Empire State Development Announces Up To $4 Million for Small Businesses in Economically Distressed Areas in Mid-Hudson and Long Island Regions

Metropolitan Economic Revitalization Fund Will Expand Lending Capacity of Community Development Financial Institutions

February 20, 2019

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced a revolving loan fund of up to $4 million for small businesses in economically distressed areas in parts of Nassau, Rockland and Westchester Counties. The funding is provided by ESD’s Metropolitan Economic Revitalization Fund (MERF), which provides loans to businesses and governments in the New York portion of the territory covered by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “This new revolving loan fund from the Metropolitan Economic Revitalization Fund will help more small business owners and MWBEs from economically distressed areas get access to capital, a vital tool for economic success.”

The fund will focus on providing loans to New York State small business owners who have historically had difficulty accessing regular credit markets, particularly Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Funding will be disbursed through four Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).

The Metropolitan Economic Revitalization Fund (MERF) provides loans to organizations investing in projects that retain or create a significant number of private-sector jobs in economically distressed areas within its service area. MERF works to address the lack of access to capital for people of color in the areas it addresses. Loans can be used for improving land and/or buildings, construction and renovation, and for machinery and equipment purchases.

The fund will build upon the resources and capacity-building opportunities that New York State offers the MWBE community such as the Bridge to Success Loan Program, which provides short term bridge loans for New York State Certified MWBEs. Since its inception, the program has provided 153 loans totaling just over $24 million supporting over $201 million in contracts for New York State MWBEs. The New York State Surety Bond Assistance Program also provides technical and financial assistance to help MWBEs and small businesses secure surety bonding.  More than 469 MWBEs and small businesses have graduated from bond readiness training and MWBEs represent $89 million in surety bonding capacity as a result of New York State training and credit facilitation. Through collateral support alone, over $66 million in bonding was supported, of which over $42 million went to MWBEs.

Small businesses interested in loans from the MERF program should contact the CDFI closest to their location directly.

The CDFIs that have each been awarded up to $1 million in MERF funds are:

  • BOC Capital Corporation
  • Community Capital New York, Inc.
  • Excelsior Growth Fund
  • TruFund Financial Services, Inc.

About Empire State Development
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.


Adam Kilduff | [email protected] | (212) 803-3744
ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313