City of Racine business financing information and assistance

Financing Your Business

One of the more challenging aspects of starting or expanding your business is access to capital.  This may be for building acquisition or renovation, purchasing inventory or for operating capital.  Although obtaining financing can feel daunting or impossible, there are numerous organizations that can assist you in identifying funding sources available through both the private and public sectors.  The following agencies have specialized programs to fit many needs.

Small Business Financing Solutions

The City of Racine and other critical partners have made capital available for low interest loans to finance real estate purchases, renovation and new construction, equipment, furniture and fixtures and, in some cases, working capital with flexible terms. Projects must create or retain jobs, and may be financed in partnership with primary lenders. The Racine County Economic Development Commission (RCEDC) and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) are two excellent resources to assist your business.

Key Contacts:

  • For gap financing contact Carolyn Engel at RCEDC: 262-898-7420
  • For micro-enterprises contact Heather Lux at WWBIC: 262-925-2840

HUD Section 108 Loans

The City of Racine has the ability to use our Community Development Block Grant allocation as collateral to garner federally guaranteed loans at a rate similar to municipal bonds for comprehensive community and economic development projects of substantial scale. This is the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s most potent and important tool to assist local governments with pursuing physical and economic revitalization projects capable of renewing entire neighborhoods.

Key Contact:

  • Matt Rejc Department of City Development: 262-636-9476

Brownfield Redevelopment Program

The City of Racine has a proven track record in facilitating the assessment and cleanup of environmentally impaired properties through securing state and federal resources for private-public partnerships that return land to productive use, and protect human health and the environment. We currently manage a Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in partnership with the RCEDC, and have been successful in securing cleanup and assessment grants.

Key Contact:

  • Jeff Towne Department of City Development: 262-636-9194

Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs)

IRBs can be used to stimulate capital investments and job creation by providing private borrowers with access to financing at interest rates that are lower than conventional bank loans. Financing can be used for building, equipment, land and bond issuance costs, but not for working capital.

Key Contact:

Center for Technology Commercialization

The Center for Technology Commercialization manages programs to assist small businesses in securing Federal research funding (Small Business Innovation Research) and business development Matching Grant programs (Ideadvance and SBIR Advance) on behalf of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Racine County Matching Grant Program

Up to $2,500 in matching grants are available to qualifying companies that are one of the following: manufacturers, woman-owned or ethnic minority-owned companies. The grant can fund the consultant costs for marketing and training.  Eligible companies must have less than 200 employees and sales less than $25 million.

Applications are available online here.

Key Contact:

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)

Loan Guarantee Programs

WHEDA loan guarantees help reduce financial risk and exposure to small business lenders and ensure that qualified Wisconsin small businesses have access to funding. Eligible uses of loan guarantees by small business owners include:

  • Purchasing or improving land and buildings
  • Purchasing inventory or machinery
  • Funding permanent or revolving working capital

WHEDA’s Small Business Guarantee (SBG) and Neighborhood Business Revitalization Guarantee (NBRG) help businesses expand and create and retain jobs in Wisconsin. Other guarantee programs include the Contractor Loan Guarantee (CLG), which provides businesses with opportunities to enter into contracts with eligible organizations and the Agribusiness Guarantee (AgBG), which helps small businesses that develop new products or expand the production of existing products using Wisconsin’s raw commodities.

WHEDA Participation Lending Program

The WHEDA Participation Lending Program (WPLP) pairs WHEDA with community lenders, banks, credit unions, community development financial institutions and other entities that provide commercial loans to Wisconsin businesses.  The program requires at least 50 percent participation from a participating lender with WHEDA’s participation, not to exceed $2 million.

WPLP can be used on a loan that is secured and where one or more financial institutions participate. Projects eligible for financing of land, plant or equipment include manufacturing, commercial real estate, national or regional headquarters facilities for the retail sale of goods and services and more.

WHEDA New Markets Tax Credit Program

The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program is a federal financing tool designed to fuel economic development efforts by promoting equity investment in low-income urban and rural communities. WHEDA awards NMTCs to enhance financing for larger projects in highly distressed areas throughout Wisconsin that have a demonstrable community impact. Businesses awarded NMTCs can obtain benefits including lower interest rates on loans, non-traditional financing not available in the marketplace, access to reduced cost of capital and more. Projects must be located in highly distressed census tracts, which are determined by factors such as poverty rates and percentage of median family income.

Key Contact:

The Water Council – “The BREW”

The BREW Accelerator unleashes innovation by funding water technology startups from around the world with commercialization potential. Teams selected for the application-based program receive up to $50,000 in investments in exchange for a small percentage of equity, office space in the Global Water Center and much more.

Key Contact:

FaBcap: Food and Beverage Industry Grants

The focus of FaBCAP is to assist and help food and beverage companies grow. FaB Wisconsin’s FaBcap Business Accelerator program helps selected companies with one-on-one mentoring and up to $10,000 in seed funding.

Key Contact:

Additional resources