Northeast Ohio Aims to Boost Economy by Leading the State in Inclusion Grant Assistance

Program assists projects in eligible communities for businesses owned by underrepresented populations

Businesses in the Northeast Ohio Region have access to a variety of supportive programs and incentives designed to help them thrive. Among these is the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant (JOIG), which assists projects in designated eligible Ohio communities or businesses owned by underrepresented populations. Since the program was launched in 2020, the Northeast Ohio Region has closed 90 projects for small- to medium-sized businesses owned by underrepresented populations such as minorities, women, veterans, and people with disabilities. These businesses must also be in one of JobsOhio’s targeted industries.

“Small and medium-sized businesses play an important role in our region and its many communities. These grants offer eligible companies opportunities to accelerate growth and strengthen their competitive position, ensuring their long-term impact on employees and the communities in which they operate,” said Team NEO Chief Executive Officer Bill Koehler.

In 2023, Team NEO has already closed on 15 JOIG projects, including recent wins:

The Woodhill Plating Works Company
This Cleveland-based, minority-owned manufacturing company specializes in chrome, brass, and nickel plating. The company provides high-quality services for the plumbing, hardware, automotive, marine and electronics industries. Woodhill Plating was approved for a $50,000 grant to create two new jobs and invest in new equipment, which will be used to launch a new laser cleaning service for existing and prospective customers.

Renewable Lubricants
Located in Portage County, the $25,000 JOIG will assist the woman-owned manufacturers’ purchase of a new building with rail access to meet growing demand for its bio-based biodegradable lubricants. The environmentally friendly company is growing at approximately 20% a year as companies look to adopt more sustainable practices. They will add five additional employees to their current staff of 10.

ISP/Cleveland Tofu
This woman-owned food manufacturing company in Cuyahoga County plans to improve efficiencies with a Monitoring & Equipment plan for its growing food production company. The $50,000 grant will also assist the training of new hires and building upgrades to meet demands as plant-based food options continue to grow. They will add three new employees to their current staff of three.

“The JobsOhio Inclusion Grant is an important tool to ensure eligible business owners throughout Ohio have access to capital that can help them achieve their American Dream,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. “Team NEO’s commitment to supporting those dreams is helping to expand economic opportunity throughout Ohio’s underrepresented populations.”

While inclusion projects are not large in employment hires, they are important as Team NEO and its partners build a vibrant economy that is prosperous, resilient, innovative and competitive. That is why Team NEO launched the Vibrant Economy Index in 2022, going beyond traditional economic growth indicators to use a more encompassing set of data to understand the opportunities to grow our economy through equitable access to prosperity and outcomes.

About Team NEO

Team NEO is a private, nonprofit economic development organization accelerating business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of the Northeast Ohio Region. As the designated JobsOhio Network Partner, we align and amplify local economic development efforts in the region’s 18-counties; we conduct research and data analysis to inform local conversations and influence solutions; we market the Northeast Ohio Region; and we work to increase access to jobs, education and training for the region’s 4.3 million people. We do this to build a more vibrant regional economy; one that is more talented, equitable, competitive, innovative, resilient, and prosperous. For more information, visit

About JobsOhio

JobsOhio is a private nonprofit economic development corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention and expansion. The organization also works to seed talent production in its targeted industries and to attract talent to Ohio through Find Your Ohio. JobsOhio works with six regional partners across Ohio: Dayton Development Coalition, Ohio Southeast Economic Development, One Columbu, REDI Cincinnati, Regional Growth Partnership and Team NEO. Learn more at Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.