Business Finance

The City of Berkeley can assist you in obtaining financing for business expansion and other business needs. Chefs at work

Berkeley Revolving Loan Fund

The City of Berkeley’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program can provide access to capital for businesses and entrepreneurs who seek to grow and retain/ create jobs, but do not qualify for a traditional bank loan. The RLF serves all commercial areas in the City.   Loans are available for business expansion, purchase of fixed assets, tenant improvements and real estate.



Loan Amounts:
Up to $35,000 (Loans greater than $35,000 are up to the discretion of the Board)

Fixed Interest Rates:
WSJ Prime Interest Rate, at time of loan approval plus 2 percent.
  For the current rates click on the following link: Bank  

Loan Terms:
Up to 7 years

Loan Fees:
1% of loan amount

Loan Collateral:
Required; Personal guarantee required of all principals with 20% or more interest in business

Equity Requirement:
10% of loan amount for existing businesses; 20% of loan amount for start-up businesses

Application Fee:

To be considered, borrowers must meet these requirements: 

  1. Provide a loan denial letter from a bank
  2. Demonstrate retention and/or creation of employment opportunities
  3. Have firm commitments for other financial components of projects
  4. Demonstrate credit worthiness and ability to repay the loan
  5. Willing to comply with all regulations, policies and requirements as they relate to the program

Application Information: 

  1. Berkeley RLF Administrative Plan 
  2. Berkeley RLF Loan Application  
  3. Berkeley RLF Supplemental Information Checklist  
  4. Berkeley RLF Credit Authorization Form 

For more information please contact Eleanor Hollander @ 510 981-7536.

Additional Financial Resources 

U.S. Small Business Association (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) assists small businesses in obtaining Federal financial assistance.  The following are the most commonly used SBA Programs:

7(a) Loan Guarantee Program   This is the basic type of SBA’s business loan programs.  The loan can provide a maximum guarantee of 75 percent of loans up to $1.5 million and 85 percent of loans up to $150,000.  The loans can be used for a variety of purposes including expansion/renovation; to purchase land,  buildings, or equipment; for working capital and fixed assets.  Rates are generally equivalent to the prime rate plus 2.25 to 2.75 percent.  Businesses must be for-profit and meet SBA size standards, provide adequate collateral, and show good character, credit and ability to pay. 

SBA 504 Loan Program  This program provides growing companies with long-term fixed rate financing for major assets, such as land and buildings.  The loans are typically secured by liens on the fixed assets being financed. 

Micro-loans The SBA Bay Area Microloan Program provides, through nonprofit community based lenders, small loans of up to $35,000.  Loans can be used  for start-up or growing small businesses.  The maximum loan term for a microloan is five years.  Loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, supplies, materials, and inventory, as well as other startup or expansion costs. Interest rates are fixed from 8  to 11 percent.   Businesses must be for-profit, located in Alameda County, demonstrate at least a thirty percent (30%) cash investment by owner, and show good character, credit and ability to pay. 

The SBA offers numerous loan programs to assist small businesses. There are various local SBA participating lenders who can assist with your financing needs.   For more information on local SBA resources, please visit the web site at: or call (415) 744-6820.