Business Grants and Loans in New York: Funding for Your New York Business

Let’s not beat around the bush: iconic New York can be a tough place to run a business. High taxes and costs are enough to scare off many entrepreneurs. That being said … there’s no place quite like New York. If you’re draw to this state and you’re looking to start a business (o you already own an N.Y.-based biz), look no further. The comprehensive list of business loans and grants below are available only to those who operate businesses within the Empire state. Peruse through these funding options to discover if your business is eligible. Start now. 

Department or Agency: Empire State Development

Loan or Grant title: Global NY Fund Grant Program

The Global NY Fund Grant Program provides grants of up to $25,000 for profit-making businesses and up to $100,000 for nonprofits. Grant recipients can use the money for product adaptations to meet foreign regulations, export workshops, trade show participation, and market customization. To qualify, companies must be located in New York state, have 500 or fewer employees, work in direct exports, and meet other requirements. 

Department or Agency: New York Foundation

Loan or Grant title: New York Foundation Grant

This program provides businesses with $47,500 per year, for up to three or five years. Eligible organizations are ones that use community organizing and grassroots advocacy to address oppression. Your business will need to be a New York City-based nonprofit (or sponsored by a nonprofit).

Department or Agency: Regional Development Corporation (RDC), the lending arm of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency

Loan or Grant title: RDC Loan Program

The RDC provides loans ranging from $50,000 to $2 million for businesses operating in Erie County. Recipients can use the loan funds for:

  • Working capital
  • Purchasing equipment and machinery
  • Buying property
  • Pollution control improvements

Department or Agency: Job Development Authority

Loan or Grant title: Job Development Authority (JDA) Direct Loan Program

This program provides loans for New York-based businesses looking to buy, build, or renovate buildings, and to purchase machinery and equipment. The loan can finance between 40% and 60% of the cost of a construction project or machinery purchase. 

Department or Agency: Empire State Development

Loan or Grant title: Metropolitan Economic Revitalization Fund (MERF)

MERF provides loans of up to $5 million or 10% of the cost of any project related to machinery and equipment purchases, land and building improvements, and construction and renovations. Your business may be eligible if it helps create and retain private-sector jobs in lower-income areas of New York.

Department or Agency: New York City Economic Development Corporation

Loan or Grant title: NYC Capital Access Loan Guaranty Program

This program guarantees up to 40% of loans for participating lenders. Recipients can use the money for working capital, equipment purchases, or leasehold improvements. To qualify, businesses must be based in New York City and have 100 or fewer employees. Businesses (or owners) must additionally fall into one of these categories:

  • Nonprofit
  • Contractor
  • Retailer
  • Manufacturer
  • Wholesaler
  • Distributor

Department or Agency: NYC Department of Small Business Services

Loan or Grant title: Contract Licensing Loan Fund

Businesses doing contract work in New York City may be eligible for a low-interest loan for up to $1 million. To be eligible, you must have an operating business that’s applying for financing as a prime contractor or subcontractor to use toward a project with an NYC-affiliated agency or NYC-funded entity.  

Department or Agency: New York State Council on the Arts

Loan or grant title: New York State Council on the Arts Support for Artists

This fund provides grants of up to $10,000 to artists who are creating new work through a sponsoring organization. New York state-based artists who work in the following media are eligible:

  • Choreography
  • Composition
  • Film, media, and new technology
  • Folk and traditional arts 
  • Interdisciplinary Literature 
  • Theater commissions
  • Visual arts

Department or Agency: Empire State Development

Loan or grant title: Strategic Planning and Feasibility Studies Program

Businesses can apply for working capital grants of up to $100,000 for 1) strategic development plans for a city, county, or municipality within the state and 2) feasibility studies to plan new facilities. Projects should focus on economic development, and preference will be granted to projects located in highly distressed communities. 

Department or Agency: The Awesome Foundation, Buffalo chapter

Loan or grant title: $1,000 cash prize 

This quirky organization gives cash prizes of $1,000 to individuals or small groups who are doing “weird, wonderful, and timely projects” geared toward making Buffalo and New York City more awesome. You’ll need to fill out an application and explain your idea and how the cash will be used.

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