“COVID-19 has had a varied effect on businesses within the manufacturing sector. Some businesses have thrived, others have repurposed to make things work, and still others are struggling to make the next payroll.

“The OMA encourages Ohio policymakers to use remaining federal CARES Act funds to support our local manufacturers – the backbone of Ohio’s economy. These dollars may well be a last lifeline for some manufacturers on the wrong side of the recovery. Now is the time to protect Ohio’s industrial base so it can fully recover when the pandemic concludes.”

Gordon M. Gough, President & CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants
“We applaud efforts to establish a business grant initiative which will leverage a portion of remaining CARES Act dollars to support our business community. While the recovery is underway, many businesses are still reeling from the prolonged COVID-19 shutdown. We greatly appreciate the various relief initiatives provided by Congress, the Ohio General Assembly and Governor DeWine, however many businesses are still facing challenges related to additional costs they have incurred to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. From purchasing additional personal protective equipment to drastically altering the format of their stores to accommodate social distancing, the challenges businesses continue to face are real. We believe this grant program could provide needed relief to help ease the burden on businesses as they continue to support their employees and serve their customers.” 

Amy Daubenspeck, Interim Director of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce
“Small business is the backbone of our local economy. It is imperative that they have access to much needed federal support to stay afloat and keep their employees working. I commend Treasurer Sprague for his efforts to provide much needed support to Ohio’s small businesses.”

Thomas M. Bennett Jr., President & CEO of the Solon Chamber of Commerce
“Treasurer Sprague’s streamlined, reimbursement-based grant program to cover eligible expenses to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19 simply makes sense. The State of Ohio has the opportunity to reopen, rebound, recover, and grow safely on a larger scale when small businesses have access to much needed federal support.”

The following organizations have also registered their support for leveraging CARES Act dollars to provide additional relief for small businesses:

  • Erie County Chamber of Commerce 
  • Hardin County Business Alliance and Chamber of Commerce 
  • Licking County Chamber of Commerce 
  • Paulding County Economic Development Office 
  • St. Clairsville Chamber of Commerce 
  • Williams County Economic Development Corporation 
  • Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber
CARES Act funds must be allocated and spent by December 30, 2020. 


Robert Sprague became Ohio’s 49th Treasurer of State on January 14, 2019, bringing to the office his extensive experience working on financial matters in both the public and private sectors. Under Treasurer Sprague’s direction, the office manages the state’s $29 billion investment and $11 billion debt portfolios, collects and deposits all state revenues, and oversees custodial assets.