Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Business and Economic Development

BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT


 

Small Business Loans:
The Recovery Act dedicates funds to ensure access to several loans through the Small Business Administration. Since the Recovery Act was signed, the Colorado SBA office has approved 654 7(a) and 504 loans worth $330 million. The loan programs are:

  • 504 loans: To help small businesses with fixed asset projects, including purchasing land and improvements, existing buildings, grading, street improvements, utilities, parking lots and landscaping; construction of new facilities or modernizing, renovating or converting existing facilities; purchasing long-term machinery and equipment. The SBA is directed to collect no fee or to reduce fees. These competitive grants will be available until Sept. 30, 2013.
  • 7 (a) Loan Guarantee Program: To help business owners operate, acquire or expand an existing business. Loan fees are also removed or reduced. Available until Sept. 30, 2012.
  • Business Stabilization Program: Competitive loans for small businesses that are having trouble paying their existing loans. These funds will stay available until Sept. 30, 2014.
  • Micro-loan Program: Small loans for start-up, newly established or growing small businesses. These loans will go through non-profit community based lenders to the borrowers. The average loan size is $13,000. Funds will remain available until Sept. 30, 2011.
  • ARC loans: viable small businesses can borrow up to $35,000 to make payments of principal and interest, on one or more existing, qualifying small business loans for up to 6 months. This includes credit card obligations, capital leases, bills to vendors/suppliers. This is designed to help businesses facing immediate financial hardship. The program was announced May 18, 2009. As of early October, 2009, the agency had approved 30 ARC loans worth $928,000. Contact: Lynette Newman, SBA, 303-844-2607 ext. 223; Bob Martin, 303-844-2607 ext. 212.

 

Surety Bond Guarantees:
The Small Business Administration is offering higher surety bonds for businesses to compete for construction and service contracts. Now, businesses can qualify for SBA-backed surety bonds of up to $5 million, which is more than double the previous $2 million maximum surety bond guaranteed by SBA. SBA guarantees bid, payment and performance bonds. Surety bonds protect the project owner against financial loss if contractors default or fail to perform. Contact: Lynette Newman, U.S. Small Business Administration, 303-844-2607 ext. 223; Bob Martin, 303-844-2607 ext. 212.

 

Bonds:
The Recovery Act created several new public-finance opportunities for government entities. These new bonds are substantially subsidized by the federal government and allow government agencies to access cheaper capital, in some cases at 0% interest. The bond sales finance projects, including building schools, creating renewable-energy projects, undertaking job and workforce training, and investing in public infrastructure. The State Treasurer worked with the Governor's Office and Legislature to pass important legislation related to bonds. The legislation allows cities, counties, school districts, special districts, and the state to take full advantage of these federally subsidized financing opportunities, which are only available until the end of 2010. As a result, many local government entities are issuing bonds and moving forward with capital projects.

 

Recovery Zone Bonds:
The Recovery Act dedicates $25 billion nationwide for economic zones designated by a local government as having high levels of poverty, unemployment, and foreclosures. Government issuers of these bonds may receive a 45 percent credit of interest payable on the bonds. All bonds must be issued by the end of 2010. Contact: Mary Wickersham, Colorado State Treasurer's Office, Mary.wickersham@state.co.us; 303-866-2442

 

Qualified School Construction Bonds:
The Recovery Act dedicates $22 billion for a new category of tax credit bonds for construction, rehabilitation or repair of public school facilities or for the purchase of land on which to build a public school. In the summer of 2009, the state saved an estimated $45 million during a bond sale that will pay for the construction of 4 schools in the San Luis Valley and create hundreds of jobs. In late September 2009, Denver Public Schools saved an estimated $3.69 million on the sale of bonds for school repairs and renovations. Contact: Mary Wickersham, Colorado State Treasurer's Office, 303-866-2442, Mary.wickersham@state.co.us

 

