Economic Development

Home of global manufacturing and small business startups

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Hardin County Works.

Whether you are looking to expand or to locate a new facility, Hardin County wants to be your home.


We are centrally located in northwest Ohio.
Hardin County is located within 500 miles of 60% of the US population.
Ten state routes cross our county, with US Highway 68 running north and south through the heart of our county seat, Kenton. We also have easy access to I-75 just to the west and US Highway 30 just to the north.
Three rail lines intersect in the county to provide access in all directions.


We offer robust incentives to support growing businesses.
We offer several local incentives, and have partnered with statewide agencies to offer a broad selection of economic development incentives to help businesses relocate or expand.


We have an ample skilled workforce.
With a workforce of 450,000 within a 45-mile drive, Hardin County has the workers growing businesses need.
Hardin County is also home to Ohio Northern University. Our schools are served by two career technical centers, and we are within 30-minutes of four technical colleges.

Available Sites & Buildings

Economic Development Incentives

Hardin County Local Revolving Loan Fund

The purpose of the Hardin County Local Revolving Loan Fund (Local RLF) is to enable Hardin County to overcome specific gaps in local capital markets that inhibit business and industry from obtaining suitable credit. The Local RLF is designed to be an incentive for businesses that wish to locate or expand in Hardin County. Projects must meet job creation and capital investment requirements. Private, for-profit entities are eligible to borrow funds through the Local RLF. Details are available by contacting our office at 419-673-4131.

Foreign Trade Zone

Hardin County is in the service area of Foreign Trade Zone #151 in Findlay, Ohio through Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development.  A foreign-trade zone (FTZ) is a designated location in the United States where companies can use special customs procedures that encourage US activity. FTZs can help businesses reduce production, transaction, and logistics-related costs by lowering effective duty rates, allowing special entry procedures, and encouraging production closer to market.

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has developed a national reputation for innovative business financing, assisting over 600 economic development projects, representing a total investment of more than $2 billion while helping to create and retain nearly 20,000 jobs.

Innovative Financing Programs

Ohio Regional 166 Loan Program - Low interest rate financing for fixed asset purchases such as land, building, and equipment for manufacturer, distributors, and wholesalers throughout Ohio.

US Small Business Administration 504 Loan Program - The US Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 Loan Program provides fixed asset financing to for-profit businesses with a net worth not exceeding $15 million and net after-tax profit of no more than $5 million. This program can also finance start-ups with a 15% equity injection.

BetterBuildings Northwest Ohio - BetterBuildings Northwest Ohio (BBNWO) offers competitive fixed-rate Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for projects that focus on conserving energy and generating savings through energy efficiency retrofits to new and existing facilities. Eligible energy efficiency improvements to all types and sizes of buildings can be financed through PACE and repaid via a special assessment on the property.

Northwest Ohio Bond Fund - The primary focus of the Northwest Ohio Bond Fund (NWOBF) is to promote economic development, including the creation of new investment and private and public sector jobs in the Northwest Ohio region. The NWOBF, which has an investment grade rating of "A-" from Standard & Poor's, is designed to provide private companies and public entities access to fixed, investment grade interest rates in the national capital markets.

Kenton Ohio Port Authority

The newly created Kenton Ohio Port Authority (KOPA) is designed to offer economic development incentives for projects in the Kenton area. Services include capital (or "synthetic") lease deals to offer sales tax savings on construction costs involved with new facilities.


OhioMeansJobs offers many resources and services for employers from navigating the Bureau of Workers' Compensation system, finding skilled employees, recruitment and training programs and more. These services can be added to incentive packages for businesses looking to locate or expand facilities in Hardin County. For more information on any of these programs, contact the Hardin County OhioMeansJobs center.

On-the-Job Training - On-the-Job Training (OJT) is a federally funded program that helps employers hire and train individuals for long-term employment. Employers can get help recruiting, pre-screening and hiring new employees; help developing a workforce trained in the skills they need to thrive; and reimbursement for a percentage of the trainee's regular wages during the training period. Benefits to employers include reimbursement of up to 50 percent of trainee wages during the training period (up to six months); training tailored to the employer's needs; increased productivity; and higher retention rates.

Employer Tax Credits - The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program provides federal tax credits to Ohio employers that hire individuals from one of several target groups. Credits range from $1,200 to $9,600, based on the targe group and the number of hours worked. Target groups include veterans; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamp) recipients; designated community residents; individuals referred from vocational rehabilitation; ex-felons; Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients; eligible summer youth employees; and long-term unemployed.

Rapid Response Employer Services - Provides assistance to businesses experiencing transitions, whether it be expansions, contractions or something in between. Rapid Response services can help you and your workforce navigate the difficult transitions with assistance that is proactive, flexible, and free. Services include: an explanation of your options, including layoff aversion services; layoff and closure assistance, including informational material about Worker Adjustment and Retaining Notification (WARN); resources and information can be provided about filing for a mass layoff number to make it easier for employees to apply for unemployment benefits; surveys of worker training and employment needs; and reemployment services nearby or on site to help the affected employees get reemployed, and possibly retrained, as quickly as possible.

