Main Street Ventures awards grant to Cork N Crust

Originally posted on LinkNKY

Nineteen businesses from the Greater Cincinnati area have been awarded over $365,000 in equity-free funding by Main Street Ventures during its first quarter grant cycle, including seven from Northern Kentucky.

The grant money is important for small businesses and startups looking to scale their operations. Cork N Crust, a pizzeria and wine bar in Bellevue, is planning to use the money to renovate the second floor of their Fairfield Avenue store. Their ultimate goal is to hire more staff, increase seating capacity, and become more of a destination restaurant.

“We are deeply honored to be a 2023 recipient of the Main Street Ventures grant,” said Deborah Rudisell, owner of Cork N Crust. “This funding will not only allow us to renovate space for additional customer seating but will have a major impact on our business, staff, and our community. We are truly grateful for this opportunity.”

Main Street Ventures is an entrepreneurial support non-profit that provides capital and coaching to entrepreneurs in the Greater Cincinnati area. They provide two types of grants: Launch Funding and Leap Funding.

Launch Funding provides pre-revenue businesses at the prototype or product stage with $5,000 to $10,000 of equity-free funding to increase the odds of reaching the market entry stage and beyond.

Leap Funding provides revenue generating businesses with $10,000 to $30,000 of equity-free funding to scale their business and increase their sustainability.

“I think the coolest thing about it is bringing more awareness,” Main Street Ventures Director of Community Engagement Abby Ober told LINK nky. “It’s more money going into companies which is the most important thing.

In January of this year, Blue North – Northern Kentucky’s primary entrepreneurial advocacy and resource group, launched the Northern Kentucky Entrepreneurship Fund. The fund aims to assist Northern Kentucky entrepreneurial support organizations, startups, educational vehicles and accelerators. It also seeks to increase the region’s visibility as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship within the Greater Cincinnati area.

Blue North partnered with Main Street Ventures to launch their first initiative through the Northern Kentucky Entrepreneurship Fund. Their primary goal was to increase Main Street Ventures’ funding to Northern Kentucky startups.

“We’re really excited this is such a big group,” said Ober. “I think it’s a testament to the Northern Kentucky Entrepreneur Fund as well. It’s been really cool to see an increase in Northern Kentucky companies applying.”

Launch Funding

Todd is an online tool which helps democratize and automate estate planning, end of life care, and settling affairs.

Leap Funding

Better Blend Nutrition is a franchise of high-protein smoothie bars based out of Florence. They currently operate in three locations: Florence, downtown Cincinnati and Clifton Heights.

Cooler Keg is a company that makes portable kegerators that are built into a cooler. The product’s goal is to allow its user to pour a quality draft beer, cocktail, cider or seltzer anywhere.

Cork N Crust is pizzeria and bar in Bellevue which specializes in serving wine by the glass and offering a variety of vegan menu options.

Parts & Labor is a barbeque startup and catering company based in Newport.

Golden Gelato Company is a gelato parlor in Covington. They make authentic Italian gelato and sorbets using the traditional Italian hot process.

The Empanadas Box is a restaurant in Covington which specializes in Argentine-style empanadas with different tastes from around the world.

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