Loan Programs

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) offers a variety of financing products for commercial real estate development and small and medium size business development. These are gap financing products and work in conjunction with private equity and private debt to help businesses close the financing for their business growth and expansion.

Our programs are specifically designed to meet the needs of small businesses, growing businesses, and urban / infill real estate development. CIE programs work with every sort of financing including private banks, new markets tax credits, historic tax credits, and more. A loan from the CIE reduces risk and frees up cash flow by reducing the equity requirement and reducing the bank’s exposure.

The CIE also employs a large network of technical assistance providers and partners to help business start, improve, and grow. No matter what the business need, we can help.

For more information on how a loan through the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship can work for you, please view our sample deals and loan structures.

How to Apply

A loan officer at the CIE can provide a loan application and walk you through the loan application process.

If you are a business owner, a CIE loan officer will work with you to understand your business and financing needs, identify the best product to meet your needs, and help you work with a private lender to structure and package your financing. If you are a private lender, a CIE loan officer can work with you to match your client with the appropriate CIE financing product, reduce your risk and exposure, and coordinate the approval and closing process with your own.

The CIE is committed to making the loan application, approval and closing process as efficient as possible and will work as quickly as the borrower and private lender are able.

The CIE does not have exclusive relationships with any private lenders. The CIE will work with any private lender in order to make their financing package work.

How to Qualify and Underwriting Criteria

The CIE wants your business to succeed, and will work closely with all borrowers to make sure their business is prepared to handle for debt financing and will be able pay the debt back. Please use Borrowing 101, as a guide to help you understand the CIE's underwriting process.

The CIE examines traditional core attributes of borrowers when making financing decisions like:

In addition to these criteria, the CIE looks to invest in projects that are improving blighted buildings, creating jobs, and are revitalizing communities.

Program Guidelines and Summaries

The CIE offers a range of programs for eligible businesses in different industries or areas. We will match your business growth needs with the appropriate financing tool.

INELIGIBLE BUSINESSES: Bars, adult entertainment, non-profits, banks, savings & loan associations, and non-independently owned gas stations are generally not eligible for Urban Redevelopment Authority financing programs.

Learn more about the loan review and process steps necessary when obtaining a loan through the URA.

Business Energy Savings Program

As an incentive to help your small or medium sized businesses become more energy efficient, the URA offers the Business Energy Savings Loan Program. Under this program, you can receive a $400 grant toward an Energy Audit of your business and low interest financing up to $50,000. Most importantly, this will help you lower your utility bills and save money. Based on a recent Pilot study, businesses saved an average of 15 percent or $3,000 per year on their utility bills! Additional savings may be available through Duquesne Light's "Watts Choice" program rebates.

Urban Development Fund

Financing for non-owner occupied real estate developments in the City of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Business Growth Fund

Financing for small and medium sized businesses for working capital, equipment, and leasehold improvements.

Pittsburgh Entrepreneur Fund

Financing for new and growing emerging technology-based firms, including Technology, Life Sciences, Sustainable / Green and other emerging industry clusters for working capital, laboratory, computer, and scientific equipment, leasehold improvements, real estate, and investments to lower energy usage.

The Downtown Upstairs Fund

Financing to stimulate the economic revitalization of Downtown Pittsburgh by creating the opportunity for Downtown housing and office space amongst the buildings with vacant upper floors. These developments will create a diverse, lower cost supply of housing and office space that will attract residents and office tenants to Downtown.

SBA 504

Long-term fixed rate financing for owner occupied real estate development and business financing.


In addition, the CIE can package state Small Business First and Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund applications. See for these guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the sources of funds for the CIE loan programs?

Typically our products are funded by Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) programs that were initially seeded by Federal Community Development Block Grants or funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. By utilizing RLFs, the CIE can re-lend its limited dollars several times to many different borrowers.

Why doesn’t the CIE have grant programs?

The CIE has extremely limited dollars for unlimited business and community needs. In order to sustain CIE programs, we must utilize loan programs that will be re-paid in order to re-lend funds to other borrowers. Sources of venture capital and small grant opportunities can be found in the resources section.

How do I start the application process?

Contact a CIE loan officer at or 412-255-6669.

How long is the application, underwriting, and closing process?

The length of the process depends on the project. However, the CIE is committed to working as quickly as the borrower and private lender are able to package, underwrite and close the financing. Typically the process will take 30-90 days.

What is the CIE’s capacity to carry out these programs?

The CIE staff includes professional loan officers that have the same professional credentials as private lenders, engineers, legal staff, finance professionals, and professional management staff. We are uniquely capable of handling your project professionally and responsibly.

To discuss your business financing needs with a Loan Officer, contact Tom Link, Manager, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at 412.255.6669 or .