Frequently Asked Questions
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Economic Development
2600 Fresno St
Room 2156-02
Fresno, CA 93721
559-621-8350
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Welcome to the general questions and answers section for the City of Fresno Downtown and Community Revitalization Department. We hope you find it helpful and beneficial. If you don't find what you are looking for, e-mail the Downtown and Community Revitalization Department or call (559) 621-8350.

Frequently Asked Questions

Business Finance Programs

Incentive Zones & Tax Credits


Business Finance Programs

Are there grants available to start or operate my business?I only need to borrow a few thousand dollars to start my business downtown. Is there a loan program for me?My business has outgrown my current leased location and I need to move. I would like to buy something bigger, but my business is growing so fast, I don't have the cash to put 25-35% down on a building. Are there programs available to me?I'm thinking about starting a new business. Where do I begin?I'm thinking about starting a new business, but I'm not sure how much money I'll need. What help is available?If I call the City of Fresno for help with financing, what information are they going to need from me?Who do I contact for more information?


Are there grants available to start or operate my business?
Rather than provide outright gifts of public funds, the incentive programs offered in the City of Fresno are designed to help balance out costs.  These include special loan programs to help provide capital, tax credits for hiring employees, incentives to offset development costs and business license fees, and a variety of tax credits to make it more affordable to invest in capital equipment.
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I only need to borrow a few thousand dollars to start my business downtown. Is there a loan program for me?
Yes.  The Hometown Entrepreneur Loan Program (HELP Loan) is designed to provide up to $50,000 for new and existing businesses in low to moderate income areas of the City.
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My business has outgrown my current leased location and I need to move. I would like to buy something bigger, but my business is growing so fast, I don't have the cash to put 25-35% down on a building. Are there programs available to me?
Yes, there could be three!

1.  The SBA 504 loan program can provide up to 90% financing for the purchase of an owner-occupied business location.  The funds can also be used to buy land and build your building.  For more information regarding SBA 504 loans, e-mail George Smith at the City of Fresno Downtown and Community Revitalization Division or call (559) 621-8357.

2.  If you business is a manufacturer, the Industrial Development Bond program may be able to finance your building and even some of your capital equipment.

3.  If your building is located in the City's Federal Empowerment Zone, an Empowerment Zone Bond could be used to finance a very large facility.


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I'm thinking about starting a new business. Where do I begin?
The City of Fresno Downtown and Community Revitalization Department has developed an on-line resource to help you work through the process.  Go to FresnoStartUp.com for all the information.
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I'm thinking about starting a new business, but I'm not sure how much money I'll need. What help is available?
The first thing you need to do is develop a business plan, which will help you work through all of the issues associated with opening a business successfully.  Part of that business plan will help you develop financial projections to forecast how much cash you will need.  With that information, we can help you find the loans that will fill the gap between the funds you already have and the funds you will need. 
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If I call the City of Fresno for help with financing, what information are they going to need from me?
Rather than "laundry-list" the features and benefits of dozens of loan programs, we want to be able to get you the funds you need with a minimum of hassle.  To find the best option, we're going to ask you how much you need to borrow and how the loan proceeds will be used (i.e., working capital, equipment purchase, commercial building purchase, etc.).  We have some special programs that are only available in certain census tracts, so we will also ask you where your business is or will be located.
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Who do I contact for more information?
Please e-mail George Smith at the City of Fresno Downtown and Community Revitalization Division or call (559) 621-8357.
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Incentive Zones & Tax Credits

Does the City of Fresno have incentives that can help my business?
Yes.  The City of Fresno has five major zones that businesses can take advantange of.  Go to our Incentive Zones & Tax Credits home page to find out the details.
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I heard about the new Municipal Restoration Zone. How do I find out if I qualify?
There are two ways to qualify:  1) As a New Business or 2) As an Expanding Business.  Check out the MRZ website to find out more. 
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Didn't the Enterprise Zone expire?
Yes, the old Enterprise Zone did expire, but the City of Fresno has received a NEW DESIGNATION, retroactive to October 14, 2006.  The boundaries have been enlarged to include more property.

If you have questions about the Enterprise Zone, e-mail Kelly Vaughan Trevino or call (559) 621-8426.


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