Financing & Incentives
Almost all businesses require some form of financing. Regardless of what stage you are in – whether you’re just getting started or are a seasoned business that is growing – with a good business plan and experience, together with personal or business equity and collateral, there are resources available that may be able to help with financing your business. And if you’re looking for a business loan, refer your Loan Officer here to learn how these programs can help.
LOCAL PROGRAMS & INCENTIVES
A gap financing loan program that works in participation with primary financing from a traditional lender and that can help businesses operating in targeted sectors and geographic areas secure the funding they need.
Gap financing for small business startups, expansions & relocations.
The Charlotte Community Capital Fund is an innovative public/private loan fund established to assist small businesses with gaining access to capital.
A statewide nonprofit that offers loans to new and existing small businesses directly and through partnerships with local credit unions.
Charlotte’s facade and security grant programs can help business and property owners in targeted areas make capital improvements to their buildings and sites.
The Michael Scott Mater Foundation, headquartered in Charlotte, administers the Green Micro Loan to support entrepreneurs in under-resourced communities within the Charlotte region.
Provides low-cost financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on existing commercial and non-profit-owned buildings, multifamily housing, and community facilities.
Charlotte’s Brownfield programs can help property owners and developers with the assessment and remediation of environmental contamination.
The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County partner to provide a multi-year grant program for firms planning to invest a substantial amount in property assets and job creation in targeted areas.
Learn more about programs and incentives available for training new and existing employees, creating new jobs, and more.
Compiled by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, learn more about various taxes and incentives available in the Charlotte area.
Learn more about energy programs & incentives that may be available for your business.
STATE PROGRAMS & INCENTIVES
The North Carolina Capital Access Program expands business finance options for businesses across the state. By reducing risk, it encourages banks and other qualified lenders to consider loans that otherwise fall just outside conventional underwriting standards. The program will enable up to $800 million in business lending, freeing capital in a tight credit market.
The fund awards funds to North Carolina small for-profit and non-profit businesses to encourage the development and commercialization of promising green technologies
The N.C. Office of Office Science and Technology seeks to accelerate both the development of next-generation technology companies and the adoption of technology across existing industry. Grant programs include: One North Carolina Small Business Program that awards state matching funds to North Carolina businesses who have been awarded a SBIR or STTR Program award by the corresponding U.S. government program, and the Green Business Fund that provides competitive grants to help NC small businesses develop commercial innovations and applications in the biofuels industry and the green building industry, as well as attract and leverage private sector investments and entrepreneurial growth in environmentally conscious technologies and renewable energy products and businesses.
NC IDEA provides small grants to high-tech startup companies to support business activities that validate potential markets, reduce risk of early failure, and advance projects to the point of self-sustainability at which time they are suitable for private equity investment.
Small grants available to small and medium sized businesses to help connect with global markets through trade shows and overseas travel.
Thrive in North Carolina has compiled information on state incentives including tax credits for job creation, interactive digital media, renewable energy, sales and use tax discounts, industrial revenue bonds and much more.
The N.C. Biotechnology Center provides low-interest loan programs and support for early-stage biotechnology companies.
Administered by the Division of Waste Management, the state offers brownfield agreements that provide limited liability to prospective developers of environmentally contaminated property and tax incentives for brownfield redevelopment.
The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center runs the Microenterprise Loan Program and the Rural Venture Fund, offering a variety of financing options for business start-ups and expansions in North Carolina’s 85 rural counties.
NCIF provides debt and equity financing to small and emerging natural resource-based businesses (such as recycling businesses) located in North Carolina.
The SBTDC’s Capital Opportunities for Small Businesses provides information about financial resources available to small businesses in North Carolina.
FEDERAL PROGRAMS & INCENTIVES
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) assists small business owners with starting and expanding their businesses by helping them get loans through private banks and financial institutions. SBA offers a number of low-interest loan programs for business owners who may be having difficulty getting traditional bank loans.
SBIR is a highly competitive program that encourages small business to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By reserving a specific percentage of federal R&D funds for small business, SBIR protects the small business and enables it to compete on the same level as larger businesses. SBIR funds the critical startup and development stages and it encourages the commercialization of the technology, product, or service, which, in turn, stimulates the U.S. economy. In addition to the SBA website, two sites to check out are Zyn and SBIR.gov.
STTR is a highly competitive program that reserves a specific percentage of federal R&D funding for award to small business and nonprofit research institution partners. STTR introduces entrepreneurial skills to high-tech research efforts. The technologies and products are transferred from the laboratory to the marketplace. The small business profits from the commercialization, which, in turn, stimulates the U.S. economy
Find money to pay for energy efficient upgrades to your facilities, environment-related projects and improvements, and financial incentives that can save you money such as tax credits, tax deductions, sales tax exemptions, property tax exemptions and rebates.
