The UCDA Staff is here to consult with you (on a confidential basis), serve as a liaison with appropriate state agencies and identify financial assistance/incentives to make your business in Union County thrive and prosper.

A variety of financial assistance is available to Iowa businesses. Businesses interested in financial assistance should contact the UCDA office to determine eligibility or to obtain information specific to your needs.

Through local, state and federal resources there are many programs that are available to meet your needs.


Local/Regional Programs
Revolving Loan Funds

There are a variety of revolving loan funds available across Southern Iowa. These flexible financing tools offer low interest financing for your business expansion needs. These funds are typically used in conjunction with traditional financing sources and other state or federal programs. The amount and terms of these loans would depend on the specifics of your project and are subject to approval of the governing bodies of these organizations. The following lenders have revolving loan funds available to qualified applicants.

Commercial Property Loan

City of Creston, IA - This is a low interest loan program designed to stimulate investment in commercial real estate properties within the city limits of Creston. The program will provide an affordable financing option for interior/exterior building improvements and/or landscape improvements. Available to all existing, new or relocating business subject to credit standards established by the participating financial institutions.

Other communities may have similar programs. Inquire with the Local EDC.

Commercial - Industrial Tax Abatement

The communities in the Southern Iowa Region can provide commercial or industrial property tax exemption as allowed by Iowa Law over a five year period. The improvements must be added during the time the area is designated as a revitalization area. Improvements, consisting of rehabilitation or additions to existing buildings, must increase actual value of the qualified real estate by at least 15%. Improvements must be completed in compliance with all applicable zoning and building codes.

Each property owner may implement upon application and approval upon the governing entity. The amount of partial exemption is equal to a percent of actual value added by the improvements determined as follows:

Commercial Abatement Schedule                                          Industrial Abatement Schedule

First Year - eighty percent (80%)                                            First Year - seventy-five percent (75%)

Second Year - sixty percent (60%)                                         Second Year - sixty percent (60%)

Third Year - forty percent (40%)                                             Third Year - forty-five percent (45%)

Fourth Year - thirty percent (30%)                                          Fourth Year - thirty percent (30%)

Fifth Year - fifteen percent (15%)                                           Fifth Year - fifteen percent (15%)

Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

Tax Increment Financing is a method of reallocating tax revenues which are produced as a result of increase in taxable valuation above a "base valuation" with in an urban renewal area. The increase in tax valuation is then used to pay the cost of public improvement projects (streets, water, sewer, etc.) or make direct economic development grants or loans as an incentive to locate in an urban renewal area. The funds must be spent in the urban renewal area.

This tool is available to projects locating or expanding within urban renewal districts in Southern Iowa communities. Each community in the region has a different policy and approach when using TIF. Contact Local EDC for program specifics and availability.

State Programs

State of Iowa Financial Assistance Programs

Through attractive financial assistance and business friendly government policies, Iowa offers advantages that help grow revenues for your business. A variety of financial programs are available to businesses expanding in Iowa. The Ready Resource Team will work with the Iowa Economic Development Authority to accommodate your financial assistance request to meet your expansion needs.

Financial Assistance Programs from the State of Iowa

Iowa MicroLoan Program

Iowa MicroLoan is a program created to help Iowans realize their goal of achieving business success when there is a solid idea, team, and commitment to make it work. Iowa MicroLoan was created for those micro businesses that are considered on the fringe of risk-bearing capacity for most traditional financial institutions.

Iowa MicroLoan has created a fund to provide a source of capital for micro entrepreneurs who are seeking a direct loan of $5,000 to $35,000 or a co-financing arrangement of up to $105,000. Applicants must have applied for a loan at a traditional credit source and have been denied before either of these opportunities are available.

