SOMERVILLE – The City of Somerville—the ‘Innovation City’—is supporting the growth of next-generation industries that will fuel the 21st century economy with the creation of the Somerville Innovation Fund (the I-Fund), a $1 million loan program to support the growth of innovative businesses in the city.
Businesses expanding in Somerville that feature innovation in their purpose, operation, products or services, or other demonstrable aspect of their operation, can apply for loans from $25,000 up to $500,000 to support working capital purposes. With flexible terms and interest rates based on a full evaluation of each company, these loans support the special borrowing needs of expanding businesses. Priority for the loans goes to projects that create jobs, leverage other financing, and are located in designated economic opportunity areas.
Similar to the $300,000 working capital loan that the City of Somerville provided to Greentown Labs for its expansion into Somerville, I-Fund loans contain requirements that the business must hire new employees within one year, that not less than 51 percent of new jobs must be available to persons who meet low- moderate-income guidelines, and that the business must agree to make a good faith effort to hire Somerville residents for all available job opportunities.
“If Somerville is going to compete in the new industrial renaissance, we have to support those businesses that will form the foundation of the 21st century economy. We launched our Future Economies Commission specifically to ensure that Somerville is at the forefront of the next generation of economic opportunities,” Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said. “These loans directly support job creation in the city, while also planting the seeds that will lead to the revitalization of the city’s industrial and business districts and unlock other important economic opportunities for our city. These growing businesses are looking to Somerville, because it’s a city that supports originality, creativity and innovation.”
This innovation initiative is supported by funds that have been allocated for economic development activities, using the Community Development Block Grant program and other existing sources. Loan proceeds must be used for working capital for business expansion purposes and cannot be used for building construction or real estate acquisition. The program is administered by the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning & Community Investment (OSCPD), which makes final decisions on all aspects of the program.