The USDA has loan and grant programs available to assist businesses that are primarily focused on agricultural production and sustainability. Generally these businesses will be located and operating in rural areas.
Grants.gov is your source to find and apply for federal government grants. In addition, learn more about the facts surrounding government grants by visiting the Grant Facts page.
Interested in expanding your business & growing revenue? Learn more about programs that can help you get started exporting.
REAL ESTATE FINANCING
Buying or renovating commercial, owner-occupied real estate for your business operations? Then you need to know about the SBA 504 loan. Help your business preserve capital and increase cashflow with up to 90% financing and long-term fixed rates. In Charlotte, contact one of the following non-profit 504 lenders to learn more:
- Centralina Development Corporation
- Self Help
ANGELS AND EQUITY INVESTORS
Some high-growth business start-ups are able to tap into equity funding and angel investors, which take an equity position or partial ownership in a business.
A local angel fund that considers investments of dollars, time and relationships in early stage, high quality and high growth companies in the Charlotte area in order that those companies achieve success.
The Charlotte Angel Fund is a private equity fund of angel investors located in Charlotte providing funding and post-investment support to high-growth, high-technology companies with the potential of providing high returns.
Providing seed and early stage equity funding, along with company building expertise to IT, software, materials technologies and medical device companies. We seek to serve as a bridge between angel and institutional investors.
SBIC’s are privately owned and managed investment firms that provide venture capital and start-up financing to small businesses. To view a list of SBIC firms in North Carolina click here.
HELPFUL HINTS FOR STARTUP FINANCING
Are there grants to start your business? In a word, no. Most start-up businesses do not qualify for grants. But with careful planning you may be able to qualify for other types of funding programs. Here’s how:
Have a good business plan with realistic financial projections;
Wisely estimate your startup costs;
Make sure you know what lenders are looking for;
Don’t be surprised; know what’s on your credit report by reviewing it once a year;
Learn how local programs can help your bank turn their response to your loan request from a “maybe” to a “yes”;
Explore alternative financing options; and
Take advantage of local resources that can help you be better prepared!
And if you’re still wondering about grant programs, learn the truth about government grants.
Most businesses are started with personal savings, financing from friends and relatives, personal credit cards, and home equity lines of credit. Often, traditional banks that are able to help startup businesses will utilize programs offered through the Small Business Administration. Becoming familiar with these programs will help new business owners talk about their financing needs with a bank, and the more you understand what lenders are looking for the better positioned you will be for successfully securing the funding you need.
Charlotte is also very fortunate to have non-profit resources that may be able to assist with startup financing. Self Help is a highly regarded non-profit community development lender that offers small business loans in North Carolina. By utilizing programs such as the Charlotte Community Capital Fund, SBA Loan Guaranty Programs, the SBA Microloan Program and others, Self Help is able to consider providing needed capital to qualified businesses who cannot obtain traditional bank loans in the Charlotte Area. In addition, the City of Charlotte can help with gap financing for eligible start-up businesses operating in targeted areas or specific industries.
Besides the many traditional banks in our city, Charlotte has a number of resources that may be able to assist with business financing. The City of Charlotte has a gap financing loan program that partners with area banks and credit unions to assist eligible businesses with, among other things, their working capital needs. In addition, The City of Charlotte and other major corporations and foundations partner with Self Help, a non-profit community development lender, through the Charlotte Community Capital Fund to make funds available to expanding businesses that cannot otherwise be served by traditional banks. Charlotte is also home to several certified development corporations that administer the SBA’s 504 loan program to assist businesses that are purchasing fixed assets such as owner-occupied real estate.
In addition to loans, there are a number of incentives available to businesses in Charlotte. The Business Investment Grant is a multi-year grant program for established firms planning to invest a substantial amount in property assets and job creation in targeted areas. The City of Charlotte’s Facade Improvement, Security and Brownfield Grant programs offer matching funds to business and property owners in targeted areas that can be used for a variety of capital improvements, ranging from new windows and landscaping to security improvements and brownfield assessment and cleanup.
Learn about these and other programs by visiting the resources on this page.
The SBTDC has created an on-line training module that describes potential funding options (including family & friends, angel investors, loans, specialized grants, local sources), and what the various financing sources look for from the individuals/businesses they fund. Registration is required, but the effort is well worth it, especially for business owners that are unfamiliar with business financing.
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