WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary C. Peters, and Congressman John Conyers, Jr., announced the allocation of $8.9 million from the Community Development Block Grant Declared Disaster Recovery Fund (DDR) to the City of Detroit. The funds will help Detroit become better prepared for future floods and other natural disasters, and assist with planning and implementation costs associated with resilient projects in the Brightmoor, Mt. Elliot and McDougall-Hunt neighborhoods, stemming from August 2014 flooding damage.

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The level of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding increased by $40.4 billion in the first quarter of 2015, as all four major investor groups increased their holdings, according to a release from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The new 1st quarter numbers represent a 1.5 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2014.

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Are you looking for ways to find new investors for your project?  What if you could provide something better than a return.  If you have ever been to a GDF seminar, then you know that the three major components to any funding deal are:

1.  Job Creation

2. Provides Economic Development Activities

3.  Shovel Ready

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WASHINGTON: In a long awaited announcement several months late, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced more than $3.5 billion in New Markets Tax Credit awards aimed at stimulating investment and economic growth in low-income urban neighborhoods and rural communities nationwide. A total of 76 organizations (Allocatees) across the country will receive tax credit allocation authority under the 2014 round of the New Markets Tax Credit Program.

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced $29 million in grants to help approximately 1,200 extremely low-income persons and families living with HIV/AIDS annually. These grants provide a combination of housing assistance and supportive services for this vulnerable population.

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WASHINGTON - The US Department of Agriculture announced the launch of two new private funds, known as Rural Business Investment Companies (RBICs), which make equity investments in rural businesses, helping them grow and create jobs. This announcement is part of USDA's ongoing efforts to help attract private sector capital to investment opportunities in rural America to help drive more economic growth in rural communities.

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By:  Ari Page

I never advocate that anyone borrow just to borrow. But if you need capital to make payroll or invest in something that you know will reap a short-term profit, then you need access to capital. In the past few years, even though money has been tight, there have always been options. Banks always need to lend to stay in business. You just need to know where to look.

Act I: Grandmother Isn’t Always Right

One of Steve Martin’s earliest routines went something like this. “I’ll never forget what my grandmother taught me. She said ‘Always…,’ no wait, ‘Never…,’ no it was, ‘Always…take a litter bag in your car. It doesn’t take up much room and when it gets full you can just toss it out the window.’”

That comes to mind when I hear people say things like, “Never…amass credit card debt.” If you can get better terms on a credit card than on a bank loan or a mortgage, than heck yeah you should amass credit card debt.  If you borrow on a credit card at X% interest and make Y% with that money, where Y is greater than X, then let’s do that all day long!

And guess what.  Ever since the current economic outlook improved and the market eased up, banks have been looking various ways to increase their earnings. Banks and federal associations are not quite as anal in their approach to risk, and want to find ways to generate some more business. The result is that some avenues of acquiring financing are now easier than ever.

One of the easiest, and, if done correctly, least expensive ways to get financing is via credit cards. I know this flies in the face of everything we’ve ever been told. Sure, many credit card companies still charge near-usurious interest rates, and most of us would be hard-pressed to make good use of capital at 20% and higher interest. But guess what. There are thousands of credit card offers at favorable rates for small businesses.

In fact, when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released their 19th annual “Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices” during the period ending June 30, 2013, they reported that among all loan products, credit cards had the greatest easing of underwriting standards.

Act II: Sometimes Things Too Good to Be True Are, in Fact, True

You’ve gotten another no interest credit card offer in the mail.  “Sure,” you sardonically think. “Add in those hidden fees and crazy post-promotional-period interest rates and I’ll be giving them my house, car and boat in 12 months.”

But many of these offers are bonafide, great deals!  And if you can benefit from access to financing, you should jump on these.

“But how does that even make sense for the bank?” you might say.  Excellent question. The thing is, if banks don’t lend money, they don’t make money. Banks themselves can borrow at historic lows (they borrow at near zero percent from the Federal Reserve!), so they have access to lots of capital. Add this to the notion that banks have a lot of ways to make money, and you can start to see how this makes sense.

Banks want to have a relationship with you - and if they already have a relationship with you, they want to surround you with services that will keep you from going to the competition.  So, providing you with great credit card offers costs them very little, and allows them to start shoving other promotions into your mailbox.

Moreover, although many zero percent interest terms appear to be capped, I am here to tell you unequivocally that if you know what you’re doing, that’s just not the case. Banks hope you’re not savvy enough to realize that if you know who to talk to and what to say, you can keep rolling over zero interest introductory offers for the foreseeable future. Business owners are the “crème de la crème” in the banking community and can take advantage of special promotional codes and techniques that aren’t available to the regular borrower.

Act III: Get Some

Here are some things you can do to take advantage of low- and zero-interest credit cards.

