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Business Loans, Services and Grants

The City of Rochester and its partners offer business development assistance 

The City of Rochester and its partners in job creation and retention support businesses through several programs.

Business Assistance Programs

Learn about the low-interest loan and grant opportunities available for purchasing equipment, materials, supplies, or to purchase, build or renovate property. Whatever your business needs, we are certain to have a program or resource to assist it. 

The City offers the following programs to assist businesses which are creating new investments, and creating jobs for City residents. The business must be located within the City in a commercial building or relocate 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 which create new jobs. Eligible projects include the purchase of machinery/equipment, eligible working capital expenses (i.e. inventory, payroll, utilities and insurance etc.) and building renovations. Funding amounts are determined on a project-by- project basis, subject to the availability of funding and economic development benefits associated with the project (i.e. jobs created and retained, positions filled by city residents, total investment, and/or providing essential goods and services to low-to-moderate income neighborhoods). Loans will generally not exceed $250,000. Interest rates are fixed at 3% (subject to change depending on market conditions). Acceptable collateral is required for all loans.  Loan terms are typically 5 years for machinery /equipment and working capital, and 10 years for real estate. All loans must be secured and personally guaranteed by all owners having 20% or greater ownership interest in the business.  The City of Rochester’s Business Development Division is a gap funding source and does not fund 100% of project costs. Equity investment by business owners is required. 

All funding requests are subject to the City of Rochester underwriting review and approval processes.  Funding requests cannot be processed unless a complete application is received. 

Please contact the City of Rochester’s Business Development Division to learn more about how to apply at 585-428-6912.

Neighborhood Commercial Assistance Program 

Provides small business grants for eligible retail and neighborhood service businesses which need capital for items such as advertising, furniture/fixtures/equipment, exterior signage, computers, architectural services, and security equipment (alarm systems, exterior lighting, security cameras). Start-up/New businesses (in business for up to 12 months) are eligible for up to $5,000. Existing businesses (in business for 12 months or more) 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.  

Request for 90-day Loan Payment Deferral 

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

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 that require capital for growth. Loans are partially crowd-funded utilizing KIVA’s online platform. Borrowers can receive loans from $1,000 to $15,000 for eligible business expenses such as the purchase of tools, equipment, office equipment, and working capital. Applications can be made online.

Learn more


Submit a request for assistance

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