Updated in October 2019, the Business Finance Loan Program has been modified to meet the changing needs of not just established but also newer small and mid-sized businesses. The program now features more flexible terms, including smaller loan amounts, lower interest rates and lower matching requirements.
The revamped program is designed to assist entrepreneurs, especially those who have difficulty meeting the terms of a traditional bank, get the capital they need to grow their business in the City of San Diego or the City of Chula Vista.
Nomad Donuts, above, used the Business Finance Loan Program to expand its business in North Park.
- Microloans, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, are now available.
- Startups with at least a six-month operating history in a supportive business environment (e.g., incubator, accelerator, business development program, etc.) can now apply for funding.
- Standard loans for established businesses now range from $50,000 - $500,000.
- Interest rates range from 4% to 10%, rather than having an 8% floor.
- Flexible matching requirements are offered, eliminating the fixed 1:1 or 2:1 terms.
- More versatile repayment terms are available, depending on the size and purpose of the loan.
- Business must operate in the City of San Diego or the City of Chula Vista.
- The loan must be used to create or retain employment opportunities in the City of San Diego or the City of Chula Vista.
- The business owner must have proof of being unable to obtain any or all project financing from a traditional lender.
- The business owner must demonstrate credit worthiness and the ability to repay the loan.
- Startups interested in applying for a loan must have at least a six-month operating history in a supportive business environment (e.g., incubator, accelerator, business development program, etc.)
Eligible Uses of Loan Funds
- Working capital and soft costs
- Acquisition of fixed machinery and equipment (AleSmith, above right, used the Business Finance Loan Program to expand its breweries in the City of San Diego.)
- Supplement private financing for the acquisition of new or rehabilitated buildings
Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF)
To ensure the resiliency of local businesses and assist in job retention, the City of San Diego established a Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF) to provide grants and forgivable or low- to zero-interest-rate loans for working capital to eligible small businesses impacted by federal, California, San Diego County and local emergency declarations regarding COVID-19. One of the funding sources for the SBRF is the revolving loan fund that also supports this Business Finance Loan Program. The City has received more than 10,000 applications to the Small Business Relief Fund, in excess of the funds available, and therefore applications are not being accepted for now for this Business Finance Loan Program or the SBRF.
For other resources, please see the San Diego Impact Lending Matrix for partner programs and Additional Economic Resources for businesses affected by COVID-19.
Due to the overwhelming demand, new applications are not currently being accepted for the Business Finance Loan Program.
The Loan Applicant Screening Tool allows business owners to determine if they are eligible to apply.
If eligible to apply, once a completed loan application is submitted, then the following steps occur generally over 90 days:
- Loan officer site visit
- Initial overview presentation to advisory-board representatives
- Completion of financial due diligence
- Completion of full credit memorandum
- Final presentation of applicant's request to advisory board representatives
- Applicant receives commitment letter
- Funding of initial disbursement 30 days following City's receipt of signed commitment letter and all required submissions