Small Business Loan

The Small Business Loan is meant to be financing to help new small commercial businesses open their doors or to assist existing street-level businesses with improvements or upgrades to their store. Small Business Loans are intended to provide assistance for commercial space build out above and beyond Tenant Improvement allowances provided by landlords. The goal of this product is to help the establishment and/or retention of street level businesses, create new jobs, and reduce ground-floor vacancy rates in Downtown. DCLF is committed to providing 30% of proceeds from its Small Business Loans to local minority- and immigrant-owned businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for a Small Business Loan?

For new businesses, the loans are intended for retail spaces which are in a “white-box” condition provided by the landlord. These loans are not intended for rehabilitation or large-scale build out of a retail space typically borne by property owners.

For existing businesses, the loans are intended to assist with enhancements which would improve the business, such as new equipment, furniture, signage, POS systems, and security systems. 

What is the target area of the loan?

Businesses within Louisville’s Central Business District have priority, although those in adjacent edge neighborhoods are eligible depending on their potential impact to Downtown as a whole.

Lending priority shall be given to new businesses opening Downtown and to existing businesses wishing to improve their existing location, to relocate to a new space, or to open a new location Downtown.

What type of business is eligible?

These loans are intended for ground-floor retail spaces with prominent street frontage. Office and non-retail uses will not be considered. Certain business concepts are ineligible.

How can the loan be used?

These loans may be used for the fit out or improvement of a retail or restaurant space, including retail fixtures, shelving, flooring, signage, painting, furniture, restaurant equipment, and point-of-sale systems.

Loan proceeds may not be used for inventory purchases or working capital.

What is the maximum amount that I can borrow?

The maximum is usually $50,000.

What are the interest rates?

Interest rates vary depending on the complexity and risk of the project but are targeted to be below market rate.

What are typical loan terms?

– The Small Business Loans are intended for retail spaces which are in “white-box” condition provided by the landlord or that are currently occupied by an existing business.

– The loans provide partial financing to fit out the space and should not exceed 70% of the total projected fit-out cost, with the remaining 30% expected from a tenant improvement allowance and/or borrower equity.

– Loans should not exceed 5 years, fully amortized. The term of the loan cannot exceed the initial or current term of the lease for the space.

– At the discretion of the Loan Review Committee, loans may include an interest-only period during the fit out period, typically not to exceed six months from the signing of the lease.

– All tangible assets purchased with the loan proceeds will be secured as collateral.

– All loans require personal guarantees of the borrowers, which includes personal credit history checks.

– There are no penalties for early repayment.

 Is there an application fee?

Yes, there is a non-refundable $150 application fee, payable when the application is submitted. This fee will be credited to the origination fee upon successful closing of the loan.

How do I submit an application?

Please click the button below to submit a quick pre-application survey. Once reviewed by our team, we’ll reach back out to continue the process.

For more information about the Small Business Loan, please contact:

Taylore Bass, (502) 614 – 4123

Email Taylore Bass here