Best Businesses to Start in Ohio

Ready to start a business in Ohio? We can help you form your dream business in just minutes. 

Starts at $0 + state fees and only takes 5-10 minutes

Excellent 4.8 out of 5 stars 15,656 reviews

As the heart of America, Ohio is a great place to open a business. With its rich history of industry, manufacturing, and farming, the Buckeye State provides a favorable business tax climate, a growing gross domestic product (GDP), and abundant natural resources.

You’ll also find the third largest manufacturing workforce in the U.S. and a 20.4% yearly increase in venture capital investment growth. 

Our business experts have helped many entrepreneurs form new businesses. Some start with an idea, but others need help finding the right fit. If you’re looking for inspiration, we wrote this list of the best business to start in Ohio for you.

Choosing an idea that aligns with your passions and interests is the best approach. However, if you’re wondering about the best business in Ohio for you to start, use our list to help you brainstorm.

The Most Profitable Small Business Ideas in Ohio

CNBC ranked Ohio tenth on its list of the Top States for Business in 2021. The Birthplace of Aviation also ranked seventh for its access to capital and second for its cost of doing business.

Further, Ohio’s small and medium-sized manufacturing companies represent 90% of job growth for high-paying jobs. Ohio’s Chamber of Commerce asked citizens what makes a great business in Ohio.

They said the best businesses in Ohio choose to be in the community, create jobs, and provide assistance to community needs. We considered these factors and present you with our ideas for what is the best business to start in Ohio.

Idea #1: Manufacturing 

Ohio is known as the machine tool capital of America. The state ranks number one in manufacturing GDP and in glass, plastics, and rubber manufacturing. Thus, your business will be close to suppliers.

Also, the state hosts the third largest manufacturing workforce in the U.S. and invests $12 billion annually in research and development.

Finally, Ohio consistently ranks as one of the top ten states for exports in the nation. You can choose from many products to manufacture, including food, automotive, metals, communications equipment, electronics, or machinery.

Idea #2: Information Technology

If you like technology, Ohio is a great place for a new business in 5G, machine learning, robotics, data centers, smart mobility, cybersecurity, or social media. Columbus and Cincinnati have been named in Forbes’ Top 10 Rising Cities for Startups, and Ohio’s software engineers cost 40% less than California’s.

You’ll have access to tech incubators, entrepreneurs, major venture capital, angel funds, and mentorships from Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. In addition, you can join Ohio’s Third Frontier, an internationally recognized, technology-based economic development initiative to support new entrepreneurs in this sector.

Idea #3: Biosciences and Healthcare

You might be surprised that Ohio ranks number one in per capita clinical trials. If you’re interested in medicine or social assistance, you can join the ranks of Ohio’s Fortune 35 bioscience companies Ethicon, STERIS, Invacare, and Ross Laboratories.

Ohio ranks 10th in total National Institutes of Health funding and has twice the national average growth of research funding (100% versus a national average of 41%). Therefore, this sector offers excellent new business opportunities.

Idea #4: Tourism

Cleveland, Ohio hosts the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Great Lakes Science Center. Visitors can also enjoy Ohio’s Amish Country, Appalachia, Hocking Hills, and Lake Erie.

People visiting these attractions require lodging, food, and entertainment, making the tourism sector among the best of Ohio business opportunities 

Idea #5: Film

Since 2009, Ohio’s Motion Picture Tax Credit has saved productions nearly $165 million in tax payments. If you want to film a movie, television series, documentary, videogame, or commercial, Ohio might be the right place for you.

You can also find many local film commissions, that will help you find crew and staff for your production.

Why these are the best small businesses to start in Ohio

We chose these businesses as good businesses to start in Ohio because:

  • Abundant natural resources—Ohio boasts enormous natural gas resources opportunities in the deep Utica basin and the Marcellus shale. 
  • Favorable tax climate—Ohio offers a Business Income Deduction and 3% flat-rate tax on business income (known as the BID). 
  • Business resources—Ohio offers resources such as the Small Business Development Centers, the Minority Business Development Centers, International Trade Assistance Centers, the Small and Minority Business Financial Incentives Programs, and Ohio Third Frontier. Many of these resources offer grants for women to start a business in Ohio.
  • Low-cost power—The average power rate paid by Ohio consumers in the last six years is $95 per megawatt-hour (MWh), $7/MWh below the national average.
  • Location and infrastructure—Ohio’s location and integrated transportation infrastructure enable Ohio companies to reach customers and suppliers quickly and cost-effectively. Around 60% of the U.S. and Canadian population is within a one-day drive from Ohio.

Although these are some important factors when choosing a business idea, the best small business for you to start in Ohio is the one that fits your business plan.

Remember that even while an idea is one of the most profitable business ideas in Ohio, you might struggle to be successful if the idea doesn’t match your interests and goals.

As a new business owner, the best small business in Ohio is the one that you’ll be able to maintain a passion for long-term.

Best Cities in Ohio for Starting a Business

We researched the best place to start a business in Ohio so you don’t have to. The cities on our list offer tax incentives and entrepreneurial resources so you can start your successful business today:

  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Cincinnati
  • Toledo
  • Dayton
  • Akron

These cities offer access to Ohio’s global infrastructure and many rank among the 10 Best Cities for Millennial Homebuyers.

Why Form Your Ohio Business With Us

We’ll be here to help when you’ve decided what type of business to start. Once you have an idea, the next step is to choose a business structure. We’ve provided this guide to help you compare business structures.

When you’re ready, we offer Formation Services to help you form your Ohio limited liability company (LLC) or Ohio corporation. When you use our services, you’ll access our team of business experts who will provide specially targeted guidance every step of the way.

While the best business for you to start in Ohio depends on your business skills, when you’ve made your choice, we can help. Use our Business Formation Services and we’ll help you complete the registration process.

When you use our products and services, including our Worry-Free Compliance Service, our business experts will remind you of important deadlines, organize your business documents in one place, and support you through every phase of running your business.


  • Ohio has a proactive stance toward cutting-edge innovation and economic development initiatives, global competition, and continued technological advancements.

  • To grow your Ohio business, consider joining an entrepreneurial support group like the Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), SCORE, or the Ohio Women’s Coalition. Groups like these offer mentorship, financial resources, and education for new business owners.

  • Opening a franchise location starts you out with an established and well-known brand. Available franchise opportunities vary by time and location, so it’s best to search to see if the franchise you want to open is available at the time you want to apply.

  • You can usually turn an online business into a lucrative business with little startup capital. Consider the type of business that meets your interests, like dropshipping or craft sales.

  • To find the best home-based business for you, consider the resources you already have access to. If you like writing, teaching, or listening to podcasts, consider blogging, recording lectures, or transcribing services. Don’t forget that even though you’re starting your business at home, you’ll still need to register for business licenses and pay taxes.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

zenbusiness logo

Written by Team ZenBusiness

Best Businesses to start in each state

Ready to start a business? More leading business idea's listed by state.

Start Your Ohio LLC