What’s in the Stimulus Package (so far) For Small, Green Businesses

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 passed by the House of Representatives includes a number of important incentives to help both small businesses and green businesses.  While the bill has yet to make it through the Senate, it’s still worth a look to see what might be on the way.  Those businesses that are both small and green may see a double dose of support coming their way. 



Small businesses generate most of the jobs, and create a great deal of the innovation that drives economic growth.  According to the National Small Business Association, small businesses created 21.9 million jobs in the last 15 years, compared with 1.8 million for large businesses.  Small businesses are hungry, move quickly, and are able to experiment.  Out of economic necessity, a great number of people are starting businesses.  When you have little to lose, the risk of starting a business seems not so great.  Having some financial support will help small businesses keep their doors open, and keep on innovating to get our economy growing again. 



This time around green businesses are also receiving important attention in a variety of measures included in the House version of the bill.  Throughout his campaign Obama pledged to support the growth the green economy, and in the early days of his administration he appears to be true to his word.  With the green economy poised to become one of the major engines of economic growth in this century, these investments will help both the environment and the economy, creating green economy businesses that create high quality green collar jobs.



As the Executive Director of the Center for Small Business and the Environment in Washington DC, Byron Kennard is right in the thick of things, working to ensure that small, green businesses get the important support that they need.  His summary of the support for small businesses in the current package includes $30 billion in tax relief for small businesses and $13 billion in loans, lines of credit and equity capital.  The provisions include:

  • Increasing the SBA guarantee on loans up to 95% of loan value
  • Steps to improve the liquidity of small business lending markets
  • Allowing the SBA to refinance existing loans, including both those with the SBA and other loans
  • Increasing equity capital for high growth businesses
  • Lending assistance for borrowers locked out of traditional financing markets
  • Tax relief in several forms


The stimulus package also contains significant new support to drive the growth of green businesses, including a variety of incentives to drive the growth of renewable energy, stimulate energy efficiency efforts, and update the national electrical grid.  President Obama is calling for the production of renewable energy to double in the next 3 years, continuing its rapid growth.  Among the provisions in the over $800 House version of the stimulus package:


  • $10 billion to weatherize low-income homes, saving energy
  • $8 billion to increase the efficiency of government and military buildings
  • $7 billion in energy efficiency grants by state governments
  • $11 for the updated electrical smart grid
  • $8 billion in new electrical lines for the improved electrical grid
  • $8 billion in loans for renewable energy projects
  • $2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research
  • $2 billion for advanced battery research


The stimulus package is not a done deal yet, with a Senate version of the bill still in the works.  At the end of the day, maybe getting the economy back on the same old track is not the goal.  Maybe getting the economy on a better track is the way to go.  Small, green businesses are laying track leading forward to a better future. 

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