Starting a Business in Cincinnati

Cincinnati is the third-largest city in Ohio and is the home of many large and small businesses, including more than 350 Fortune 500 businesses. Businesses in the manufacturing, retail and service industries are doing well in this city.

Business Environment

Cincinnati supports growing businesses with several highlights:

  • In 2005, Entrepreneurship Magazine ranked Cincinnati as number one for the "lowest failure rate" for entrepreneurship.

  • In 2007, Expansion Magazine ranked Cincinnati in the 98th percentile for 2007 Logistics Quotient.

  • Cincinnati was ranked 7th by Fortune magazine as one of the Great Places to Live and Work in the United States for 2007.

  • There are nine Fortune 500 companies and fifteen Fortune 1000 companies that have headquarters in Cincinnati, including Fifth Third Bank, AK Steel, and Procter & Gamble.

  • Cincinnati has one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the country with the University of Cincinnati Medical Center ranking among the top in the nation for medical technology.

With its strategic location and many established top corporations, Cincinnati is a thriving hub for business.

Business Structure and Licensing

To start a new business in Cincinnati, you must first select a business structure. If you are looking to set up a legal entity for your business, you must register with the State of Ohio via the Ohio Department of Taxation.

While most businesses that operate within the City of Cincinnati are not required to have a business license, certain professional service businesses are required to have a license.

Business that will participate in the retail sale, lease, and rental of tangible personal property, as well as certain services, must first obtain a vendor's license from the Hamilton County Auditor or via the Ohio Business Gateway.

Business Support From the City

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber provides active support for business owners in the community and offers many benefits to members that can improve the odds of business success.

Women business owners can obtain support from the Ohio River Valley Women's Business Council which provides WBENC certification to women-owned businesses that are looking to obtain procurement opportunities.

For small businesses, the SCORE for Greater Cincinnati OH, Northern KY & SE IN provides free business counseling, business workshops and other helpful resources.


The following links provide resources to help you get started with your Cincinnati business:

Start a Business in Cincinnati

Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

Cincinnati City Census Information

Buy a Business in Cincinnati

Find Commercial Real Estate in Cincinnati

Find the Best Cincinnati Accountant

If you're looking to start a business in Cincinnati, call us at (513) 713-1152 to get your business off to the right start.