its 10-person shop in Bellefontaine. Because cash flow is tight, buying new equipment to increase production or expand its product line isn’t something that happens frequently, says Ben Vollrath, president of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce. As the pandemic persisted over the summer, a sense of uneasiness hovered over the city’s base of small manufacturers. Vollrath realized several of them would qualify for the new JobsOhio Inclusion Grant program that aims to boost businesses in distressed communities. So, on a hot August morning, he and 15 area manufacturers got on a phone call with One Columbus to talk about it. The businesses were excited about what they heard and many of them decided to apply. Once they did, the economic development group served as the conduit to get the applications over to the state. As of late October, seven businesses had been awarded grants of $225,000, and several more plan to apply. Ohio Wire
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Logan County Chamber President Ben Vollrath with Linda Botkin and Kim Weber, mother and daughter co-owners of Ohio Wire Harness
Harness got $50,000, which it will use to buy five new pieces of machinery. Vollrath says the business has been operating on outdated, used equipment and didn’t have the funds to upgrade. The new machinery is more flexible and efficient, which will allow Ohio Wire Harness to expand its product
offerings and better serve its customers. “This money is a big deal to businesses that want to take the next step but haven’t been able to do so, even before the pandemic,” Vollrath says. “Getting the money to be able to purchase a piece of equipment and perhaps even be
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The Central Ohio business community has responded to the challenges of 2020 with resiliency and hope: supporting one another, creating new ways to work together and committing to difficult conversations about race and social equity. We’re committed to making the Columbus of tomorrow an even better place to live, work and play.
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