Business Incentives - Cuyahoga County

Economic Development Loan Fund

The Economic Development Loan Fund provides businesses with financial assistance to support the retention and creation of jobs for County residents. The fund provides long term, fixed-rate financing at interest rates lower than conventional financing. Interest rate is typically four and a quarter percent (4.25%). The fund is intended to fill a financing gap beyond the amount of private participation and equity investment that can be raised. Loans generally range from a minimum of $35,000 to a maximum of $350,000, up to forty percent (40.00%) of total project cost. Loan terms are up to seven (7) years on equipment and up to fifteen (15) years on land and building. Loans can be used to finance the acquisition of land, buildings, machinery and equipment as well as for new construction, renovation, expansion and/or conversion of facilities. Loans cannot be used to refinance debt, purchase inventory, pay other non-capital costs or on speculative projects. The County will take a subordinated collateral position provided there is adequate collateral available as security, up to a ninety percent (90.00%) loan to value ratio.

Grow Cuyahoga County

On March 2, 2006, the Board of County Commissioners launched The Grow Cuyahoga County Fund, a regional economic development fund operated in conjunction with the National Development Council, which is a licensed SBA 7(a) lender. The National Development Council (NDC) is one of the nation’s oldest non-profit organizations for community and economic development. Through its Grow America Fund subsidiary, NDC provides SBA-guaranteed 7(a) loans to small businesses in partnership with client communities throughout the country. For more information about the SBA 7(a) Loan Program go to: http://www.sba.gov/financing/sbaloan/7a.html

Currently, The Grow Cuyahoga County Fund has received funding from the BOCC and the Cuyahoga County Community Improvement Corporation (CCCIC). Other funding partners are being contacted including the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the City of Cleveland, the Port Authority and foundations. Every local dollar is expected to leverage four additional dollars through the National Development Council’s Community Development Bank.

The Grow Cuyahoga County Fund can make loans ranging from $100,000 to $1 million. The loans will generally be at rates of prime minus 2% to prime plus 2%, for terms up to 25 years depending on the proposed use of funds. Loan proceeds may be used for any legitimate business purpose, including working capital, machinery and equipment, acquisition of land and building, construction, renovations and tenant improvements. The Grow Cuyahoga County Fund does not provide venture capital and cannot provide funds for research and development or to satisfy equity or near-equity needs. The program provides economic development incentives that are not currently available in the community including working capital financing and the financing for retail and restaurants.

Made in Cuyahoga County (M.A.D.E.)

The M.A.D.E. in Cuyahoga County Program provides manufacturing businesses with financial assistance to support the retention and creation of jobs for County residents. The fund provides long term, fixed-rate financing at interest rates lower than conventional financing. Interest rate is currently two percent (2.00%). The fund is intended to fill a financing gap beyond the amount of private participation and equity investment that can be raised. Loans generally range from a minimum of $35,000 to a maximum of $200,000, up to forty percent (40.00%) of total project cost. Loan terms are typically seven (7) years on equipment and up to fifteen (15) years on land and building. Loans can be used to finance the acquisition of land, buildings, machinery and equipment as well as for new construction, renovation, expansion and/or conversion of facilities. Loans cannot be used to refinance debt, purchase inventory, pay other non-capital costs or on speculative projects. The County will take a subordinated collateral position provided there is adequate collateral available as security, up to a ninety percent (90.00%) loan to value ratio.

Requirements for the M.A.D.E. Program

  • $150 nonrefundable application fee, plus a loan fee equal to .5% of County loan amount.
  • For-profit manufacturing or industrial businesses that expand in or move to the County qualify for consideration, if registered to do business in Ohio.
  • Businesses are required to create one new, full time, permanent job for every $35,000 loaned within three years of loan closing.
  • Businesses must provide a minimum of ten percent (10.00%) equity. The business owner or majority stockholder must provide a personal guarantee for the loan amount.
  • A majority or fifty-one percent (51.00%) of the jobs created must be made available to low and moderate income persons as defined by the federal government.
  • The business must execute Workforce Cooperation Agreement with the County that designates as first source of referral for mutually agreed positions at the company.
  • Business must demonstrate the ability to repay the loan as well as have adequate collateral and acceptable credit.
  • When loan funds are used for construction, federal prevailing wage rates must be paid and a departmental environmental review must be conducted.
  • The business owner or majority stockholder must provide a personal guaranty in the amount of the loan. Additionally, key man insurance and hazard of business insurance is required in the amount of the loan with Cuyahoga County Board of County Commissioners as the loss payee.

North Coast Opportunities Technology Fund Pilot Program

The North Coast Opportunities Technology Fund Pilot Program has been developed by the Cuyahoga County Department of Development in connection with the Cuyahoga Next Advisor Task Force and in collaboration with JumpStart TechLift Advisors (www.jumpstartinc.org).  The new NCO Tech Fund will help capitalize and support earlystage, high potential/ high growth technology companies in Cuyahoga County.

The NCO Tech Fund program targets technology companies that are excellent candidates for future venture capital investment and possess high growth job creation potential. Approved companies will receive a payment-deferred, low interest loan to complete a specific initiative or project that is expected to make the company significantly more attractive to pre-seed investors. Evaluation and selection will be performed by the County in collaboration with the State of Ohio funded TechLift entrepreneurial signature program. Funding rounds will occur on a bi-monthly basis.

NCO Technology Fund Loans

  • Loans can be for $25K- $125K, with typical loans in the $50-75K range.
  • Interest rate of 5%
    • Payments deferred for five years or until:
      • Significant financing event (greater than $1.5 million)
      • Sale of company or company assets
      • Failure to comply with terms of agreement (i.e. leaving Cuyahoga County).
  • Loan proceeds must be used for a specific project or initiative that will bring the company closer to achieving pre-seed funding.
  • Loan is secured by the personal property and assets of company.

Eligibility

  • Must be a high growth, technology company that is judged by the selection committee to have excellent prospects for raising venture capital in the future.
  • Must be located in or planning to move to Cuyahoga County.
  • Must be a Jumpstart TechLift Advisors registered and supported company, and sponsored by the appropriate Jumpstart TechLift Advisors  Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) - visit www.jumpstartinc.org  to register.
  • Must present a credible project or initiative, which will make the company much more attractive to pre-seed investors.

Application

  • Submit the NCO Technology Fund Application.
  • Including a brief (2 page) description of the specific project that funding is being sought and illustrate how the project will bring the company closer to venture or seed stage funding, and a summary business plan or company presentation.
  • Work closely with the appropriate JumpStart TechLift Advisors EIR so that he/she understands and gives input on the project and business plan.
  • The Selection Committee will review applications and project descriptions, rank ordering companies with the highest potential for attracting future venture capital investment. Selected companies will be invited to provide a short presentation to the Selection Committee about the proposed project.
    The Selection Committee will consist of the JumpStart TechLift Advisors Director and EIRs, the MAGNET Incubator Director and Entrepreneurial  Expert, and a Cuyahoga County representative.
  • Recommendations will be submitted to Board of County Commissioners for final approval.
  • The County will draft loan documents based on the selected and approved project description – the description must identify project milestones.
    The project description and milestones will be the basis for the loan budget detail, identifying the project scope of services and allowable costs.

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