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Virginia Direct Financial Incentives

Virginia's economic development, finance and tax organizations provide a range of incentive programs to initiate new business and commercial investment.

Q1 2014
Virginia Small Business Financing Authority:
The Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA), which is housed within the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, offers programs to provide businesses and communities with access to capital needed for economic growth and expansion. VSBFA’s definition of “small” business is $10 million or less in annual revenues over each of the last three years; or a net worth of $2 million or less; or fewer than 250 employees in Virginia, or qualification as a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity. These programs include the Economic Development Loan Fund, Industrial Development Bonds, Loan Guaranty Program, Virginia Capital Access Program, Child Care Financing Program, Southside Region Tobacco Capital Access Program and New Markets Tax Credit Program.

Governor's Opportunity Fund:
The Governor's Opportunity Fund (GOF) is designed as a deal-closing fund to be employed at the governor's discretion when necessary to secure a company location or expansion in Virginia. The GOF serves as a final resource for Virginia in the face of serious competition from other states or countries. Awards are made with the expectation that the grant to a locality will result in a favorable decision for the commonwealth. Grants are awarded to localities on a local matching basis. Capital is provided for site acquisition and development, transportation access, training, construction or build-out of publicly or privately owned buildings.

Virginia Investment Partnership Grant:
A discretionary performance incentive designed to encourage continued capital investment by Virginia companies, resulting in added capacity, modernization, increased productivity, or the creation, development and utilization of advanced technology. The program is targeted to manufacturers or research and development services supporting manufacturing companies that have operated in Virginia for at least three years and are making a capitalized investment of at least $25 million while at least maintaining stable employment levels. VIP grants are paid in five equal annual installments beginning in the third year after the capital investment and job creation or retention is achieved, or in the second year if the company is locating in a fiscally distressed area of the state.

Major Eligible Employer Grant Fund:
The Major Eligible Employer Grant (MEE) is a discretionary performance incentive designed to encourage significant capital investment and job creation by Virginia manufacturers and other basic employers. The program is targeted at major employers that make a capitalized investment of at least $100 million and create at least 1,000 new jobs (a minimum of 400 jobs, if average pay is at least twice the area's prevailing average wage). MEE grants are paid in five equal annual installments beginning in the sixth year after the capital investment and job creation targets are met, or in the fourth year if the company is locating in a fiscally distressed area of the Commonwealth.

Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant:
A discretionary investment performance grant program designed to assist and encourage companies to invest and create new employment opportunities by locating significant headquarters, administrative or service sector operations in Virginia. Eligible projects must meet minimum requirements for capital investment and job creation.

Enterprise Zone Job Creation Grants:
Qualifying businesses operating within any of the state's enterprise zones may be eligible for job creation and real property investment grants. A company may receive a cash grant for permanent net new qualifying jobs created. Positions created that pay at least 1.75 times the federal minimum wage rate are eligible for a maximum grant of $500 per position per year for up to five years. Positions that pay pay at least twice the federal minimum wage rate are eligible for a maximum grant of $800 per position per year for up to five years. A business can receive grants for up to 350 jobs annually during a five-year grant period. Additionally, local enterprise zone incentives are offered.

Enterprise Zone Real Property Investment Grant:
Qualifying zone investors making an investment in industrial, commercial or mixed-use real property located within an Enterprise Zone are eligible for a cash grant. The grant is equal to 20 percent of the excess above the minimum required investment up to a maximum of $100,000 for companies investing $5 million or less in qualified real property investments. For companies investing more than $5 million, the maximum grant is equal to 20 percent of the excess above the minimum required investment up to a maximum of $200,000. Investments in rehabilitation/expansion or new construction projects must invest invest at least, $100,000 or $500,000, respectively.

Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund:
The Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund makes grants to localities in Virginia's tobacco producing regions to assist with specific projects that result in the creation of new jobs and investments, whether they be through new business attraction or existing business expansion. Grants are made at the discretion of the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission and the Governor. Eligible projects must include a minimum new private capital investment of $1 million and 10 jobs within a 36-month period.

Virginia Jobs Investment Program:
The Virginia Department of Business Assistance Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) offers customized recruiting and training to companies that are creating new jobs or are substantially retraining existing employees. VJIP offers funding and services through four distinct incentive programs that fit a spectrum of training and retraining needs that include the New Jobs Program (25 net new jobs within 12 months and a new capital investment of at least $1,000,000), the Workforce Retraining Program (undergoing an integration of new technology involving a minimum of 10 full-time employees who need to be retrained and a new capital investment of at least $500,000) , Small Business New Jobs and Retraining Program (for the New Jobs: minimum of five net new jobs and must be making a new capital investment of at least $100,000, for the Retraining Program: undergoing an integration of new technology and have at least five employees involved with a capital investment of at least $50,000).

Community Development Block Grant Program:
This program supports projects by private, for-profit basic industries creating employment opportunities for low- and moderate-income persons in eligible localities. Localities are provided the ability to submit proposals to take advantage of economic development opportunities. Funds may be used for offsite activities such as water and sewer line extensions or treatment facilities, drainage, and road and rail access. On-site assistance may be eligible in some projects, but these projects are subject to underwriting.

Technology Zones:
Virginia cities, counties and towns have the ability to establish, by ordinance, one or more technology zones to attract growth in targeted industries. Qualified businesses locating or expanding operations in a zone may receive local permit and user fee waivers, local tax incentives, special zoning treatment or exemption from ordinances. Once a local technology zone has been established, incentives may be provided for up to 10 years. Each locality designs and administers its own program.

Virginia State Contact:
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
901 East Byrd Street
P.O. Box 798
Richmond, VA 23218-0798
(804) 545-5600
Incentive and tax information is provided to Area Development by each state's economic development or commerce agency for information purposes only and is subject to revision at any time by the state government. Please contact the state agency directly for full requirements and offerings. This information was last updated November 2014.

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