Build America Bonds:
Build America Bonds lower costs to public entities on financing because the federal government subsidizes 35% of the interest paid on the project. The program is one of several financing programs created by the Recovery Act to help government agencies move capital construction projects forward while saving hundreds of millions of dollars. As of mid October 2009, nine local agencies, including Denver Water, Jefferson County, Colorado Springs Utilities and the Pueblo Board of Water Works, issued bond sales for the construction of new facilities and improvements to existing facilities, saving a total of about $115 million. The projects to be funded with these bonds include the new state History Museum and Justice Complex in Denver, a new police facility and civic center in Parker and expansion of the Bus Rapid Transit system in Carbondale and Aspen. Contact: Mary Wickersham, 303-866-2442, Mary.wickersham@state.co.us, Colorado State Treasurer's Office

 

Energy Conservation Bonds:
These bonds would be used to finance work that reduces energy consumption in public buildings, implementing green community programs or promoting rural renewable energy production. Colorado may issue $102 million with zero interest financing. The Governor's Energy Office allocates the funds to large counties and municipalities. Contact: Mary Wickersham, 303-866-2442, Mary.wickersham@state.co.us, Colorado State Treasurer's Office


Renewable Energy Bonds:
The U.S. Department of Energy is distributing $2.4 billion through a competitive process to producers of renewable energy. Federal guidelines are pending.

 

National Endowment for the Arts:
The National Endowment for the Arts is distributing $50 million in competitive grants to organizations that promote arts and culture across the nation. Some of those funds will go directly from NEA to local arts organizations and non-profit groups. In early September 2009, the Colorado Council on the Arts (CCA), the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs (DOCA), and the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) announced that 47 Colorado non-profit arts organizations will receive $568,040 to preserve or restore 313 salaried and contract positions. An additional $740,000 has been awarded to four Colorado non-profits and the CCA for projects that focus on job preservation in the arts. Contact: Elaine Mariner, Director of Colorado Council on the Arts, 303-892-3840, Elaine.mariner@state.co.us


Rural Business Programs:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development office is distributing loans and grants totaling more than $3 trillion to save and create jobs in rural areas. The programs include:

  • Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan – provides incentives for business lending in rural communities. In January 2010, the USDA awarded two loan guarantees: a $796,000 loan to a business group in Crestone for the construction of two new commercial buildings and a $632,000 loan to the Dance of the Rockies studio in Durango to purchase property.
  • Rural Business Enterprise Grant – facilitates the development of small and emerging rural businesses, helps fund distance learning networks, and helps fund employment-related training programs.
  • Farm Direct Operating Loan Program -- assists eligible family farmers and ranchers in building and sustaining successful farm operations
    Contact: www.rurdev.usda.gov

 

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers:
USDA will provide $202.5 million nationally in technical assistance and cash payments to assist qualified farmers and fishermen, adversely affected by imports, in adjusting their business operations to either be more competitive with imported products or to switch to production of commodities that could be more profitable. Cash payments of up to $4,000 after the completion of an approved business plan, and up to $8,000 for the implementation of an approved long-term business plan, will be paid to participants through the Farm Service Agency (FSA).


Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms:
The U.S. Department of Commerce has designated $50 million nationwide to help companies that have been hurt by jobs going overseas to make them more competitive. These are competitive grants.


Trade Adjustment Assistance Sector Partnership Grants:
The U.S. Department of Labor has $40 million nationwide for competitive grants to facilitate partnerships between industry, state and local governments, companies, labor groups and educational institutions to boost industries in the area. These are discretionary grants. Contact: Gary Estenson, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, gary.estenson@state.co.us; Kelly Brown, Kelly.brown@state.co.us; 303-318-8035


Recovery Zone/Economic Development Assistance:
The U.S. Department of Commerce is distributing $150 in competitive grants to state and local governments and non-profit groups in areas that experience sudden and severe economic dislocation and job loss due to corporate restructuring.