Entrepreneurship is alive and well in Seattle with new businesses starting-up every day. As businesses start-up or decide to expand, their owners face new sets of challenges, including navigating the permitting process, securing financing, deciding how and where to expand, and addressing issues related to attracting and retaining quality employees. OED is here to help current and potential business owners access local resources and help them get their businesses off the ground.
Financing Options Available for Businesses
In response to the tight credit market for businesses, OED has several financing options for businesses, including options for small to medium to large businesses. For more information about the CDBG Small Business Loan Fund, Grow Seattle Fund, or New Markets Tax Credits mentioned below, please contact Ken Takahashi in the city's Office of Economic Development at 206-684-8378 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CDBG Small Business Loan Fund
Federal Block Grant funds provide financing for small business projects that benefit low-income entrepreneurs and low-income communities and create jobs. OED has partnered with community-based lenders to provide loans using CDBG funds to small businesses. OED's lending partners are Community Capital Development, Craft3, and the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund.
Grow Seattle Fund ($8 million)
For small- to medium-sized businesses that need capital to grow, OED has a $8 million Grow Seattle Fund, which is a partnership between the City, the National Development Council's Grow America Fund and the Seattle Foundation.
The Grow Seattle Fund offers long-term, below-market rate financing for growing small businesses. Loans finance a broad range of business needs such as working capital, machinery and equipment purchases, tenant improvements and real estate acquisition. With flexible underwriting and low interest rates, each loan can be customized to complement individual businesses' financing needs. Financing ranges from $100,000 - $5,000,000. It is most appropriate for businesses with a profitable operating history of at least two years, capacity to service the proposed debt, and collateral.
OED offers businesses low interest loans for installing energy efficient improvements that can be paired with Seattle City Light rebates. This package of financial incentives will encourage businesses to make improvements that will enhance their cash flow through energy saving.
Click here to download a flyer about Energy Efficiency Financing for Grocery Stores.
New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs)
OOED is an eligible recipient of federal New Markets Tax Credits used to attract low-cost private financing for business and real estate projects in low-income areas. In the past three years, we have financed $51 million in tax credits with such projects. Visit www.seattleinvestmentfund.com to learn about the investment criteria of geographic eligibility, project readiness and public benefits, view video application tutorials, and download an application. Financing ranges from $5 million to $20 million per project.
Click here for a Question and Answer fact sheet about New Markets Tax Credits.
Contact AJ Cari at AJ.Cari@seattle.gov or at (206) 684-0133 for more information.
Community Development Loan Program
The Office of Economic Development's Community Development Loan Program provides low-rate loans to large projects that meet federal eligibility criteria and the program's national objectives under federal block grant guidelines. Funding may be available for construction bridge financing, low-income housing development projects and site acquisition through Section 108 Loans and Float Loans.
Rainier Valley Community Development Fund
The Rainier Valley Community Development Fund (RVCDF) is a self-sustaining, community controlled financial institution that preserves and strengthens cultural diversity, long-term livability, and economic opportunity for Rainier Valley residents, businesses and institutions. The Office of Economic Development, in partnership with Sound Transit and the Rainier Valley community, helped to establish the RVCDF and provides ongoing support of its activities.
Community Capital Development
Community Capital Development (CCD) provides technical and financial assistance, business development and expansion services, and policy advice to women, minority and low-income entrepreneurs that might otherwise have difficulty obtaining conventional bank financing. CCD provides small business loans through the Seattle Economic Development Fund (SEDF).
Craft3 offers small business loans and technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs and businesses that create family wage jobs in low-income communities.
Alliance of Angels
The Alliance of Angels is a regionally-focused group of individual investors and representatives of investment corporations that acts as a "matchmaker" for young technology companies and interested investors.
U.S. Small Business Administration
Washington's district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers small business financing assistance, including loans, equity financing, and surety bond.
Washington CASH provides training and lending services for low-income women, people with disabilities, immigrants and other low-income individuals to help them start or expand their own business.
The City of Seattle prioritizes long term economic development planning that promotes job growth, attracts new businesses, and helps existing businesses expand and grow profitably. To support the efforts of OED, Washington State offers a number of flexible business incentive programs. These programs include a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, renewable energy, high technology, and more.
For additional funding assistance contact:
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