How Iowa MicroLoan can help you:

  • Loans for start-up, expansion, and refinancing of small business entrepreneurs
  • A technical assistance plan of work tailored to the needs of your business
  • A technical assistance grant up to $500/client/year to assist in the cost of accessing technical assistance resources
  • Access to networks of local, regional, statewide, and online micro business development mentors, coaches, and professionals willing to help your business become profitable.
  • Assistance in improving your credit scores and overall business risk that will allow you to utilize traditional credit resources once you graduate from Iowa MicroLoan.
    Once you have downloaded, completed and submitted the Iowa MicroLoan Credit application, our loan administrator will review your documents and advise you of the status of your credit application. If the application is accepted as eligible and complete, we will inform you within 10 working days as to the decision of the loan committee reviewing your credit application. We will begin processing your Iowa MicroLoan documents and make closing arrangements at that time.
    Iowa MicroLoan loan terms:
  • $5,000 minimum
  • $35,000 maximum (may be a combination of Iowa MicroLoans)
  • 9.875% Interest (Maximum)
  • 6 Year term (Maximum)
  • Electronically debited loan payments in accordance to cash flow budget
  • Iowa MicroLoan funds may not be used for the purchase of real estate or as a line of credit.
  • Co-financing opportunities to work with local lenders and loan pools up to $105,00

A link to the program’s applications is here: .

Targeted Small Business Assistance

The Targeted Small Business (TSB) Assistance Program supports the creation and expansion of specified businesses. To qualify for the program, a business must have annual gross sales of less than $4 million and be at least 51% owned, operated and actively managed by women, minorities or persons with disabilities.
The business must be certified as a "Targeted Small Business" by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals before applying for or receiving TSB funds. A business can receive "Targeted Small Business" certification through the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals [].

Forms of Assistance

  • Loans of up to $50,000 may be provided at interest rates of 0-5% that must be repaid in monthly installments over a five year period. The first installment can be deferred for three months for a start-up business and one month for an existing business.
  • Loan guarantees are available in limited cases for lines of credit up to $50,000. Loan guarantees can cover up to 80% of a loan obtained from a bank or other conventional leader. Interest rates are at the discretion of the lender.
  • Equity grants, up to $50,000, may be available but must be used to leverage SBA or conventional bank loans.
  • Applicant must be able to invest 10% cash of the total project cost. For example, if a loan of $30,000 is sought, the applicant must have $3,000 (10%) of his or her own cash.
    Funds may be used to purchase equipment, acquire inventory, provide operating capital or leverage additional funding.

For more information please visit:

Federal Programs
Small Business Administration Programs

SBA 504 Loan Program

- Provides long-term, fixed rate financing to small businesses to acquire real estate or machinery or equipment for expansion or modernization.
- Requires a loan secured from a private-sector lender with a senior lien, a loan secured from a Certified Development Company (Iowa Business Growth Company) with a junior lien covering 40% of total project cost with at least 10% equity from the borrower.
- Maximum $1 million
Iowa Business Growth Company (IBGC) is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration to offer the 504 loan program. They work in conjunction with financial institutions to provide a low down payment on fixed rate, long-term financing.
Contact your Local Financial Institution or the Iowa Business Growth Company ( to learn more about the SBA 504 Loan Program.

SBA 7(a) Loan Guaranty

-Funds may be used by eligible small businesses for sound business purposes including working capital, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, land and building, leasehold improvements, and debt refinancing (under special conditions)
- Loan maturity is 10 years for working capital and up to 25 years for fixed assets.
Contact your Local Financial Institution for more information on the SBA Basic 7 (a) Loan Guarantee.
To view frequently asked questions about small business administration please visit

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Established by Congress in 1982 in the Small Business Innovation Development Act. Ensures the nation's small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government's research and development efforts. Eleven Federal department's participate in the SBIR Program.

Eligibility Guidelines:

  • Companies must have no conflict of interest with the eleven federal agencies participating;
  • Companies must be a privately owned proprietorship, partnership, corporation, joint venture, association, trust or cooperative and for-profit;
  • Not more than 500 employees, including affiliates and business must be 51% owned and controlled by US citizens or permanent resident aliens;
  • Must first participate in Phase I before eligible for Phase II funding;
  • Project must respond to a defined eligible topic and develop a new technology, applying an existing technology to a new application, or make significant improvements or advancements to an existing technology;

Assistance Available:

  • Phase I grants up to $100K (varies by agency) for six months, to evaluate scientific technical merit and feasibility of an idea/project.
  • Phase I grants up to $250K (varies by agency) for thirty-six months, to expand results of a further pursue the project through research and development activities such as prototype creation and testing, clinical trials, etc.
  • No SBIR funds for the "commercialization" of Phase 3 of the project.
  • Amount of work/research subcontracted to research institutions cannot exceed 1/3 of the total award.

