Iowa offers several small business financial assistance programs in the form of loans and forgivable loans. Eligibility for these programs may be based in part on demographic requirements, job creation, capital investment, wage standards, quality of employment offered and economic benefits for the state and local community.
Targeted Small Business Program: The Targeted Small Business (TSB) Program assists women, minorities, service-disabled veterans, and disabled individuals with financing to start or expand a business in Iowa. Microloans of up to $50,000 are available. A business must be certified as a TSB to be eligible to apply for funding.
Iowa Self Employment Program: Iowa Self-Employment is a program that assists qualified individuals with disabilities to start or expand a small business through technical and financial assistance. Awards of up to $10,000 are available, and require a dollar per dollar match.
Small Business Linked Investments for Tomorrow (LIFT) Program: The LIFT program is offered through the Treasurer of the State of Iowa, and provides capital for Iowa small businesses. Applications are made through a local financial institution to the treasurer’s office and if approved, the treasurer of state purchases a certificate of deposit (CD) from the lender, who then makes the loan to the borrowing business. Maximum loan amount is $200,000.
High Quality Jobs Program provides qualifying business tax credits and direct financial assistance to offset some of the costs incurred to locate, expand or modernize an Iowa facility. Awards include loans, forgivable loans, tax credits, exemptions and/or refunds. To be eligible to apply, a business must meet certain wage thresholds. Retail businesses are not eligible for this program.
Financing Programs for Advanced Manufacturing, Biosciences and Information Technology
Demonstration Fund: The primary purpose of the Demonstration Fund program is to help small to medium-sized businesses with a high-growth potential reach a position where they are able to attract private sector funding. Awards of up to $100,000 in the form of a grant, loan or royalty can be made. For every two dollars awarded by the state, a one dollar match from the company is required.
Proof of Commercial Relevance: The Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) Fund provides financial assistance to businesses that are pursuing proof of marketability of a technology. The fund is designed to assist businesses that have developed new technologies and who have completed the proof of concept stage and are now ready to define the market for the product and further perfect the product to meet the market needs. Awards of up to $25,000 in the form of a grant can be made. For every two dollars awarded by the state, a one dollar match from the company is required.
Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund promotes the formation and growth of businesses that engage in the transfer of technology into competitive, profitable companies that will create high-paying jobs. The fund provides financing to eligible businesses through three programs:
Iowa PROPEL – for seed capital-stage financing ($300,000 maximum)
Iowa INNOVATION EXPANSION – for expansion-stage financing ($500,000 maximum) Awards can be made in the form of a loan or royalty.
For every one dollar of requested funds from the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund, a minimum one dollar of private funds must be provided.
Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) provides funding for small businesses wanting to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development which has a high potential for commercialization. Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) provides research and development funding for small businesses based on the requirement they collaboratively partner with a non-profit research institution on the project. For information on these programs, contact the Iowa Innovation Corporation.