Chances are you heard about economic incentives in the context of a big business deal such as Amazon’s search for their HQ2. But as a small to medium-sized business owner, you too have access to the same programs!With the right resources and a bit of due diligence, you can find and apply for economic incentives at the municipal, state, and federal levels.
What Type of Economic Incentives Can I Receive?
Economic incentives come in many different types, including:
- Financing via low-interest loans;
- Loan guarantees;
- Cash reimbursements for training employees:
- Tax credits/deductions;
- Tax abatements;
- Utility rate discounts;
- And more!
You can also take advantage of incentives designed to specifically benefit your industry. As you begin research, take your industry and how it impacts your regional economy into consideration; it could make a big difference in the types of incentives you receive.
Turn to the Small Business Administration
The SBA is a great resource for businesses looking for federal grants and loan programs. SBA.gov maintains a list of funding options and also has a wide array of business resources for SMBs. They also have a Local Resource tab that can help you find regional and district offices working under the auspices of this federal administration.
Your State’s Office of Business Development
Your state Office of Business Development or Department of Economic Development is there for a reason-- to help businesses just like yours. Run a google search for your state’s version of these departments. A good starting place can be your state’s .gov site, as well, which will doubtless have a tab or link dedicated to their business services.
Your City’s/County’s Office of Business or Economic Development
Depending on its size, your town or city may run an office of business development or department of economic development. Counties, too, often have departments such as these that you can leverage for information and resources. Again, start by running a search online using your local city or county’s name with a term such as “office of business development.” These sites can be treasure troves for small businesses. In the least, you will find a number of business resources in addition to financing and grant options, including mentoring, tutorials, and information on local business development centers.
America’s Small Business Development Center
The SBDC is the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the United States and its territories. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners, and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. There are nearly 1,000 local centers available to provide no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses. Find your SBDC: https://americassbdc.org/find-your-sbdc/
Research Minority-Driven Funding and Grants
If you are a women or minority-owned business, you should take the time to research grants and loan programs that focus on aiding these types of businesses. More and more funding around the country is funneling toward women and minority-owned businesses, as diversity has proven to be productive and lucrative for enterprises.
Turn to Consultants
While the teams of tax attorneys and consultants employed by the Amazons of the world are beyond the means of the average small to medium-sized business, you do have options as an SMB owner. There are many smaller firms that specialize in specific credits and incentives like the Research and Development Tax Credit, Employee Retention Credit, and Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
The Application Process
As you begin the application process, make sure to track and document your progress carefully. Many businesses have failed to receive incentive dollars because of a small slip-up or forgotten detail in the application process. You can turn to the bureaucrats at your regional or state business office for advice, and leverage their websites as well. Consultants can help keep you on track, too, especially if you choose to apply for multiple programs at once.
We’ve Written a Book to Help Companies Like Yours
With decades of experience in economic incentives, we’ve compiled our knowledge and drafted the most comprehensive book out there on these government programs. With this insider’s guide to economic incentives, you’ll learn everything you need to know to find, apply for, and capture incentive dollars for your growing business.