Policy

What is the State Small Business Credit Initiative?

October 18, 2023
The Carta Policy Team

The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is a U.S. government program that provides funding to small businesses, including certain startups and venture capital funds. 

The idea behind the SSBCI is simple: If a business obtains a baseline of funding or support from a federal program, it will be more likely to attract funding from additional private lenders and investors. 

How does SSBCI funding work? 

The federal government does not distribute SSBCI funding directly to small businesses. Rather, it provides SSBCI grant money to participating U.S. states, territories, and tribal governments. Those governments then administer the funds as they decide within the parameters set out by the federal program (and the law that authorizes it). 

Businesses can apply for SSBCI funding by determining which types of funding programs their state offers and contacting the relevant program offices. 

While this structure allows each of the states to create programs to address barriers to capital access specific to their jurisdictions, it also means the SSBCI programs all have different objectives and different requirements for eligibility. 

Types of SSBCI funding

Every state decides how to allocate its share of federal funds and administers them through a designated office at a state agency. These programs provide various sorts of financial support for small businesses. 

The programs encompass five main categories:

  • Equity and venture capital programs use SSBCI funds to make direct equity investments in underserved founders and venture fund managers. Equity and venture capital programs may also focus on a specific industry or investment stage.

  • Loan participation programs supplement private lending by using SSBCI funds to purchase a portion of a private loan or supply an additional loan alongside one issued by a private lender.

  • Loan guarantee programs give small businesses access to more lending options by using SSBCI funds to reduce a lender’s exposure to a loan.

  • Collateral support programs give small businesses cash collateral that enables them to take out larger loans or additional loans.

  • Capital access programs establish loan loss reserve funds to insure private lending to small businesses. 

History of the SSBCI 

Congress first established the SSBCI in 2010 to promote small business entrepreneurship and provided $1.5 billion in funding for state programs intended to expand access to capital, particularly for small businesses in underrepresented regions and communities following the Great Recession. Congress reauthorized and expanded the SSBCI with $10 billion in funding in 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Participants in the original SSBCI program were able to attract $8.95 in private capital for every dollar of SSBCI funding they received. The Treasury Department estimates that this figure will rise to $10 under the expanded program.

SSBCI applications by state

SSBCI application requirements vary by state and program. You can find a complete state-by-state list of SSBCI programs here.

For ease of reference, below follows a summary table for equity and VC programs in some of the states with the largest VC ecosystems. (Note that not every participating state has created an equity/VC program.)

State

Agency

Programs administered

California

California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank

IBank Expanding Venture Capital Access

(Includes the Emerging California Initiative, Inclusive California Initiative, and California Co-investment Initiative.) 


Contact for all programs: SSBCI@IBank.ca.gov

Delaware

Delaware Early Stage VC Program

Delaware Early-Stage VC Program


Contact: regina.mitchell@ 

delaware.gov

Florida

Florida Department of Commerce (FloridaCommerce) & Enterprise Florida, Inc.

Florida Venture Capital Program


Contact: SSBCI@DEO.MyFlorida.com

Georgia

Invest Georgia

Georgia Venture Capital Program
Georgia Equity Direct Program

Contact: SSBCI.Manager@dca.ga.gov 

Massachusetts 

MassVentures 

MassVentures Deep Tech Diversity Venture FundContact: https://www.mass-ventures.com/contact 

New York

Empire State Development

Emerging and Regional Manager Multi-Fund Program

Contact: NYSManagerFundRFA@esd.ny.gov


Pre-Seed and Seed Investment Matching Program

Contact: NYVenturesPreSeed@esd.ny.gov

Washington

Washington State Venture Capital Fund

Washington State Venture Capital Fund


Contact: Linda.Womack@Commerce.WA.Gov 

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