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Access to Capital

Loan Programs through the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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

The CIE also works with a large network of technical assistance providers and partners to help your business start, improve, and grow. No matter what your business needs, we are here to help.


COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Loan Program

The URA is temporarily easing and streamlining its Micro-Enterprise Loan Program to support up to 30, 0% loans for small businesses that are not currently URA borrowers. Details of this product: 

  • Up to an additional $15,000
  • Loan proceeds may be used for rent, payroll, and other approved fixed monthly business expenses
  • 0% interest rate, no fees
  • 3-year term, 6 months no payments, 2 ½-year fully amortizing after payment deferral period
  • For existing small businesses (not startups) located in the City of Pittsburgh

To apply, please use the following procedures:


COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program

The PA Industrial Development Authority's (PIDA) COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA), supplies working capital to businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers 0% loans for up to $100,000 for working capital expenditures. 

The URA, through its affiliate Pittsburgh Economic Industrial Development Corporation, is administering the PIDA's COVID Working Capital Assistance (CWCA) program.

Learn more


Pittsburgh Business Growth Fund (PBGF)

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

Program Summary

Program Guidelines


Pittsburgh Entrepreneur Fund (PEF)

This fund provides 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.

Program Summary

Program Guidelines

View our investment portfolio here.


Business Energy Savings Program

As an incentive to help your small- or medium-sized business 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.

Progam Summary

Program Guidelines


Pittsburgh Enterprise Zone Revolving Loan Fund

This program is designed to stimulate the growth of new and existing businesses in the City of Pittsburgh. The EZRLF provides market-rate gap financing to small businesses based on determination of need, where the applicant is unable to finance fully the proposed project with equity, bank financing and other private and public financing.

Program Guidelines


Urban Development Fund

The Urban Development Fund provides gap financing for the acquisition of land and/or buildings, construction and/or rehabilitation, and soft costs related to development.

Program Guidelines


PIDA Loans

The Pittsburgh Economic & Industrial Development Corporation, an affiliate of the URA, is certified to facilitate PIDA loans. PIDA loans are available to assist borrowers for a wide variety of uses and for many types of businesses. They range from under $100,000 to $2M. Interest rates are competitive and loan terms are from 3 to 15 years depending on the use. 



New Markets Tax Credit Loan Fund (NMLF)

The NMLF Program is designed to stimulate the growth of new and existing businesses in the City of Pittsburgh. It utilizes New Markets Tax Credits through Pittsburgh Urban Initiatives (PUI). The program targets manufacturing, distribution, and technology- and innovation-based, high job growth potential companies.

Area Eligibility: All NMLF projects must be located within the City of Pittsburgh's eligible NMTC areas. See here if your area qualifies.

Program Summary

Program Guidelines


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 the funds to other borrowers. Additional funding resources can be found on

How do I start the application process?

Contact a CIE loan officer at 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 qualified to handle your project professionally and responsibly.

Success Stories

In 2018, the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship worked with businesses to accomplish the following:

  • Provided 38 URA loans
  • Invested $4.1M
  • Financed 60% MWBE businesses 
  • Created/retained a minimum 400 jobs 

Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Located in the formerly vacant YMCA building in East Liberty, the Ace Hotel benefited from several URA financing programs and strategic partnerships for its historic preservation and creative adaptive use.

Smallman Galley

The URA provided a $150,000 loan to help fund the Strip District food hall and restaurant incubator to bring valuable business experience to aspiring chefs and restaurateurs.

Proud Company

The Proud Company provides manufacturers, utility companies and other industrial technology users with complete industrial automation services. It utilized $1.92 million in New Market Tax Credits, provided by the URA through Pittsburgh Urban Initiatives, to help finance its renovation of a 23,000-square foot facility in the West End.


Thread was established to engage in the circular economy, taking waste and recreating it into new, usable, wearable fabrics. The company has created jobs in Haiti, Honduras, and Pittsburgh. Thread received a Pittsburgh Entrepreneur Fund loan from the URA to assist in operations, including the creation of five new full time jobs in East Liberty.


TravelWits helps vacation-goers plan trips based on budget, transit options, parking rates, and hotel and flight costs by searching hundreds of options to provide a menu of trip packages that can be booked with limited planning and research. Based in Oakland, TravelWits received a Pittsburgh Entrepreneur Fund loan to hire three new software developers and a customer service representative.

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