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Funding Programs

CONNECTICUT PROGRAMS

BDC Capital

An organization providing financing to businesses throughout New England, BDC Capital offers an extensive range of products for businesses. These include term loans, lines of credit, mezzanine capital, and more. Funding can be used for a variety of purposes, such as working capital, equipment purchases, real estate acquisition, debt restructuring, and business expansion.

Brownfields Remediation Financing

Connecticut offers financing directed at promoting brownfield redevelopment in the state. Currently the only program open to business owners is the Targeted Brownfield Development Loan Program, which provides loans of up to $4 million for the investigation, assessment, remediation, and development of brownfields.

Community Investment Corporation (CIC)

CIC is a provider of the SBA 504 loan as well as the following smaller loan options:

Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT)

CCAT’s current financing and grant opportunities to manufacturers and allied service providers include:

Connecticut Economic Development Fund (CEDF)

In addition to offering SBA microloans, CEDF provides a suite of financing opportunities. These include:

  • Term loans, which provide between $1,000 and $250,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, or debt refinancing
  • Commercial real estate loans of up to $250,000 to purchase commercial property
  • Business lines of credit, up to $250,000, to provide short-term financing; the lines of credit are often used to support cyclical or seasonal cash flow needs

Connecticut Innovations

Connecticut Innovations serves as Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and leading source of financing for innovative, growing companies. Financing options include:

CTNext Programs

CTNext oversees several financing programs for entrepreneurs, startups, and early-stage companies. These include:

Energy Assistance

Connecticut offers a range of programs to assist businesses in making energy efficiency improvements, including:

  • C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy), which offers 100 percent financing for green energy upgrades
  • EnergizeCT, whose programs include interest-free loans of up to $100,000 for energy efficiency improvements and low-interest loans of $2,000 to $1 million for electrical and gas upgrades
  • Connecticut Green Bank, which offers numerous financing options for building owners and contractors to undertake energy efficiency improvements

HEDCO Inc.

HEDCO offers small businesses and nonprofits loans of up to $150,000, with terms of up to 10 years and interest rates of 4 to 6 percent. Loans are generally used for renovations, purchases of equipment and inventory, or working capital.

Manufacturing Innovation Fund

This $75 million fund offers targeted assistance for a wide range of industries in Connecticut. Financing opportunities include vouchers to assist with business development and technical needs, funding of job training and educational programs, and matching funds for federal grants.

Middlesex County Revitalization Commission

Since 1993, the Middlesex County Revitalization Commission has been providing low-interest loans and/or matching grants to small and mid-sized businesses in the region. Applicants must have received registration to conduct business in Connecticut at least one year ago, be operating in the Middlesex County region, be current on all state and local taxes, and employ no more than 100 people.

Northeastern CT Economic Alliance

Businesses operating within the 21 towns served by the Northeast CT Economic Alliance can apply for loans through the organization. Loans are generally $5,000 to $50,000, although it is possible to structure larger loans. The financing is typically provided to smaller companies, including startups who are having trouble qualifying for a bank loan.

Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region (seCTer)

seCTer offers loans to businesses that are not yet bank-ready, offering initial capital while also serving as a niche lender to help address funding gaps. Loans are intended to help small and medium-sized businesses expand, upgrade their machinery or equipment, and/or relocate in the region.

Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA)

In partnership with HEDCO Inc., SAMA offers several loan options that entrepreneurs can use to finance startups, purchase existing businesses, renovate commercial or industrial real estate, or purchase machinery or inventory.

Loan products include:

  • Minority Business Revolving Loan Fund, providing loans of $10,000 to $100,000 to minority- and/or women-owned businesses in Connecticut
  • Neighborhood Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund, offering loans of $30,000 to $75,000 to businesses in Hartford, Meriden, New Britain, and New Haven
  • Merchants Revolving Loan Fund, available to Hartford businesses that have trouble qualifying for traditional financing; provides loans of up to $50,000

State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development oversees this program, which helps small businesses in the state explore new trade opportunities and access the global marketplace through exports. Grants can be used for a variety of expenses, including compliance testing, applicable fees, and trade mission or trade show costs. Applications for the current program are due Sept. 15, 2021.

Waterbury Development Corporation

Loan options are available through the Waterbury Development Corporation for business projects in the city. Funding is typically used for equipment, working capital, leasehold improvements, purchase of buildings or land, renovations, or debt refinancing.

Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC)

The WBDC Equity Grant Program regularly offers grants of between $2,500 and $10,000 to women-owned small businesses in Connecticut. A new round of grants will be opened in April 2021.

CDFIs

Community development financial institutions direct funding to economically distressed communities in an effort to support economic growth and opportunities. Programs often support initiatives such as affordable housing, energy efficiency improvements, and small business startups or expansions.

CDFIs that serve Connecticut include:

FEDERAL PROGRAMS

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development

A variety of loans, loan guarantees, and grants is available through USDA Rural Development’s business programs. These resources are often leveraged with other public and private sources of funding to meet business and credit needs in underserved areas.

Programs open to businesses include:

  • Value Added Producer Grants, which offer planning grants of up to $75,000 and working capital of up to $250,000 for agricultural producers to enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products. Online applications must be received by April 29, 2021, and paper applications must be postmarked by May 4, 2021.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA oversees several financing options for small businesses, including loans, surety bonds, investment, and disaster relief programs.

Loans

  • 7(a) loans: Provides up to $5 million to eligible businesses to be used for working capital, debt refinancing, or inventory
  • 504 loansOffers up to $5 million for larger purchases, including land or building purchases, construction of new buildings, long-term equipment and machinery purchases, or the improvement and modernization of existing facilities, land, and infrastructure
  • MicroloansUp to $50,000 that can be used for working capital, inventory, and equipment

Investors

The SBA licenses Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs), who invest in small businesses through debt and equity. The SBA matches investors’ funds at a 2-to-1 ratio, and maintains an SBIC directory for entrepreneurs to connect with investors.

Disaster assistance

Businesses in declared disaster areas that have can receive funds to help repair physical damages to a business or personal property and to mitigate lost revenue. A program is also available to help business owners with operating expenses to make up for employees on active duty leave.

Surety bonds

When a small business contracts with a client who requires that the project be properly bonded, the SBA can guarantee bonds for private surety companies to ensure that the businesses receive the work. The bonds help ensure full payment and full completion of the project.

COVID-19 relief

The SBA oversees the federal programs set up to assist businesses with revenue shortfalls incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:

  • The Paycheck Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to businesses that use at least 60 percent of the funds to maintain payrolls; deadline is May 31, 2021.
  • The COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, offering up to $500,000 to help businesses meet financial obligations and operating expenses; deadline is Dec. 31, 2021
  • The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program, providing grants of up to $10 million to qualifying arts and cultural entities, including live venues, performing arts organizations, movie theaters, museums, zoos, aquariums, and talent representatives

The SBA will also administer the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which will provide grants to restaurants and drinking establishments impacted by COVID-19.

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