Economic Development


The City of Columbus recognizes the need to foster a competitive local economy that expands economic opportunities for present and future residents. Economic development through direct technical and business assistance are the catalyst for the retention and creation of new jobs. Columbus allocates federal funding to be used strategically to support economic development activities for job creation and development.

In additional to federal funding such as CDBG, the City of Columbus has an economic development toolbox that incentivizes the private market. The economic development tools available in Columbus are the following:

  • Enterprise Zones
  • Military Zones
  • State Opportunity Zones
  • Tax Allocation Districts
  • Federal Opportunity Zones

By utilizing economic development tools, several of the incentives listed above will provide ways to encourage development and align investments to fill a community need. To see more information about available economic development incentive programs, visit the Economic Development Toolbox.

CDBG – Economic Development

Economic development may be undertaken in several ways under the CDBG program regulations. The following sections briefly describe these eligible activities:

Special Economic Development Activities

  • CDBG funds may be used to undertake special economic development activities. These activities include:
    • Real estate and real property activities;
    • Assisting a for-profit business; and
    • Providing economic development services in connection with other eligible CDBG special economic development activities

Microenterprise Activities

  • CDBG funding can also be used to provide assistance to microenterprises, which are defined as a commercial enterprise that has five or fewer employees, one or more of whom owns the enterprise. Eligible activities include the provision of:
    • Financial support;
    • Technical assistance;
    • General support; and
    • Training and technical assistance or other support services to increase the capacity of grantees to carry out microenterprise activities.

Commercial Rehabilitation

  • Grantees may also undertake certain types of commercial rehabilitation activities.
    • Assistance may be provided to for-profit or non-profit entities;
    • However, some restrictions do exist on how these activities may be accomplished.

Public Facilities for Economic Development

  • In addition to the general types of infrastructure noted above, CDBG funds may also be used to develop public facilities that are specifically related to creating employment and economic opportunities.
  • this may include infrastructure that benefits businesses such as improved water or sewer service in a business area.

Economic Development Public Services

  • Public services specifically related to employment and business creation, such as:
    • Job training;
    • Employment and job placement services; or
    • Training for potential entrepreneurs.

Assistance to Non-Profit Development Organizations for Economic Development

  • This includes assistance to neighborhood-based nonprofit organizations, local development corporations, nonprofit organizations serving the development needs of the communities, or entities organized under section 301(d) of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to carry out a neighborhood revitalization or community economic development or energy conservation project
  • These are projects that are designed to improve the overall economy of a jurisdiction or a neighborhood within the jurisdiction and may include a wide range of activities.

CDBG Economic Development Application

CDBG requires that each activity funded, except for program administration and planning activities, must meet one of the three national objectives outlined below. An activity that does not meet a national objective is not compliant with CDBG requirements and is therefore ineligible for funding. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult the application guide for more detailed information.