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The Green Financing Guide For Small Businesses

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The Green Financing Guide For Small Businesses

By NicoleD
Published: October 21, 2010

Green businesses many be eligible for grants, loans, and other financial incentives. Read on to find out more about green financing opportunities for your business.

Loans and Grants

If you are looking for environmental financing for your business, your first stop should be the Loans and Grants tool on Business.gov. After answering a brief questionnaire about your business, yo;ll receive information on financing programs that you may be eligible for.

Remember- the federal government does not provide grants for starting or expanding a business.

However, if your startup invented a new green product or technology that is in the national interest or creates new jobs, it may qualify for small business innovation grants, such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT), or USDA Rural Development programs. Even in these cases, the competition is stiff and you may be required to match funding that you receive. To learn more about these and related financing opportunities for entrepreneurs, read Business.go-s guide on green technology innovation.

Additionally, your state government may have other grant opportunities for green innovation or efficiency upgrades. Check with your state department of energy resources for details.

If you do not qualify for a grant, you may find financing alternatives in loans. Use Business.gov to find lenders in your state that provide loans to small businesses interested in making energy efficient upgrades.

Tax Incentives

Another way to save is through energy efficient tax incentives. A tax credit can provide significant savings by reducing the amount of income tax you have to pay. Unlike a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax, a tax credit directly reduces the tax itself. Tax credits are available to manufacturers, for small business that upgrade commercial buildings, and for home builders. Learn the basics of federal tax credits for energy efficiency on Business.gov.

The newly-passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Economic Stimulus) includes new and extended energy efficiency incentives for consumers and small businesses. Read Business.go's article on green tax incentives for a detailed list of new incentives - but keep in mind that the eligibility dates vary, and some are close to expiring.

For the most up-to-date guidance on tax incentives, speak with your attorney or review the Energy Incentives for Businesses in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at IRS.gov.

Other Ways to Save

Aside from financing opportunities, Business.go's Green Business Guide includes a whole host of resources and initiatives that help small businesses expand their businesses while saving energy costs.

Green Commuting and Green Fleets

Greening Your Office

  • Supporting the green movement helps the environment and shows clients that your business cares about affecting it in a positive way. By going paperless, you'll save mass amounts of paper through electronic documentation as well as other storage equipment such as folders and storage units. Energy savings can also be found by minimizing the use of print and copy machines. Learn more by reading Save Time and Money by Going Paperless.
  • There are many ways for home-based businesses to 'go green'. It might start with simple actions like recycling used paper and ink cartridges, and powering off electrical equipment when not in use. In fact, 'going green' is limitless - for example, a home-based child daycare business might consider reducing its carbon footprint by using cold water wash cycles for laundry, buying furniture and toys from thrift stores and garage sales, and using reusable dishes at mealtimes. Read this list of additional ways to green your home-based business at Business.gov.
  • Finally, see if you can lock in additional savings on utilities by inquiring if your gas and electric providers offers any rebates on green improvements.

Need Assistance?

  • You may want to visit a small business development center or a SCORE office in your area. Both offer free counseling and they are knowledgable about the various government loan programs currently available. Read more about in-person services near you at Business.gov
  • You can try to reach someone at your local economic development office to learn if there are employment grants in your area.
  • Consider partnering with local solar manufactures or trade groups and associations for additional financial assistance or mentoring.

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