Commerce Department Announces New Forgivable-Loan Program

The Philadelphia Department of Commerce in partnership with the Office of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy announce a new forgivable loan program that helps eligible retail, food, and creative for-profit and non-profit businesses. The program allows eligible organizations to establish new business locations or expand at existing locations by purchasing additional equipment and materials using forgivable loans ranging from $15,000 to $50,000. 

The forgivable loan does not require payments and is forgiven if the recipient meets program requirements for five years.  The forgivable loan program also outlines several stipulations that eligible applicants must follow. First, the property being improved through the loans must be a commercial business occupied by a retail, food, or creative business.  Second, unoccupied properties being considered for repair and relocations must have a tenant inhabiting the new space within six months of loan approval.

Additionally, projects must be located on a targeted commercial corridor that serves a low or moderate income population. Improvements must include (but are not limited to): kitchen equipment, hoods, security systems, phone systems, point of sale systems, millwork, flooring, lighting systems, sound systems, theater seating, display furnishings and shelving, HVAC equipment, coolers, refrigeration units, and similar items

Applications for the forgivable loan program will be accepted on a rolling basis.  Interested applicants should attend the program review meeting, held in conjunction with The Merchant Fund Meeting on August 14 at 1515 Arch Street on the 18th floor. Meeting will start at 10:30.  For more information regarding the forgivable loan program, please contact Jonathan Snyder at 215-683-2153 or by email at


Andrew Schlesinger is a passionate environmental thinker and designer. He can be reached at