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Low Cost Financing

Category: Local Incentives, Grants & Loans

City of Cambridge
The City of Cambridge has a variety of low cost financing tools available to qualified businesses they work in partnership with many of the following Economic Development Partners listed below.

  • Loans available through the Minnesota Investment Fund Department of Employment and Economic Development
  • JOBZ Minnesota Job Opportunity Building Zone that provides tax incentives to qualified businesses
  • Tax Abatement
  • Tax Increment Financing
  • City of Cambridge Revolving Loan Fund
  • City of Cambridge & Cambridge EDA owns land in 3 Industrial Parks and 1 retail development area


Initiative Foundation »

The Initiative Foundation enhances the economic vitality of Central Minnesota by providing more than $3.5 million in gap financing each year to small businesses. If offers five specialized loan programs.

  • Direct Business Loan Fund helps central Minnesota companies create or retain quality jobs by filling gaps in business financing packages. Targeted industries include manufacturing, technology-based sectors, and value-added agriculture. Loans range from $50,000 to $250,000.
  • Technology Capital Fund invests in two types of enterprises: emerging technology ventures, and established companies integrating proven productivity applications into operations. Investments range from $50,000 to $500,000.
  • Green Business Fund targets entrepreneurs whose products and services help protect and preserve the environment, reduces or recycles an existing waste stream, or reduces energy demands. The fund meets the gap between financing provided by a local lender and the equity an owner is able to contribute. Investments range from $50,000 to $250,000.
  • Seed Capital Fund advances emerging entrepreneurial ventures by financing new product concepts, development and market research. In return for investments up to $50,000, the Initiative Foundation negotiates company equity or royalties that reflect the incurred risk.
  • Microenterprise Loan Guaranty Fund increases local ownership or expansion of small businesses – especially among underserved populations. It targets non-traditional borrowers, including women, people of color, young adults and applicants with low net worth, but funds other applicants as well. The fund protects banks and lenders against loan default by underwriting up to $50,000 through a simple guaranty contract.

USDA Rural Development »
Information on two USDA grant programs can be found at the Minnesota's Rural Development website or by calling the Cambridge office at 763-689-3354.

  • Rural Energy for America program offers grants, guaranteed loans, and combination grant/guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses. The program helps them buy and install renewable energy systems. It also encourages them to make energy efficiency improvements to nonresidential property. Selection is based on a nation-wide competition. Funds are awarded annually.
  • Value-Added Producer Grant helps eligible producers of agricultural commodities develop business plans and marketing strategies for viable marketing opportunities in emerging markets. Applications are selected on a nationwide, competitive basis once a year.

East Central Energy (ECE) »
ECE is a member-owned electric cooperative. Formed in 1936, we currently provide electric service to more than 59,000 homes, farms, and businesses in east central Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. There are many ways you can save on energy costs through our programs, efficiency rebates and incentives. Call 1-800-254-7944 to speak with the Business Accounts Specialist for your service area.

  • The Business Development Loan Program participates in financing business expansions. The program focuses on site acquisition, building construction, and electrical costs. It is funded by ECE and its power supply cooperative, Great River Energy, in partnership with a lender of the customer's choice. Financing is set at market rates, typically on 5-10 year terms. Loan limits are $200,000.
  • East Central Energy sponsors loans for economic development projects through the Minnesota Community Capital Fund. Loans must qualify to be purchased through the MCCF's relationship with the Community Reinvestment Fund. (It bundles and offers loans on the secondary market.) Loans may be up to 20 years in length. Interest rates are determined by the secondary market. ECC loan limits are $500,000 per project.

Great River Energy »
Great River Energy's Business Financing Program features three interrelated options:

  • E3 (Energy Efficiency Equipment) Loan program: This program provides a low-interest loan to cover the costs of acquisition and installation of energy efficient equipment. Loans up to $350,000 will be considered with an interest rate determined by energy savings achieved. A minimum of 10 percent owner-equity is required.

  • USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program: This program provides zero-interest loans and grants to Rural Utilities Service borrowers to promote rural economic development and job creation projects. Loans (up to $1 million) are passed through the Rural Electric Cooperative (REC) to the Ultimate Recipient. Grants are used to capitalize the REC Revolving Loan Fund. The initial loan is made to the Ultimate Recipient. As a result of this program, many of our member cooperatives now maintain revolving loan funds which they use to support local economic development projects in the communities they serve.

  • Data center site assessment program: This program is designed to identify the most suitable real estate sites for a data center development in our member service territory across greater Minnesota.  

  • Link for additional information econdev.greatriverenergy.com

Central Minnesota Development Company (CMDC) »
This private nonprofit corporation "promotes the economic viability within central Minnesota by cultivating a financing environment that allows small businesses to prosper." It is a division of the Minnesota Business Finance Corporation.

As an SBA premier certified lender, CMDC provides the following services to lenders and businesses:

  • SBA 504 loans to small businesses for long-term fixed assets
  • SBA pre-qualified loans
  • SBA 7(a) loan packaging assistance
  • SBA low-doc packaging assistance
  • CMDC small business loan funds
  • Business plan development assistance
  • Business banking relationship assistance


Twin Cities-Metro Certified Development Company »
Twin Cities-Metro CDC has provided more than a billion dollars in financing to thousands of small business owners through the Small Business Association’s 504 loan program. The SBA 504 loan program works in combination with participating financial institutions. It provides financing to acquire or expand owner-occupied commercial real estate or to purchase capital equipment. Advantages include:

  • Low down payment – typically 10% of total project cost.
  • 90% financing – up to $4 million for manufacturers
  • Longer repayment term – up to 20 years for real estate
  • Low interest rate fixed for entire term of Loan.


East Central Regional Development Commission (ECRDC) »
The Community and Economic Development division of this public agency provides gap financing loans, seeks funding, provides land use planning and zoning assistance, develops housing studies, and coordinates several region-wide economic development initiatives.

  • The Revolving Loan Fund provides gap financing to businesses locating or expanding in Isanti and neighboring counties. It covers building construction, conversion or enlargement; equipment; modernization costs; start-up operating costs; and working capital.


Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development »
DEED sponsors several low-interest funding programs designed to create and retain high quality jobs.

  • The Minnesota Investment Fund awards grants to local units of government which provide loans to expanding local industrial, manufacturing and technology-related industries. Loans of up to $500,000 may be used for land, buildings, infrastructure improvements, equipment or training.
  • Small Business Development Loans create jobs and provide loans for business expansions. Loans are funded through the issuance of industrial development bonds backed by a state-funded reserve.


Small Business Development Center (SBDC) »
The SBDC fosters economic growth in the region by providing information and professional business consulting at no cost to qualified business owners and prospective business owners. In addition, the SBDC partners with Anoka Ramsey Community College and other local organizations to offer business related training opportunities at a reasonable cost to attendees. Contact Greg Bergman at 218-855-8145 or the Small Business Development Center.


“We are strongly committed to creating good jobs in the Cambridge area.”

— Terry Grabau, Community Development Manager East Central Energy