Charlottesville Business Equity Fund

The City of Charlottesville Business Equity Fund (BEF) is a loan program for existing City of Charlottesville businesses that are owned by individuals who are considered socially disadvantaged (i.e., those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as members of a group). The BEF, administered in partnership with the Community Investment Collaborative (CIC), lowers eligibility criteria typically experienced in traditional banking scenarios and offers a subsidized interest rate that is well below the market rate (up to 3%).

Please note: This is a loan, NOT a grant. Businesses should expect to pay back the loan.

Who is eligible?

  • Existing businesses with 6 months of revenue history who have a City of Charlottesville business license
  • Business owners must meet the requirements of the Business Equity Fund


  • Loans up to $25,000
  • Terms range 1-5 years
  • Interest rates range from 0% – 3%. Discounts to the starting rate of 3% are available based on the following:
    • Being a graduate of our Entrepreneur Workshop (3 percentage points)
    • Being a long term client of the SBDC (2 percentage points)
    • Being a long term client of SCORE (1 percentage points)
    • Having a co-signer on the loan (1 percentage point)
  • Closing fees will be $200 or 2% of the loan amount, as determined by CIC
  • Personal guarantees required on all loans

Eligible Uses of Loan Funds:

  • Operating Capital
  • Land or Building Acquisition
  • New Construction
  • Property Rehabilitation or Improvements
  • Purchase of Equipment, Supplies, and Materials
  • Inventory for Resale

Application Process & Required Documentation

All loan applicants must be pre-qualified by the City of Charlottesville Minority Business Program. Pre-qualification does not guarantee approval, but only confirms eligibility for the reduced rates. Follow these steps to qualify and apply:

  1. Contact the City of Charlottesville Minority Business Program at or (434) 970-3117. They will review this checklist and then refer you to CIC to begin the loan application process.
  2. Once referred by the City, you’ll receive an email invitation to begin your application in Lenderfit within 1 business day. 
  3. In Lenderfit:
    1. Complete your loan application
    2. The following documentation will be needed for a complete application
      1. Business Plan and Cash Flow Projections
      2. Existing businesses should submit financial statements and business bank statements
      3. Last two years of tax returns
      4. Personal Bank Statements
    3. Schedule phone call/site visit with CIC staff
  4. Complete applications submitted by the first of the month should have a decision within 4-5 weeks.

Interested in additional financing options with CIC?