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Finance, Loan & Grant Opportunities

Listed below are several programs and loan funds available for businesses in our area.

Grow Cattaraugus Loan Fund (GCLF)

The primary objective of the loan fund is to create opportunities for the establishment and expansion of microenterprise businesses within Cattaraugus County, to promote employment opportunities for low to moderate-income County residents, and to preserve and expand the County's tax base. Cattaraugus County offers term loans to qualifying businesses located within the County for machinery, equipment, fixed assets, inventory, capital improvement, and/or working capital.  Contact us for more information by filling out our contact form or calling (716)938-2311.

Economic Development Loan Fund (EDLF)

Business loans

  • Loan of up to $75,000
  • 5-7 year repayment period
  • 7% fixed interest rate
  • Job creation from loan proceeds is a requirement
  • Gap Financing

New York State Seed Funding Grant Program

The New York State Seed Funding Grant Program (the “Program”) was created to provide assistance to early-stage small businesses to succeed in a recovering New York State economy.

Eligible Applicants must provide evidence, acceptable to New York State that the Eligible Applicant is operational and meets the Program requirements. As part of the application each micro-business, small business, or for-profit arts and cultural organization including independent arts contractors shall provide sufficient documentation in a manner prescribed by Empire State Development ("ESD") to demonstrate Program qualification. Only one grant per business EIN or SSN is allowed. Due to a limited amount of funding and the high volume of requests expected, business type, geography, and industry may factor into the ability to receive a grant.

Southern Tier Enterprise Development Organization (STEDO)

The STEDO loan program is for businesses in Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua Counties.  The primary purpose of STEDO is to create and/or retain jobs and stimulate the development of small to mid-sized businesses within the region.  STEDO has a strong history of working closely with businesses and lenders to assemble financial packages flexible enough to accommodate the needs of most small business owners. STEDO is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.  Discrimination is prohibited by Federal Law.  Complaints may be filed with USDA, Director of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave. Washington, DC 20250.

County of Cattaraugus IDA 

The purpose of the County of Cattaraugus Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) is to promote, encourage and attract such facilities in order to retain and attract job and business opportunities and economically sound commerce and industry in the various cities, towns, and villages located within Cattaraugus County, New York.  Other IDA benefits include abatements of an assortment of taxes to assist your business development needs. This county-wide Industrial Development Agency provides a variety of services to assist in the creation and retention of employment opportunities. The CCIDA has authorization over financing options and provides technical assistance to developers, industries, and other economic development organizations.  www.investcattaraugus.com/

Salamanca IDA

Activities funded by the Salamanca IDA are subject to HUD regulations and therefore must meet one of the following objectives: benefit low to moderate-income persons, prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or meet community development needs having a particular urgency (i.e. serious and immediate threat to health or welfare). The Agency may authorize loans for facility construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, or improvement of industrial or manufacturing facilities, research and development facilities, or other eligible business facilities located within the city. In addition, the agency may also finance a portion of the cost of a firm’s machinery and equipment to be used and located within the city.   https://www.salmunida.com/incentives.html

City of Olean Community Development

The City of Olean offers financial assistance to new and existing businesses.  The Olean Revolving Loan Fund has been designed to assist business development and expansion, to increase employment, and to improve the tax base of the City of Olean by offering low interest financing to existing or new concerns in conjunction with conventional financial institutions, public agency assistance or private equity.  The department also offers the Downtown Property Improvement Program which is available to businesses within the commercial area of Olean.  Businesses can apply for up to $30,000, which 20% of the loan amount will be deffered as a loan. The proceeds can be used for facade and commercial interior renovation projects.  https://www.cityofolean.org/CommDev/programs.html

New York State's Empire State Development (ESD)

New York State supports and encourages business growth with a variety of funds, loans, grants and other financial incentives.  Whether you’re starting a business, adding jobs or improving your business’s operations, there is a wide range of loans and financial assistance programs available to help achieve your goals.  ESD also administers New York State’s innovation investment funds, providing financial capital to early-stage technology-based businesses looking to get started or grow in New York.  esd.ny.gov/doing-business-ny/growth-support

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA offers assistance to businesses at any stage of development.  For financing needs, the SBA works with lenders to provide loans to small businesses. The agency doesn’t lend money directly to small business owners. Instead, it sets guidelines for loans made by its partnering lenders, community development organizations, and micro-lending institutions. The SBA reduces risk for lenders and makes it easier for them to access capital which in turn makes it easier for small businesses to get loans.  The SBA also works with different organizations to provide federal financial assistance (grants) community resources for certain small businesses.  Visit the Small Business Administration's website for more information on all the funding programs available to businesses. www.sba.gov/funding-programs

Pursuit Lending

(formerly known as New York Business Development Corporation)

Pursuit Lending's goal is to assist, promote and advance the business prosperity and economic welfare of the State of New York by providing loans to small businesses including start-ups, early stage and mature businesses with a particular emphasis on minority and women-owned businesses. As a complement to conventional banking, they work in partnership with banks to provide term loans, many of which do not meet the requirements for traditional financing. In many cases, NYBDC's financing options will include multiple participations, SBA guarantees, flexible amortization, and long-term payouts. https://pursuitlending.com/


The federal government generally does NOT provide grants for starting and expanding a business. Government grants are funded by your tax dollars and therefore require very stringent compliance and reporting measures to ensure the money is well spent.  As you can imagine, grants are not given away indiscriminately. Grants from the federal government are only available to non-commercial organizations, such as non-profits and educational institutions in areas such as medicine, education, scientific research, and technology development. The federal government also provides grants to state and local governments to assist them with economic development. Some business grants are available through state and local programs, non-profit organizations, and other groups. For example, some states provide grants for expanding childcare centers; creating energy-efficient technology; and developing marketing campaigns for tourism. These grants are not necessarily "free money" as they generally require the recipient to match funds or combine the grant with other forms of financing such as a loan. The amount of the grant money available varies with each business and each grantor.

The vast majority of government grants are given to non-profit organizations for programs and services that benefit the community or the public at large.  There are other types of grants such as those from foundations, corporations, or private organizations.  These non-government organizations have specific requirements as to who is eligible to apply for and receive grant funding.  By and large, foundations do not make grants to for-profit enterprises.  The NYS Library has a list of selected websites that provide information and opportunities for grants in New York State.  www.nysl.nysed.gov/reference/grantsref.htm