Starting or growing a business takes money. It can be difficult for business owners to know where to begin.

While the SBDC does not administer loan or grant programs, we help businesses assess and identify funding options and opportunities, and prepare documentation that lenders require. Our consultants have in-depth knowledge about loan programs and what lenders really need from borrowers to make a loan.


Basic Lending Guidelines

5 C’s of Credit – The basic components of credit analysis used by lenders.


U.S. Small Business Administration

Banks and other lending institutions offer a number of SBA guaranteed loan programs to assist small Small Business Administration
businesses. While SBA itself does not make loans, it does guarantee loans made to small businesses by
private and other institutions.
SBA Loan Program Quick Reference  Guide


Region Nine Development Commission

Since 1972, being a partner for progress has led to the development of programs
and identification of solutions in the areas of aging, R9_Logo_(2015)-rdceconomic development, business
development, healthy communities, transportation, community development, and
leveraging regional resources.
Region Nine Development Commission Revolving Loan Funds


Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation

Southern Minnesota Initiative FoundationSouthern Minnesota Initiative Foundation has made bio-business its highest business priority. Accordingly, solid proposals will be prioritized in all business evaluations.
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation Loan Programs


USDA Programs – MinnesotaUSDA Rural Development


Veterans Programs

Minnesota Reservist and Veteran Business Loan Program


Local Revolving Loan Funds

Your city, county or area Economic Development Authority may offer revolving loan funds (RLF) for business development projects such as business start-up and expansion. Often, they are used to fill a financing gap in a business development project. Eligibility and terms will vary with each fund.  Learn more.


What about Grants?

Looking for free money to start your small business?   Despite what you may have heard, grants are rarely awarded to start-up businesses.

Government grants are supported by your tax dollars and often tied to specific agency agendas such as the Department of Energy or the Department of Agriculture.  Therefore, they require very stringent compliance and reporting measures to ensure the money is well spent. Grants are typically for nonprofit and educational organizations, not for-profit businesses. Announcements for grants will appear on

Some business grants may be available through state and local programs, nonprofit organizations and other groups. These grants usually are not free money, and may require the recipient to match funds or combine the grant with other forms of financing. The amount of the grant available varies with each business and each grantor.

The federal government does provide grants to small business engaged in scientific research and development (R&D) under the Small Business Innovation Research  (SBIR) Program, to stimulate high-tech innovations.