The Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) was established in 2004. The KIZ has had a profound impact on innovation and entrepreneurship in Bethlehem by offering critical financial resources and assistance to early-stage startup companies. To date, the KIZ has invested over $8 million dollars in 100 companies since the program’s inception. Funding is available through a variety of programs, including commercialization and student internship grants, partnerships with Lehigh University and Northampton Community College, and sellable tax credits based on increased revenue.
Pi: Partnership for Innovation is a technology center in the heart of Southside Bethlehem. The recently renovated space has transformed the second floor of an old silk mill into 8 private suites ranging from 100 to 2,000 sq. ft. Affordable full service lease rates, combined with the loft-style ceilings, an industrial vibe, a shared conference room, and access to the Southside Bethlehem KIZ program presents an attractive option for startup companies. Close proximity to Lehigh University, Northampton Community College, and Moravian College provides endless opportunities for collaboration. Pi was designed to allow for companies to start up and establish themselves and find more traditional space within the community.
Site Selection Assistance
Whether you’re choosing a neighborhood for your business, or trying to identify the best use for a property that you own- the City of Bethlehem Department of Community & Economic Development can help. Our staff can help businesses identify appropriate locations or neighborhoods for a business, propose locations that best meet their needs, help existing businesses locate larger facilities or additional locations, and review potential sites under consideration by a business to identify any issues before a lease or sale. The staff can also provide maps of incentive zones such as the Enterprise Zone, KIZ, LERTA, and CRIZ, and confirm your eligibility for these services and programs. Through our work with organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Business Association, and Historic Bethlehem Partnership, we promote the quality of life and business in the City of Bethlehem.
We work with entrepreneurs and business owners in helping to facilitate their business ideas. Our experienced staff can guide you through the vast number of State financing programs and grants available to business. Other assistance includes help with determining licenses, permits and regulatory requirements, available financing, and any other steps necessary to build and maintain a business and vibrant business climate.
Small Business Loan Fund
The Bethlehem Small Business Loan Fund provides financing to eligible business in order to create jobs for people who earn up to 80% of Bethlehem’s median income as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These loans are intended to be utilized as gap-financing in conjunction with other traditional funding options. Funds range from $25,000-100,000 and can be used for acquisition of property, construction, substantial renovations, and equipment purchases. Borrowers must create one full-time equivalent position for each $35,000 borrowed within three years of the loan, and submit semi-annual financial statements and employment statistics.
The Small Business Loan is administered by the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund at CACLV. For more information on the Loan Fund, please contact Chris Hudock at (484) 893-1039
Exterior Building Improvement Loan Fund
The Exterior Building Improvement Loan Fund is designed to properly correct building exterior deficiencies, code violations, and to incorporate overall improvements to the building stock in our business districts. While the façade is the primary focus, improvements to the roof, sidewalks and other visible areas of the building are of importance to the integrity of the overall building and to the public safety. The Exterior Improvement Loan Program’s strength is in its ability to address the requirements of clean, safe, affordable building ownership while preserving the architectural significance of the building. Grants up to $20,000 are available for the installation of ADA compliant fixtures or the removal of barriers to ADA compliance. An additional $60,000 is available at prime minus .5% over 5 to 7 years for other improvements.
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