For more information visit or

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

Modeled after the SBIR program (above). It differentiates in that a small company must team up with a federal lab or university project. Five Federal department's participate in the STTR Program.

Eligibility Guidelines:

  • Companies must have no conflict of interest with any of the 5 Federal Agencies participating.
  • Companies must be a privately owned proprietorship, partnership, corporation, joint venture, association, trust, or cooperative - and for-profit.
  • Not more than 500 employees, including affiliates, and business must be 51% owned and controlled by US citizens or permanent resident aliens.
  • Must first participate in Phase 1 before eligible for Phase 2 funding.
  • The small business must find new technology initially developed at a Federal Lab or University and then set up an STTR program to transfer the use of the technology into the private sector and commercialize it.
  • Or, a small business is doing research and development and/or has their own new technology, and a Federal Lab or University has the expertise and facilities needed to develop its commercialized use.

Assistance Available:

  • Phase 1grants up to $100K (varies by agency) for twelve months, to evaluate the scientific technical merit and feasibility of an idea/project.
  • Phase 2 grants up to $500K (varies by agency) for 36 months, to expand the results of and further pursue the project through research and development activities such as prototype creation and testing, clinical trials, etc.
  • No SBIR funds for the “commercialization” phase 3 of the project.
  • Amount of work/research subcontracted to research institutes or partners cannot exceed 2/3 of total award ($67,000).

For more information visit or

US Department of Agriculture Programs

Business & Industry Loan Guarantee Program

This Program is administered by the Rural Business & Cooperative Program Division of the USDA - Rural Development. USDA can guaranteed loans by eligible lenders to businesses to benefit rural areas. USDA - Rural Development, can guarantee losses up to 80 percent of the original loan amount. Inability to obtain other credit is not a requirement.

The primary purpose of the Business & Industry Loan Guarantee Program is to create and maintain employment and improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities. This is achieved by expanding the existing private credit structure capability make and service quality loans to provide lasting community benefits.

Benefits to Businesses:

  • Higher loan amounts, stronger loan application, less equity injection, lower interest rates and longer repayment terms assist businesses that may not qualify for conventional lender financing.
  • Assist businesses with stability, growth, expansion and rural employment.

Benefits to Lenders:

  • Provides lenders another tool to expand their loan portfolio
  • Improve economic and environmental living climate in rural communities
  • Grantee portion can be sold to enhance liquidity and increase profitability while limiting financial exposure
  • Allows lender to make loans above it loan limits

Eligible Areas - B & I Loans can be made in cities up to 50,000 in population with priority to applications to loans in rural communities with populations of 25,000 or less.

Eligible Borrowers - Any legal entity, including individuals,  public and private organizations and federally recognized Indian Tribal groups may borrow. There is no size restriction of the business. Local economic development organizations and investors may be considered.

Eligible Lenders - Most lenders are eligible, including national or state-chartered banks, Farm Credit System bank and savings and loan associations. Other lenders such as insurance companies and mortgage companies may be eligible if approved by USDA.

Eligible Loan Purposes:

  • Business and industrial acquisitions, construction, conversion, expansion, repair,
    modernization or development costs
  • Purchase equipment, machinery or supplies
  • Start up costs and working capital
  • Processing and marketing facilities
  • Pollution control and abatement
  • Refinancing for sound projects under certain conditions

Ineligible Loan Purposes:

  • Line of credit
  • Agricultural production with some exceptions
  • Any project likely to result in the transfer of business or employment from one area to another
  • Any project involving transfer of ownership - unless this will keep the business from closing, prevent the loss of jobs in an area, or provide more jobs
  • Paying off a creditor in excess of the value of the collateral
  • Payment to owners, partners, shareholders or others who retain any ownership in the
  • Corporations and businesses not at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens
  • Charitable institutions, churches, organizations affiliated with or sponsored by a church or
    fraternal organizations
  • Guarantee of lease payments

For More Information on the B & I Loan Guarantee Program

  Ready Resource/UCDA   208 W. Taylor, P.O. Box 471, Creston, IA 50801   site design by: three C design