URA has resources for small businesses in South Pittsburgh
November 6, 2018
The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) held a “stop in and talk” event at the South Side Chamber of Commerce’s Welcome Center on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 30.
At least half a dozen URA CIE staff representatives attended and visited businesses along East Carson Street to let them know about the URA’s financing programs and resources for existing and new businesses.
The URA CIE offers programs for businesses and entrepreneurs, developers, homeowners, and partnerships, including minority and women-owned small businesses, that provide access to capital through loan programs. They offer a variety of financing products for commercial real estate development and small- and medium-sized business development. These are gap financing products that work in conjunction with private equity and private debt to help businesses close needed financing for business growth and expansion.
The CIE programs include:
The Micro-Enterprise Loan provides financing for startup and small businesses that need capital to launch or grow a business. This program provides loans of up to $20,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, and leasehold improvements.
The Pittsburgh Business Growth Fund provides financing for small- and medium-sized businesses for working capital, equipment, and leasehold improvements.
The Pittsburgh Entrepreneur Fund provides financing for new and growing emerging technology-based firms, including Technology, Life Sciences, Sustainable/Green and other emerging industry clusters for working capital, laboratory, computer and scientific equipment, leasehold improvements, real estate and investments to lower energy usage.
The Business Energy Savings Program provides an incentive to help small- or medium-sized businesses become more energy-efficient. Under this program, businesses may receive a $400 grant toward an Energy Audit of business and low-interest financing up to $50,000. This will also lower utility bills and save money.
The Urban Development Fund provides gap financing for the acquisition of land and/or buildings, construction and/or rehabilitation, and soft costs related to development.
The New Markets Tax Credit Loan Fund is designed to stimulate the growth of new and existing businesses in the City of Pittsburgh. It utilizes new markets tax credits through Pittsburgh urban initiatives which target manufacturing, distribution, and technology- and innovation-based, high job growth potential companies.
Typically, URA products are funded by Revolving Loan Fund programs that were initially seeded by Federal Community Development Block Grants or funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. With these funds, the CIE may re-lend its limited dollars several times to many different borrowers.
The URA also offers several façade improvement programs designed for commercial building owners and tenants to improve their storefronts.
For any of the URA programs, the length of the application process depends on the project. However, the CIE works as quickly as the borrower and private lender are able to package, underwrite and close the financing. Typically, the process will take 30-90 days.
Detailed summaries and guidelines for these programs are provided online at http://www.ura.org. To apply for any of these URA CIE loan products, it is best to start the application process by contacting a CIE loan officer at 412-255-6669.
The URA reported that from 2014-2016, the URA CIE funded 69 URA loans to businesses and made $10,376,286 in URA investments which resulted in $51,821,116 in total project costs and created and retained 559 jobs.