Support will focus on business ideas that advance the goals of a circular economy

Circular Cleveland is partnering with SCORE Cleveland to launch the Circular Cleveland Business Incubation Grants. Three prizes of $10,000 will be awarded towards launching and incubating business ideas that adopt principles of circular economy.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation describes the circular economy as development strategy that decouples growth from the consumption of finite resources by making a shift from the current take-make-waste model to a more intentionally designed one that keeps material circulating in the system longer, and at its highest value.

The grant application process will open on August 29, 2022 and close on October 2, 2022. To apply, visit the Circular Cleveland website and application page here.

“In addition to being good for local communities and the environment, sustainability makes economic sense,” says Divya Sridhar, Director of Climate Resiliency & Sustainability at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and the project manager for Circular Cleveland.

“Advancing a circular economy locally will accelerate the benefits it can unlock for economic development in Cleveland and across the region. These grants will support entrepreneurs who believe in doing things differently, by both addressing the impacts of climate change and by building regional resilience in the form of local resources and jobs. We are excited to partner with SCORE Cleveland, who will provide overall mentorship for the entrepreneurs in the areas of concept development, market analysis, and business establishment.”

This grant opportunity is open to any Cuyahoga County resident, student or a start-up (under 1 year of establishment) who has an innovative idea for a product or service that reduces the amount of waste and pollution in a certain sector or across waste streams. Applicants should be willing to grow their business in Cleveland, Ohio. Successful applications will focus on creating sustainable, environmental outcomes and new job opportunities in at least one of four key areas: manufacturing, the built environment, pollution remediation, and getting more from resources. These four areas are prioritized as the greatest opportunities for an impactful and equitable circular economy transition within Cleveland, as identified by the roadmap developed by circular economy subject matter experts Metabolic Inc. and partners PXYERA Global and the Council for the Great Lakes Region.

Entrepreneurs working with SCORE Cleveland will have the opportunity to seek additional no- or low-interest financial products offered by HFLA of Northeast Ohio.


About Circular Cleveland: Circular Cleveland is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded initiative of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and the City of Cleveland. It is currently working with eight ambassadors across the city to advance the principles of circular economy in an effort to reduce waste, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In partnership with Neighborhood Connections, a grassroots community grant making organization, Circular Cleveland awarded $40,000 to fourteen community grantees, and is currently reviewing another round of funding to advance circular practices within the community. Learn more about Circular Cleveland here. 

About the circular economy: A circular economy is a model of production and consumption that involves careful design to eliminate waste and pollution, keep materials in use longer and regenerate Earth’s natural systems. It is accelerated by working collaboratively across scales and sectors to create impact through innovation and systems design change. It includes practices such as reducing, reusing, redesigning, sharing, leasing and repairing and redistribution of products and materials. Learn more about circular economy here.

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress: CNP was founded in 1988 to serve as a local intermediary for community development corporations. The mission of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress is to foster equitable revitalization throughout Cleveland’s neighborhoods by strengthening the community development ecosystem. CNP has expanded its impact by engaging in real estate development, through its subsidiary New Village Corporation, and by direct lending, through its subsidiary Village Capital Corporation, which is a federally certified community development financial institution.

SCORE Cleveland, founded 1965, is one of 250+ chapters in the national SCORE organization, a 501C3 non-profit organization affiliated with the Small Business Administration (SBA). SCORE is committed to fostering and educating the small business community in Northeast Ohio and throughout the United States. The Cleveland chapter’s over 90 volunteers across Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, Geauga, Ashtabula, and Huron Counties have diverse business backgrounds as owners, managers, retired executives, and experts in their fields.

HFLA of Northeast Ohio: Founded in 1904, HFLA of Northeast Ohio’s mission is to provide interest-free loans to Northeast Ohio residents who are unable to access safe and fair lending resources. For 118 years, HFLA of Northeast Ohio has been guided by the principle that, if you give someone a chance to succeed, they will and they will pay it back. By providing interest-free loans to individuals, families, and small businesses in the Northeast Ohio area, we are able to help people help themselves. HFLA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.