Other Services - Visit the OhioMeansJobs website to learn about Assessments; Basic Skills Training; Business Services and Recruitment; Career Exploration, Job Matching and Job Placement; Co-Op/Internship related training/Apprenticeship; Continuing Education/Professional Development; Education and Training (Certificates, 2-year and 4-year degrees); Licensing and Testing for Careers; Remedial Education and Academic Intervention for Students; Stipend; Supportive Services; and Tax Credits.

Ohio Department of Development

The Ohio Department of Development offers several programs designed to incentivize development in the state.

Collateral Enhancement Program (CEP) - Created to facilitate increased lending by banks to small businesses and minority-owned businesses.

Ohio Capital Access Program (OCAP) - The Ohio Capital Access Program (OCAP) is a loan portfolio insurance program, similar to a loan guarantee, that enables small businesses to obtain credit to help them grow and expand their businesses.

Ohio Enterprise Zone Program - Enterprise zones are designated areas of land in which businesses can receive tax incentives in the form of tax exemptions on eligible new investment. The Enterprise Zone Program can provide tax exemptions for a portion of the value of new real property investment when the investment is made in conjunction with a project that includes job creation. Existing land values and existing building values are not eligible.
Hardin County has Enterprise Zones in Kenton/Buck Township, Ada, and Forest/Jackson Township. Contact Hardin County Economic Development at 419-673-4131 for more information or to apply.

Rural Industrial Park Loan Program (RIPL) - The Rural Industrial Park Loan Program (RIPL) promotes economic development by providing low-interest direct loans to assist eligible applicants in financing the development and improvement of industrial parks and related off-site public infrastructure improvements.

Ohio Treasurer of State

The Ohio Treasurer of State offers programs to incentivize investment in business and agriculture.

GrowNOW - Through GrowNOW, job creators may qualify for reduced interest rates (up to 3% interest rate reduction) on new or existing business loans aimed at helping them expand their businesses or operations. Participating businesses must commit to creating or retaining at least one full-time or two part-time jobs in the State of Ohio for every $50,000 (up to $400,000) borrowed.

Re-Energize Ohio - Small businesses looking to expand operations or renovate their existing buildings may qualify for loans with a four-year interest rate reduction of up to 3%, with a program cap of $550,000. Qualified entities may also use the loan for upgrading and adding equipment, or installing energy-saving products and systems. This program helps to revitalize business areas across Ohio.

Ag-LINK - This annual program allows eligible farm operators and agribusiness owners to receive up to a 3% interest rate reduction on operating loans of $150,000 or less. Ag-LINK helps offset the impact of upfront costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, and inventory. Agriculture is Ohio's largest business, and the Ohio Treasury is committed to supporting farmers and agribusinesses across our state.

Development Partnerships

RGP Logo





SBDC at Rhodes State College

Business Retention and Expansion

Business Retention & Expansion Survey

The Hardin County Office of Economic Development relies on feedback from local businesses to inform the directives of our organization and those of local policy makers.

The Hardin County Office of Economic Development operates a comprehensive Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) program that is designed to help connect with local employers and to assist in the implementation of projects that create local businesses growth.  Through visits and questionnaires, the BR&E program is able to identify areas where local, state, or federal resources may be available to assist local firms in their profitable growth.

Whether your organization is seeking building and equipment financing, workforce development funding, site selection assistance, research & development assistance, or permitting assistance; Hardin County Economic Development can help streamline the process.

All local business owners, operators, and management are encouraged to participate in the BR&E program by following this link.


The Hub of the Global Supply Chain


The county is easily accessible by US Highway 68, a major north/south route for trade and transportation. Several other state routes run through the county.


Kenton is located on the CSX Toledo Division Mainline, affording Hardin County the best rail access to all four quadrants.


Kenton is home to the Hardin County Airport (FAA LID: I95), just over an hour from the John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH), and 90-minutes from Dayton International Airport (DAY).

Travel Time

Hardin County is 30 minutes from Lima, Findlay, Upper Sandusky, Marion, Marysville, Bellefontaine and Wapakoneta; 60 minutes from Columbus and Toledo; 90 minutes from Dayton; other major cities in our region include Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit and Fort Wayne.

Wage & Benefits Survey Results

Data reported by Hardin County employers on wages and benefits based on position, industry, and other key factors.
Click Here to Download

Economic Profile

The Hardin County Economic Profile includes information on population by demographics, population by age, employment and income, jobs and occupation, education and more.
Click Here to Download

Workforce & Talent Acquisition


Hardin Career Task Force

Formed as a partnership between businesses, employers, workforce development professionals and educators in Hardin County, the Career Task Force collaborates to create awareness of in-demand occupations in our area, and to create an understanding of in-demand knowledge and skills. Access resources about apprenticeships, upskilling with TechCred, learn about our 3E initiative, and more.

Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation

The Office of Workforce Transformation's mission is to connect Ohio's business, training and education communities to build a dynamically skilled, productive and purposeful workforce.

Ohio Office of Workforce Development

The Office of Workforce Development offers resources for individuals seeking employment, for employers looking for talent and for workforce professionals.


Visit the OhioMeansJobs website to search for jobs or potential candidates.

Small Business Resources

Thank you to our President's Club sponsors!