Business Assistance

Loans & Programs

Private Business Development Loans

Previously within the Washington Investment Fund (WIF), there was a Microloan Program, and a Business Development Loan Program. The Washington Economic Vitality Plan update in 2004 re-organized these two loans into a single business lending program called the Private Business Development Loan. The merging of the two plans was completed in spring 2006.

The goal of the Business Development Loan Program is to stimulate job creation, business and job retention, and increase income in the Scenic Area by providing lending capital for business development and expansion.

Eligible Activities

  • Fixed-asset financing
  • Working capital
  • Facility development
  • Debt restructuring (if part of an overall expansion or retention plan)

Requirements

  • The business project is located within the Washington state National Scenic Area boundaries
  • The business project will result in job creation or retention
  • The project leverages the maximum possible private capital from private financial institutions
  • The project costs are firm and any real estate is under control of the business with appropriate permits available without significant contingency
  • The project will not result in a relocation of jobs from one gorge community to another
  • The business has demonstrated ability to manage the project and generate sufficient income to meet all obligations including repayment of the program financing
  • The business is willing to make available all reasonable collateral and guarantees to secure the financing
  • The business is able to secure all necessary permits prior to release of financing through the program
  • The business agrees to comply with all applicable state and federal regulation

Loan Amount Limits

  • Minimum: $10,000
  • Maximum: $75,000

* The Washington Investment Board reserves the right to consider larger loans if the fund permits and the project merit a larger amount.

Loan Terms

  • Interest rates and any loan fees will be set at the time of loan approval
  • Interest payments may be deferred, based on the applicant’s justification of need
  • Repayment terms are also negotiable based on use of funds and the borrower's ability to repay, but in no case will maturities exceed 20 years
  • Typically, terms will be 3 to 5 years for working capital; up to 10 years for equipment and 15-20 years for real estate
  • Loans with repayment terms over five years may have a balloon clause to allow adjustment of the interest rate and encourage refinancing in the commercial market
  • Loans under this program may fund up to 80 percent of total project costs, unless extreme financial need warrants greater participation
  • Collateral is required as a secondary repayment source. The amount of collateral required is dependent on the financial strength of the borrower and the use of funds
  • The borrower must demonstrate a minimum of ten percent equity injection in the project

Review and Certifications of Applications

Review and certification of applications by the Columbia River Gorge Commission is required prior to contract execution. SCEDC staff will coordinate submission of approved projects to the Gorge Commission. Applicants should complete the two-page certification application form provided in Appendix D and include it in the application materials provided to the Skamania County Economic Development Council. Land use documentation described in the Commission rule does not need to be provided with the application. Such information will be collected from applicants after initial review and approval by the Washington Investment Board or the SCEDC Loan Committee.

Public Improvement Loans

The goal of this program is to remove infrastructure impediments to economic development in the National Scenic Area.

Funds available for public improvement loans may be accessed by local governments, ports, and non-profit organizations for the following purposes:

  • Downtown revitalization
  • Commercial district improvements (e.g., circulation improvements, landscaping, buildings, signage)
  • Waterfront development
  • Farmers' and artisan markets
  • Infrastructure improvements to accommodate business development
  • Historic preservation to enhance tourism
  • Facility development, including business incubator
  • Public improvement plans, feasibility studies and pre-construction costs

Requirements

  • Funds may only be used for projects that are located within the boundaries of the National Scenic Area*
  • Funds may only be used for projects that are located within, or conducting activities benefiting counties that have adopted land use ordinances consistent with the National Scenic Area Management Plan
  • The project is a priority in relation to other identified Gorge-area economic development needs in the eligible county
  • The requested grant amount or level of loan participation, repayment term, and interest rate is supported by a demonstrated financial need
  • The borrowing jurisdiction/organization is able to repay the loan

* At this time, the only Washington counties that have approved ordinances are Clark and Skamania

Loan Terms

  • Interest rates and any loan fees will be set at the time of loan approval.
  • Repayment terms are also negotiable (depending on the use of funds and the source repayment funds) not to exceed 20 years.
  • Public improvement loans may fund up to 80 percent of total project costs, unless extreme financial need warrants greater participation.
  • Collateral may be required depending on the financial strength of the borrower, the type of project and the source of repayment funds.

Review and Certifications of Applications

Review and certification of applications by the Columbia River Gorge Commission is required prior to contract execution. SCEDC staff will coordinate submission of approved projects to the Gorge Commission. Applicants should complete the two-page certification application form provided in Appendix D and include it in the application materials provided to the Skamania County Economic Development Council. Land use documentation described in the Commission rule does not need to be provided with the application. Such information will be collected from applicants after initial review and approval by the Washington Investment Board or the SCEDC Loan Committee.

Local Capacity Matching Grants

The goal of this program is to increase economic revitalization success by building and sustaining local capacity to assist business and undertake projects designed to support new economic investment. The project should be a priority in relation to other identified Gorge-area economic development needs in the eligible county.

Matching grant funds are available to local governments, ports and non-profit organizations for projects designed to supplement public and private investment. Project activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Downtown revitalization
  • Community development
  • Worker training
  • Tourism marketing
  • Business attraction or recruitment

Grant amount Limits

Funding is unavailable at this time.

Review and Certifications of Applications

Review and certification of applications by the Columbia River Gorge Commission is required prior to contract execution. SCEDC staff will coordinate submission of approved projects to the Gorge Commission. Applicants should complete the two-page certification application form provided in Appendix D and include it in the application materials provided to the Skamania County Economic Development Council. Land use documentation described in the Commission rule does not need to be provided with the application. Such information will be collected from applicants after initial review and approval by the Washington Investment Board or the SCEDC Loan Committee.