Business Loans, Services and Grants

 17 NBD Grants 960x260 FALL  

Coronavirus Response Update: The City’s Department of Neighborhood and Business Development issued the following customer-service procedures during the COVID-19 outbreak. 


Coronavirus Response Update: Supporting  Businesses  

City of Rochester and Partners Offer Business Development Assistance During Coronavirus Crisis

The City of Rochester and its partners in job creation and retention are supporting business that are experiencing hardships due to the coronavirus outbreak with these programs:

Business Emergency Retention Grant Program

As of January 19, 2021, the Business Emergency Retention Grant Program is full and is no longer accepting applications.    

The Business Emergency Retention Grant Program provides $8,000 (Eight Thousand Dollars) total per business to help mitigate revenue shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funds may be utilized towards unpaid working capital uses that will assist in continuing business operations and retaining employees. The following unpaid expenses would be eligible: Rent, insurance, utility expenses, inventory and payroll to continue operations. Applicants will be required to submit the unpaid bills which grant funds will be utilized to pay.  

Businesses who have received prior assistance are eligible to receive the difference in grant funding to reach a total grant of up to $8,000 (Eight Thousand Dollars).  Businesses must be located in the city of Rochester and operating within a commercial facility. Businesses must be operating prior to January 1, 2020. If a business has already received grant funding from this program, any new amount received would be included towards the maximum grant amount. 

Online Resources Delivering Excellent Results (ORDER) Grant Program  (At full capacity)

The new Online Resources Delivering Excellent Results Grant (ORDER), provides grant assistance to businesses who are interested in establishing and/or upgrading web based ordering, payment and delivery systems. These online tools can help to sustain businesses during the pandemic with customer friendly operations that limit physical contact and increase revenue.

Eligible businesses can qualify for a grant award of up to $5,000 (Five Thousand Dollars). Applicants must be for-profit businesses located within the city of Rochester and operating in a commercial facility. Eligible funding can be towards the design and setting up of web based applications to assist with ordering, payment and delivery of the businesses products and services. Businesses applying are required to submit with the application, any unpaid quotes for establishing related online tools to assist customers with the above mentioned items (eligible items cannot be purchased prior to receiving City approval and an executed agreement with the City of Rochester).  

Request for 90 Day Loan Deferral

Businesses that have current loans with the City of Rochester may request a 90-day deferral of loan payments. 

KIVA Rochester Expands Loan Access to Aid Small Businesses

The Kiva Rochester crowd funding program has expanded its access to interest-free loans to help local small businesses weather the economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak. Kiva has increased the maximum loan amount to 15,000 (from $10,000); waived certain financial requirements to expand eligibility; and instituted a new six-month grace period on the first loan repayment. Learn how to apply for a Kiva loan at

U.S. Small Business Administration Loans

 the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses impacted by COVID-19 crisis. Loans are up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue.

The SBA is also offering an Express Bridge Loan authorizing SBA Express Lenders to provide small businesses with in expedited SBA-guaranteed bridge loans of up to $25,000 to  while those small businesses apply for and await long-term financing. More information can be found on the SBA's Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources webpage>>

Monroe County Emergency Small Business Support Program

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, Monroe County has established a 0 percent interest loan of up to $10,000 to support small businesses (50 or fewer full-time or full-time equivalent employees) impacted by the pandemic. More information can be found on the Monroe County economic development webpage>>


Business Assistance Programs

Learn about the many low-interest loan and grant opportunities available for the purchase of equipment, materials, supplies and more, or to purchase, build or renovate property. Whatever your business need, we are certain to have a program to fill it. 

The City offers the following programs to assist businesses which are creating new investment and creating jobs for City residents. The business must be located within the City or re-locating within the City. Home-based and non-profit businesses are ineligible.   

Business Development Financial Assistance Program

Provides low-interest loans and grants for expansion projects. Eligible projects include purchase of machinery/equipment, acquisition, construction and/or renovation of real estate, and working capital. Loans will generally not exceed $250,000. Interest rates are fixed at either 1% or 3% depending on collateral provided. Loan terms are typically 5 years for machinery/equipment/working capital and 10 years for real estate. All loans must be secured and personally guaranteed by owners of 20% or more of the business.    

Neighborhood Commercial Assistance Program 

Provides small business matching grants for eligible retail and neighborhood service businesses which need capital for items such as furniture/fixtures/equipment, exterior signage, advertising, computers, architectural services, and security equipment (alarm systems, exterior lighting, security cameras). New businesses (in business for up to 12 months) are eligible for up to $5,000. Existing businesses (in business for more than 12 months) are eligible for up to $8,000. All grants are reimbursement grants which requires reimbursement after the business expenditure has been made. Appropriate cost documentation is required.  

Kiva Rochester Crowdfunded Microloan Program

Kiva's mission is to provide capital for entrepreneurs who may have difficulty securing loans from traditional lending institutions. The program, involving a partnership with KIVA and the City, provides 0% interest/ no fee/36-month microloans to small businesses which may be startup or early stage businesses which require capital for growth. Loans are partially crowd-funded utilizing KIVA’s online platform. Borrowers can receive loans from $1,000 to $10,000 for eligible business expenses such as purchase of tools, equipment, office equipment, and working capital. Applications can be made online and paperwork requirements are minimal. Learn more at >>.

Rochester Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) Revolving Loan Fund

Provides financial assistance to new or expanding city businesses to stimulate private sector job retention and/or creation, investment within the city of Rochester and increases in the City's tax base. Eligible projects include furniture, fixture and equipment purchases, machinery acquisition, working capital and the acquisition, construction and/or renovation of real estate. Available assistance includes low interest loans up to $250,000 and interest rate subsidy grants. Interest rates are between 1 percent and 3  percent, with terms between 5 and 10 years. Learn more at >>

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 Loan Program

The SBA 504 Loan Program is provided by Rochester Economic Development Corporation and provides long-term, fixed rate financing for the acquisition of machinery/equipment or acquisition/redevelopment of business real estate including land and buildings. SBA 504 loan projects are structured with a bank loan for 50% of the project cost secured with a first lien on the asset(s) acquired, and an SBA direct loan for 40% of the project cost secured with a second lien on the asset(s) acquired. A minimum 10% equity is required from the borrower. New businesses (in business less than 24 months) are required to invest 15% equity with the SBA 504 loan reduced to 35%. Equipment SBA 504 loans have a 10-year term and a 10-year fixed rate. Real estate loans have a 20-year term and a 20-year fixed rate. All owners of 20% or more of the business are required to personally guarantee the SBA 504 loan. Learn more>>

Brownfield Assistance

The objective of the Brownfields Assistance Program (BAP) is to attract businesses, developers, and investors who can develop and reuse underutilized land, while contributing to the City’s economic health. Learn more about  Brownfield Assistance>>.


Let the City of Rochester help you navigate the programs and find the best fit for your situation.

Please submit an online request for assistance/information, or feel free to contact our office in person or via phone.

Online Request for Assistance Form 

Department of Neighborhood and Business Development
30 Church Street, Room 005A
Rochester, NY 14614