1. If you don’t have a business entity, get one. It’s easy to acquire and anyone can do it. You want to be smart about it, as some entities are far more lendable than others. For example, having Marketing/Advertising or Business Management in your business name, indicates you are (on average) a better risk than someone with Real Estate in their title.  There are also important nuances in terms of what type of entity you set up.

2. Know how to elucidate what your business does. If you’re stuttering, stammering or seem unsure of your business, don’t expect the bank to lend to you.

3. If you have personal credit issues, get them cleaned up. There are many agencies, such as Kaydem Credit Help, that can assist you.

4. Search the web for credit card offers for businesses.

5. Do your homework to sort through various offers, identifying any hidden fees.

6. Explore existing relationships and see what they’re willing to do. I once went to my bank to open up a checking account and was offered a $17,000 credit card for being a loyal customer.

7. Consider requesting line increases or exploring promotional rates for those cards that you already have. Many banks won’t hesitate to reward good customers with increased credit lines.

Ari Page is CEO of Credit Card Builders, a company that helps small businesses raise unsecured, zero percent business financing. A voracious reader, Ari constantly scours the market for new techniques and strategies to identify creative and profitable borrowing strategies. Because of his unique insight and approach, Credit Card Builders has raised millions in funding for small businesses nationwide, with the average amount ranging from between $50,000 and $250,000.

On Wednesday, I’m hosting a free webinar with Ari about how you can get business funding.

Register For Free Webinar:
“How to Get $25,000 - $250,000
To Start or Grow Your Business”

Make sure to Register and reserve your spot on the webinar training before it fills up (space is limited).

Join me Wednesday 3/4, for a free webinar:


WASHINGTON – The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that for the second year, the SBA is launching an Accelerator Growth Fund competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each, totaling $4 million. The application period is from April 10-June 1 and information about the application process can be found at:

“We’re launching a second Accelerator Growth Fund competition to spur even greater opportunities for America’s small businesses,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.  “Last year’s event was so successful, we’re looking forward to discovering and empowering the next trailblazers.  Accelerators provide valuable resources to potential startups: a physical infrastructure to work in their infancy, mentoring, business-plan assistance, networking, opportunities to obtain venture capital, and introductions to potential customers, partners and suppliers—all critical elements to ensuring that small businesses flourish and succeed.”

Similar to last year’s competition, several panels containing expert judges from the private and public sector with collective experience in early stage investing, entrepreneurship, academia, start-ups and economic development will select the winners.  The competition includes accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, shared tinker-spaces or other models.  The panel will give particular attention to, applicants that fill geographic gaps in the accelerator and entrepreneurial ecosystem space.

Through this competition, the SBA is looking to support the development of accelerators and their support of startups in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of access to capital (i.e., venture capital and other investors).

In addition, the SBA is also seeking accelerators headed by women and those that support them or other underrepresented groups. Thirty-two percent of last year’s accelerator winners were run by women and 14 percent were classified as underrepresented groups.

Manufacturing accelerator models will be given special consideration during this year’s competition, because they are critical to job growth and strengthening the nation’s economy.

Please click hereDownload Adobe Reader to read this link content for the Accelerator Growth Fact Sheet and specifics on how to apply and the timeline for 2015’s competition.

ORLANDO, Fla., April 1, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has awarded $31.5 million in funding to local, state, and national organizations to support programs that help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increase their purchase of fruits and vegetables. Recognizing that all Americans fall well short of the servings of fruits and vegetables recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the grants will test incentive strategies to help SNAP participants better afford fruits and vegetables. These grants were made through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The Secretary, who made the announcement at the Freshfields Farm market in Orlando, said, "Encouraging low income families to put more healthy food in their grocery baskets is part of USDA's ongoing commitment to improving the diet and health of all Americans." Vilsack continued, "These creative community partnerships also benefit regional food producers and local economies along with SNAP participants."

FINI is a joint effort between USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees SNAP and has responsibility for evaluating the effectiveness of the incentive projects. FINI brings together stakeholders from distinct parts of the food system and fosters understanding of how they might improve the nutrition and health status of SNAP households. The awards under FINI represent a variety of projects, including relatively small pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, and larger-scale multi-year projects.

