State Small Business Credit Initiative

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (the “Act”) became law in the fall of 2010. The Act created the State Small Business Credit Initiative, funded with $1.5 billion to strengthen state lending programs that support small businesses and manufacturers. Of the total amount funded, Georgia was allocated $48,024,748.

The State of Georgia application to the U.S. Treasury was approved and the allocation agreement executed in December 2011. GHFA EDFI/Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is the administrator of the program. Per the agreement, the oversight with the U.S. Treasury expired on March 31, 2017.

Currently, Georgia’s SSBCI offers two programs.

  1. GA LPP (Georgia Loan Participation Program) is a program where the State purchases a participation of up to 25% of an approved loan, for loans ranging from $100,000 to $5,000,000. (Maximum participation amount depending on program liquidity) Current Maximum participation is $250,000.
  2. Georgia SBCG (Small Business Credit Guaranty) is a 50% loan guaranty program with a current maximum loan amount of $400,000 with a $200,000 guaranty.


  • Credit enhancements to strengthen bank loans and reduce risk
  • Delegated lending model where lenders manage underwriting
  • Streamlined procedures and quick response to project loan requests
  • Opportunity for CRA credit


All lenders seeking approval as participating lenders in the SSBCI programs must undergo a vetting process whereby the State will evaluate the lender on management and lending experience as well as financial capacity and ability. The first step to becoming an approved lender is to complete a lender application package and submit it to DCA for review. Please contact our office to obtain an application package.

SSBCI Program

The Rural Zone program targets rural downtown areas that have been adversely impacted by local economic conditions by creating Rural Zones and offering economic development incentives. It differs from other programs at DCA which provide technical assistance and access to capital because it would establish an incentive program to stimulate investment, job creation, and economic development. It also adds in retail opportunities, which are currently excluded from job tax credits. Further, multiple sources can benefit for instance, a single new coffee shop might provide job tax credits for the local business owner, an investment credit to an urban investor and a rehabilitation credit to a local contractor.

The Job Tax Credit (JTC) will be $2,000 per new full-time equivalent job per year, up to 5 years and not to exceed $200,000 total or $40,000 per year. New full-time equivalent job means an aggregate of employee worked hours totaling 40 hours per week between two or more employees. At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created to qualify. This credit is for the small business owner who opens a storefront and creates jobs.

The Investment Credit is equivalent to 25% of the purchase price, not to exceed $125,000 total or $25,000 per year. At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created and maintained to qualify for the investment credit. This credit is for people who purchase a building downtown and cannot be taken unless jobs are created and JTC is taken.

The Rehabilitation Credit is equivalent to 30% of the qualified rehabilitation, not to exceed $150,000 total or $50,000 per year. At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created and maintained to qualify for the rehabilitation credit. This credit is to offset development costs associated with the rehabilitation of a certified investor property.

Similar to other incentive programs (i.e., Opportunity Zones and Tourism Development Act) this program will be the joint responsibility of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Both Commissioners will jointly review Revitalization Zone requests, and DCA will administer the program for approved areas.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Cities and counties with a population of less than 15,000
  • Must have a concentration of historic commercial structures at least 50 years old within the zone
  • Must prove economic distress based on poverty rate, vacancy of the downtown area, or blight.
  • Must be in compliance with the state requirements regarding comprehensive planning and reporting, Service Delivery Strategy, Government Management Indicators (GOMI), and the Report of Local Government Finances.
  • Must submit a feasibility study or market analysis identifying business activities that can be supported in the zone
  • Must submit a master plan or strategic plan designed to assist private and public investment

The purpose of the Downtown Development Revolving Loan Fund (DD RLF) is to assist cities, counties and development authorities in their efforts to revitalize and enhance downtown areas by providing below-market rate financing to fund capital projects in core historic downtown areas and adjacent historic neighborhoods where DD RLF will spur commercial redevelopment.

Eligible applicants under this program shall be municipalities with a population of 100,000 or less, counties with a population of 100,000 or less proposing projects in a core historic commercial area, and development authorities proposing projects in a core historic commercial area in municipalities or counties with a population of 100,000 or less. The ultimate user of funds may be a private business or a public entity such as a city or development authority.

Applicants must demonstrate that they have a viable downtown development project and clearly identify the proposed uses of the loan proceeds. Once approved, funds may be used for such activities as: real estate acquisition, development, redevelopment, and new construction; rehabilitation of public and private infrastructure and facilities; purchase of equipment and other assets (on a limited basis).

The maximum loan is $250,000 per project. Applications will be accepted throughout the year and as loan funds are available to the Department.

Cherie Bennett

The U.S. Small Business Administration is a small, independent federal agency created by Congress in 1953 to assist, counsel and champion the millions of American small businesses. The mission of SBA is to help people get into business and stay in business. To do this, SBA acts as an advocate for small business. At the direction of Congress, the Agency promotes the cause of small business, explains small businesses role and contributions to our society and economy and advocates policies that help small business. The agency also provides new and established small business owners with financial assistance, management counseling and training. SBA helps small firms get a fair share of government contracts and assists in the bonding process.

The Georgia Cities Foundation was established in 1999 by the Georgia Municipal Association as a 501(c)(3) organization.   In December 2010, the Foundation was designated as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the United States Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund.

In 2008, the Foundation was awarded the Main Street Ally Award from the National Trust Main Street Center.


The mission of the Foundation is to assist cities in their community development efforts to revitalize and enhance underserved downtown areas, by serving as a partner and facilitator in funding capital projects, and by providing training and technical assistance.

What We Do

  • Downtown Financing Programs
  • Heart & Soul Downtown Workshop (with GMA)
  • Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership Programs (with GMA & UGA)
  • DDA Basic Training (with GMA & UGA)
  • Renaissance Award