Last week the Small Business Administration announced special financing to small business entrepreneurs who go green using the SBA 504 loan program. For many borrowers the maximum amount changed from $1.5 million to $4 million (for an overall project of up to $9 million) if the project helps construct, purchase, or retrofit facilities to include energy saving technologies (a 10% reduction in consumption is required for retrofits). Generating alternative sources of power or working towards LEED certification are also new criteria for funding beyond the $1.5 million maximum for meeting the job creation criteria or a community development goal. While it may sound crazy to think about starting a business during a recession, that is exactly what some laid-off and unemployed workers have opted to do. Leaving a cushy corporate job to follow your dreams was a lot more difficult back when it seemed like getting fired or laid off was a remote possibility, but the recession has changed the climate—it may be just as risky to stay in a big firm as it is to try to strike out on your own. There are some benefits to starting a business during a recession, and some very recognizable giants of industry were formed during recessions. With the additional funds now available for small, green businesses, this may be the perfect opportunity to turn layoff lemons into green lemonade (or would that be limeade?) by starting a green business. The benefits don’t stop there; for example, Seattle City Light offers a host of services for businesses looking to conserve energy and resources, including incentives for up to 70% of installation costs of energy efficiency investments. While the sinking values of real estate are trouble for homeowners, it also means good news for those looking to invest in new property. Considering Brownfields for redevelopment might also expand opportunities for incentives and credits from starting a new green business. The best part—ECOSS is your free first stop for green business information. Connecting business owners to existing resources in their communities and providing technical assistance is the central focus of our For Business team, so contact us today.

-Audrey Chestnutt

ECOSS Earth News
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