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Office of Economic Development
Office of Economic Development

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. Demonstrate retention and/or creation of employment opportunities
  2. Have firm commitments for other financial components of projects
  3. Demonstrate credit worthiness and ability to repay the loan
  4. 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 at (510) 981-7536.


Additional Financial Resources  

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) assists small businesses with obtaining federal financial assistance, engaging in contracting with the federal government, and recovering from disasters. The agency also offers technical assistance for free or at low cost to small businesses. Detailed information on all the SBA programs can be found at The following are the most commonly used SBA loan programs:

7(a) Loan Guarantee Program  7(a) loans are the most basic and widely-used SBA loan. 7(a) loans are not directly funded by SBA. Rather, they are provided by lenders who choose to participate in the program. The business owner applies to a participating lender for financing. The lender then decides if they will make the loan on their own, or if they will request SBA’s assistance in order to make the loan. The 7(a) loans can be used for a variety of business purposes: working capital, inventory, equipment, improvements, purchase of commercial real estate, and under certain circumstances, refinancing of business debt and business acquisition. 

SBA 504 Loan Program The 504 Program provides growing businesses with long-term, low fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land and buildings. Certified Development Companies (CDC) are non-profit organizations that work with SBA and private sector lenders to provide the financing to small businesses.    

Micro-loans The SBA Microloan Program provides, through nonprofit community based lenders, loans of up to $50,000. Loans can be used for start-ups or growing businesses. 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. 

Business owners can connect with participating SBA lenders by using the SBA LINC tool  

For more information on local SBA resources and participating lenders, please visit the San Francisco District webpage, call 415-744-6820, or email

Microfinance at Berkeley (MFB)

MFB is a pro-bono organization at U.C. Berkeley that supports small businesses and economic development in the Bay Area. MFB provides interest free loans of up to $10,000 through the Kiva U.S. crowdfunding platform to fund small businesses. MFB also offers one-on-one advising sessions for entrepreneurs focusing on social media marketing, credit building, and business plan development.


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Office of Economic Development, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7530
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903