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How to Start a Business in Ohio

Author: C. Curley Date: June 15, 2012

Starting a BusinessThinking of starting a business in Ohio? Find out how to navigate setting up a business in this state.

A major Midwestern hub for cargo distribution and business traffic, Ohio is naturally positioned to attract economic growth in the small business arena.

“We have long been a source of energy for surrounding areas with an abundance of coal and natural gas, and we have a diverse economy ranging from manufacturing to agriculture to service industries,” says NFIB/Ohio Communications Director Mandy Minick. “We have a higher education system the size, scope and quality of which is nearly unparalleled in the U.S., and we have a large and growing population of entrepreneurs who are eager to welcome more job creators to the fold.”

The recession has given small businesses a competitive edge in Ohio, says Karen Shauri, state director of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) of Ohio — particularly for micro-businesses and home-based businesses. Ohio is helping banks jump-start lending to small businesses through small  business loans, including ones that are minority-owned or located in struggling business zones, to support growth in manufacturing, production and logistics.

Paying Taxes

There are several potential advantages for setting up shop in Ohio, from tax credits for job creation and retention, to the state’s lower-than-average state and local tax burden.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the state’s corporate tax system, called the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT), which is a gross receipts-style tax. Once established, simplify the process of filing state transactions like the CAT through Ohio Business Gateway, a Web-based program that makes government more accessible to businesses.

RELATED: NFIB in Ohio

Registering, Permitting and Licensing Your Business

Start by checking out the state’s free online business information kit in order to find information on registering, permitting and licensing that pertains to your company. Depending on your type of business, you may be required to file a specialized license or permit.

For more targeted information, call the One-Stop Business Permit Center, which offers direction on permits and regulations pertaining to new businesses. You’ll need to explain the type of business, proposed business structure and whether you intend to hire employees — the more specific you are, the better. Down the road, online services at Ohio Business Gateway will help you keep your business and professional licenses and permits in good standing.

RELATED: How a Business Incubator Can Help Your Startup

Doing Business in Ohio

Extra Support

Ohio SBDCs helped 400 new businesses take root last year, with services range from quality-based assessments to loan packaging guidance, says Shauri. If you’re having trouble obtaining financing, ask about the Ohio Capital Access Program, which provides financing to businesses through unconventional underwriting standards. Whether for training or other assistance, a local SBDC office can help get you started on the right track.


Ohio sign image via Shutterstock

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