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City of San Diego loan, tax-saving programs give small businesses economic boost

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Local startup and expanding businesses, particularly in South County, can get a financial shot in the arm with four loan and tax-saving programs available through the city of San Diego.

The loan programs provide assistance to small businesses for new construction, rehabilitation, equipment purchases and working capital. Each program is designed to improve economically distressed areas, increase the number of businesses and, consequently, create new jobs and raise incomes.

The $500,000 Metro Regional Revolving Loan Fund offers loans ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 to businesses located in targeted areas of the city of San Diego. Business owners have three to seven years to pay back the loan.

National City, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and San Diego matched a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to create the Regional Revolving Loan Fund. Small businesses located in designated economically distressed areas of the four cities contributing to the fund can qualify for loans from $150,000 to $750,000. Payback terms are three to seven years.

The South County Economic Development Council (SCEDC) is collaborating with the city of San Diego to stimulate interest in the award-winning Storefront Improvement Program (SIP). Established in 1986, the program provides small businesses with rebates up to $5,000 to assist with eligible storefront renovation costs. The SIP has been instrumental in helping improve more than 300 building facades in older commercial areas. By providing rebates and architectural design assistance, this public-private partnership has leveraged more than $3.5 million in private investment to rejuvenate neighborhood commercial districts.

Businesses can receive significant tax savings by increasing investment in operations within the South Bay Enterprise Zone and the Metropolitan Enterprise Zone. These are areas created by the state of California to stimulate business investments in economically distressed areas and increase job opportunities. Participating businesses can benefit from sales tax credits, hiring credits, accelerated depreciation deductions. Lenders can receive a deduction on the net interest earned from loans made to enterprise zone businesses.

Investments totaling $463 million have been made within the two regional enterprise zones. The South Bay Enterprise Zone was recently expanded into the cities of Chula Vista and National City.

For more information on these programs call the city of San Diego's Community and Economic Development Department at (619) 533-4233 or the South County Economic Development Council at (619) 424-5143.

Submitted by the South County Economic Development Council and the City of San Diego

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