New Birmingham funds will support area businesses

RISE program will help with growth and retention

The Birmingham City Council and Mayor Randall L. Woodfin have approved the creation of a program that establishes two funds to provide resources for businesses.

Retention Incentives for Success and Expansion, or RISE, will support the growth and retention of Birmingham-based businesses.

“The health and longevity of our local businesses are a priority,” Woodfin said. “A strong business community makes for a strong economy and a thriving city. I am committed to supporting the success of our business owners.”

Here’s how it works, according to the city:  Every time the city has a sales transaction that results from a price in excess of market value, a transaction that is tied to a redevelopment agreement or is considered a surplus asset, 7% will be used to fund two new programs. Four percent will be used for a cash incentive fund and 3% will be for a revolving loan fund.

“Many municipalities have focused on recruitment efforts, but not necessarily retention and expansion,” said Cornell Wesley, director of the Department for Innovation and Economic Opportunity. “There have been calls made but there are typically no incentives to assist in their remaining and growing in Birmingham.”

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Businesses will be eligible for money from these funds if they are retaining their employee base and operate within Birmingham. Startups that create at least five full-time jobs or a small business that was declined a loan will also be considered. The cash fund will be mainly for supporting legacy businesses, while the revolving loans are targeted to help small businesses.

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