USDA is funding projects in 26 states for up to 4 years, using funds from FY2014 and FY2015. USDA will issue a separate request for applications in FY16, and in subsequent years. Fiscal year 2014 and 2015 awards are:

Pilot projects (up to $100,000, not to exceed 1 year):

  • Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services, Woodland, Calif., $100,000
  • Heritage Ranch, Inc., Honaunau, Hawaii, $100,000
  • Backyard Harvest, Inc., Moscow, Idaho, $10,695
  • City of Aurora, Aurora, Ill., $30,000
  • Forsyth Farmers' Market, Inc., Savannah, Ga., $50,000
  • Blue Grass Community Foundation, Lexington, Ky., $47,250
  • Lower Phalen Creek Project, Saint Paul, Minn., $45,230
  • Vermont Farm-to-School, Inc., Newport, V.T., $93,750
  • New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association, Santa Fe, N.M., $99,999
  • Santa Fe Community Foundation, Santa Fe, N.M., $100,000
  • Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services, Greensboro, N.C., $99,987
  • Chester County Food Bank, Exton, Pa., $76,543
  • Nurture Nature Center, Easton, Pa., $56,918
  • Rodale Institute, Kutztown, Pa., $46,442
  • Rhode Island Public Health Institute, Providence, R.I., $100,000
  • San Antonio Food Bank, San Antonio, Texas, $100,000

Multi-year community-based projects (up to $500,000, not to exceed 4 years):

  • Mandela Marketplace, Inc., Oakland, Calif., $422,500
  • Market Umbrella, New Orleans, La., $378,326
  • Maine Farmland Trust, Belfast, Maine, $249,816
  • Farmers Market Fund, Portland, Ore., $499,172
  • The Food Trust, Philadelphia, Pa., $500,000
  • Utahns Against Hunger, Salt Lake City, Utah, $247,038
  • Opportunity Council, Bellingham, Wash., $301,658

Multi-year large-scale projects ($500,000 or greater, not to exceed 4 years):

  • Ecology Center, Berkeley, Calif., $3,704,287
  • Wholesome Wave Foundation Charitable Ventures, Inc., Bridgeport, Conn., $3,775,700
  • AARP Foundation, Washington, D.C., $3,306,224
  • Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Gainesville, Fla., $1,937,179
  • Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, Boston, Mass., $3,401,384
  • Fair Food Network, Ann Arbor, Mich., $5,171,779
  • International Rescue Committee, Inc., New York, N.Y., $564,231
  • Washington State Department of Health, Tumwater, Wash., $5,859,307

The announcement featured Marty Mesh, Executive Director of Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers (FOG). With FINI funding, FOG will expand its Fresh Access Bucks program, which allows SNAP participants to double their food dollars for fresh, Florida-grown fruits and vegetables at farmers markets around the state.

An evaluation of the funded projects will help policymakers determine how best to provide incentives to SNAP participants to increase healthy purchases. Priority was given to projects that develop innovative or improved benefit redemption systems that can be replicated, use direct-to-consumer marketing, show previous success implementing nutrition incentive programs that connect low-income consumers with agricultural producers, provide locally- or regionally-produced fruits and vegetables, and are located in underserved communities.

All FINI projects must (1) have the support of a state SNAP agency; (2) increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants by providing incentives at the point of purchase; (3) operate through authorized SNAP retailers; (4) agree to participate in the comprehensive FINI program evaluation; (5) ensure that the same terms and conditions apply to purchases made by both SNAP participants and non-participants; and (6) include effective and efficient technologies for benefit redemption systems that may be replicated in other states and communities.

The FINI program is authorized and funded by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

SNAP — the nation's first line of defense against hunger — helps put food on the table for millions of families experiencing hardship. The program has never been more critical to the fight against hunger. Over 60 percent of SNAP participants are children, elderly, or individuals with disabilities, and 42 percent of participants live in households in which at least one adult is working but still cannot afford to put sufficient food on the table. SNAP benefits provided help to millions who lost their jobs during the Great Recession. For many, SNAP benefits provide temporary assistance, with the average new applicant remaining on the program 12 months.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information can be found on the NIFA website.

GDF represents a client building a public farm market in Shelbyville, Indiana.  News of this initiative will be forthcoming.

Washington, DC- Addressing the needs of women and the role they play in America’s  economy, the U.S. Small Business Administration has launched a nationwide competition for entrepreneurs who are developing products and services that will enhance the lives of women and their families.

“The landscape of the U.S. economy has evolved drastically during the last 50 years, and women played a significant role in that change,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “We are harnessing the power of America’s entrepreneurs to develop products, services and technologies that support women as they deal with the challenges of work and home.  This innovation challenge will both help strengthen the economy and empower women to succeed.”

InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women Business Challenge kicked off in early March with local competitions hosted by universities, accelerators, clusters, scale-up communities, SBA’s resource partners, and other local organizations.  The SBA is seeking entrepreneurs who have created a product or service that will have a measurable impact on women and their families, fills a need in the marketplace, and has the potential for commercialization.

Those entrepreneurs selected by local judges will make it to the semi-final round.  An executive committee comprised of SBA officials will review the semi-final nomination packages and select no more than 10 finalists.  The finalists will compete for a total of $30,000 in prize money provided by Microsoft.

The 10 finalists will travel to the District of Columbia on May 8th where they’ll pitch their products and ideas to a panel of expert judges during SBA’s National Small Business Week.

For details on contest rules and a list of local competitions,