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Financing your Business

Now that you have an established business (two or more years in operation) and have demonstrated that your business is fiscally sound, you might be considering the next stage of your business. Need more working capital? Looking to upgrade your equipment? Then a business loan might be the right choice for you.

To qualify for a business loan, owners typically must demonstrate the five “Cs” of lending: capital (owner’s monetary contribution to loan), capacity (ability to repay debt), collateral (assets in case of default), cash flow (ability to pay business costs while leaving sufficient operating cash) and character (owner’s experience and financial credit).

Financial Planning Assistance
For free help on how to qualify for a business loan or the requirements for putting together a successful loan package, visit our financial planning page.

Attend a Business Financial Workshop
Consider attending a business workshop to sharpen your financial skills.

Sources of Financing

Your local bank or credit union
You’re in a good position to apply for a loan now because most banks only provide funding to businesses with a track record of two or more years. If you can demonstrate your business has value and tangible assets as collateral, banks are more interested in doing business with you.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans
SBA Loans are intended to assist businesses that might not otherwise qualify for a traditional commercial bank business loan. These loans are guaranteed by the SBA, a federal agency, and are administered by participating commercial lenders, not the government. Similar to a commercial bank business loan, all applicants must have equity, ability to repay the loan and management skills. Interest rates are typically higher than commercial bank business loans since SBA loans approve higher risk borrowers. Visit the SBA website for a list of participating SBA lenders in Tacoma and click on “Find a Lender”.

City of Tacoma Business Loans
For information on City of Tacoma business loans, contact Jacinda Steltjes at 253.591.5221 or

City of Tacoma Fire Safety Loan
The City launched the Fire Safety Loan to make it easier for businesses and commercial property owners to meet current fire and life safety requirements. Loan amounts range from $5,000 – $50,000, with a fixed two percent interest rate and 10-year term. Loans can be used for fire detection systems, fire suppression systems, kitchen hoods and to fulfill other fire and life-safety requirements. Click here for more information.

City of Tacoma Grow America Fund (GAF)
In cooperation with the National Development Council, the City of Tacoma created a revolving business loan program—Grow America Fund—to assist local businesses. The GAF provides loans to established businesses (with $100,000 – $2 million in annual revenue) that are unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through normal lending channels. As with most business loans, the owner must provide equity and show ability to repay the loan. The advantage of a GAF loan is that there is more flexibility in lending requirements compared to more traditional commercial business loans.

City of Tacoma Small Business Loan Program
The Small Business Loan Program is funded by the Federal Housing and Urban Development Department and the Department of Commerce. It offers gap financing when businesses need extra funding in addition to their commercial bank loan. Loan amounts range from $25,000 – $250,000. Loans offer 10-year terms with favorable interest rates. In order to qualify, the business must retain or create one job for every $100,000 borrowed. As with most business loans, the owner must provide equity and collateral and show ability to repay loan. Business must provide 10-20 percent in equity. Click here for more information.

City of Tacoma Business Façade Improvement Loan
The Business Façade Improvement Loan Program (BFILP) is designed to remove blight, beautify storefronts and improve older neighborhood business districts. This program provides gap financing, which is used in combination with the borrower’s other financial resources. Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $50,000, with a 3 percent fixed interest rate and 10-year term. Loan proceeds can be used for façade improvements such as windows, doors, paint, awnings, security alarms, signage, light fixtures and other exterior enhancements made to commercial buildings. Click here for more information.

City of Tacoma Historic Rehabilitation and Repair Loan
The Historic Rehabilitation and Repair Loan Program (HRRLP) is designed to encourage the rehabilitation, preservation and adaptive reuse of commercial and retail buildings that are listed on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. This program provides gap financing, which is used in combination with the borrower’s other financial resources. Loan amounts range from $20,000 to $100,000, with a fixed interest rate equal to the 10-year U.S. Treasury Note plus 1%. The maximum loan term is 10 years. Loan proceeds can be used for envelope improvements such as windows, doors, paint, awnings, security alarms, signage, light fixtures and other exterior enhancements made to historic commercial buildings. Proceeds can also be used to address the building’s plumbing, electrical or mechanical systems. Click here for more information.

Pierce County Small Business Loans
Pierce County administers several business loan programs, including microloans and loans for established businesses. Contact Sheree Clark at 253.798.6916 or

Community Development Organizations
There are several community development organizations that provide loans to achieve a community benefit. These loans typically have higher interest rates compared to traditional banks or SBA loans.

  • BusinessImpactNW
     BusinessImpactNW will offer loans to startups. SBA loan amounts range from $2,500 to $50,000. Non-SBA loans range from $2,500 – $100,000. BIN finances equipment; furniture and fixtures;manufacturing and technology-based production needs; working capital; purchase or tenant improvements to commercial property; franchises;cash flow restructuring;and more. BIN has a Veterans specific loan program and a Women’s Business Center.
    Address: 1437 S Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98144
  • CRAFT3 (formerly Enterprise Cascadia)
    Craft3 offers loans to low-income, minority, women or immigrant-owned businesses, non-profits, and businesses that create family wage jobs. Loans are available for commercial real estate, start-ups and expansions, working capital, energy-efficiency work, acquisitions, inventory, fixtures, equipment and related business property. Start-up loan amounts range from $10,000 to $250,000.Craft3 has a Native American specific loan program.CRAFT3 is on site at the City of Tacoma’s Offices by appointment
    Contact: Walter Acuna at 206.447.9226 ext 112 or email            Address: 401 Second Avenue South, Suite 301, Seattle, WA 98104

Business Builder Loans are loans designed for startups, existing businesses, or purchasing an established business. Loan amounts range from $5,001 to $35,000.
Contact: 206.352.1945 or
Address: 2100 24th Ave S., Suite 380, Seattle, WA 98144


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Biz Spotlight:

Morgan Hepfer

Crossfit Tacoma

In Business Since 2008
Number of Employees 12

After living and teaching with his wife in Thailand for three years, Morgan Danger Hepfer developed a healthy addiction to CrossFit, a strength and conditioning exercise program. He decided to return to Tacoma and open a CrossFit gym to share his passion with the community. After researching the industry he discovered there were no other CrossFit gyms in the city and with Joint Base Lewis McChord nearby, Tacoma was the perfect market. In October 2008, he moved his business out of his garage and into CrossFit Tacoma’s current location on South 4th and Fawcett Streets between the Stadium district and downtown.

Morgan’s mission is to improve how Tacoma moves, eats and plays. As you walk into the gym, there are gymnastic rings and climbing ropes hanging from the ceiling, a pegboard wall for climbing and lots of information about eating a nutritious “Paleo” diet. Morgan recently opened a second CrossFit location on Pine Street and South Tacoma Way due to the success of his original downtown location.

While successful on the outside, Morgan remains humble on the inside and has no problem acknowledging he has never run a business before. “I had no idea you had to pay taxes quarterly,” he laughs. “I started getting letters telling me I was past due on payments. So I walked into the City’s Tax and License department with my tail between my legs expecting to get in trouble. But instead, when I explained the situation to the staff, they were very understanding, walked me through the process of how and when to pay my taxes and even reduced my fines!” He said of the staff, “They went way beyond what I expected. They were forgiving and accommodating.”

Morgan finds it refreshing that people in Tacoma really love the city. He has always had a heart for the underdog and finds people of the same nature in Tacoma. There is so much pride in Tacoma, so many people willing to and wanting to improve it, he says. “Tacoma is a multi-dimensional city with a no-nonsense attitude, a hard edge,” according to Morgan. A perfect fit for CrossFit.