New Tucson program offers small business loans without collateral

S-T-A-C Success Through Alternative Capital
S-T-A-C Success Through Alternative Capital

Tucson-area small businesses unable to get traditional commercial loans can tap a new source of capital, thanks to two local nonprofit organizations.

The Tucson-based Community Investment Corporation (CIC) and Startup Tucson, have partnered with the national community-based economic development group Common Future to offer a total of $500,000 in alternative loans.

Launched this week, the Success Through Alternative Capital (STAC) program aims to help businesses without adequate collateral or assets to qualify for traditional loans.

Interested businesses should contact Community Investment Corporation online at

California-based Common Future is investing $250,000 in the pilot program through its in-house investment entity, Community Credit Lab, while the CIC is matching with $250,000 of its own funds. Startup Tucson is providing business and entrepreneurial education to support local business owners who access STAC funding.

The program uses revenue-based financing, allowing small businesses to pledge future revenues for an advance of financial capital, with payments varying depending on how well a business is doing and its gross revenues.

The STAC program is expected to fund 25 local businesses over the next year, the CIC said.

Payments are higher when the businesses are generating more revenues, and lower when they are generating less revenues — an especially helpful arrangement for seasonal businesses, CIC said.

The program will use Ned, an online revenue-based lending platform, to streamline applications, qualification and disbursement activities, and to automate revenue-based repayments, the CIC said.

CIC Executive Director Danny Knee said the economy works well for those who
have assets to pledge as loan collateral.

“But the over-reliance on asset-based lending without complementary alternatives makes it nearly impossible for many small businesses, and especially those run by entrepreneurs of color, to get the financial capital they need to grow and succeed,” Knee said.

Liz Pocock, CEO of Startup Tucson, said the program is an effort to make the local economy more inclusive.

“We believe revenue-based financing is a way to support emerging entrepreneurs, including entrepreneurs of color,” Pocock said in prepared remarks.

This article was originally published on

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CIC featured on Tipping Point with Zach Yentzer

Executive Director Danny Knee sharing CIC's work to support small business during the COVID-19 pandemic

On Thursday, April 2, 2020, Danny joined Zach Yentzer on Tipping Point on 1030 am KVOI The Voice to discuss the state of small business during the current economic crisis and what both CIC and the community at large are doing to support. Hear about the critical work of the Community Investment Corp. and our emergency loan products and the Tucson Helping Tucson initiative.  

COVID-19 Response from CIC


March 18, 2020

Danny Knee, Executive Director

Community Investment Corporation (CIC)



Community Investment Corporation (CIC) – Emergency Microloans for Small Business

Local Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19 Eligible for CIC Programs


[Tucson, Arizona]: Community Investment Corporation (CIC) is supporting local small businesses in this time of uncertainty via specialized loan products and partnerships. CIC’s immediate offerings will help bridge current and impending gaps in cash flow for small businesses as the details for a government stimulus package and qualifications for assistance are finalized:


  • CIC, which specializes in business microloans up to $10,000, is making any local small business affected by COVID-19 eligible for its nonprofit partnership and enhanced community benefit rates of 3%. Loan terms can also be extended out to 5 years as needed.


  • CIC will also be offering loans with interest-only payments for up to six months to allow small businesses to recover from the economic challenges caused by COVID-19. This product is still in development phase but will be launched within a week.


  • In partnership with Growth Partners Arizona (GPAz), CIC has brought Kiva, a globally successful capital resource model, to Arizona. This will provide no-interest, no-fee, community-backed business loans ranging from $1,000 to $15,000. The loans are crowdfunded on Kiva’s worldwide online platform and can help businesses at risk from the COVID-19 fallout gain access to much-needed capital. Kiva is currently offering a six-month grace period for new payments. In addition, anyone can become a Kiva lender for as little as $25 and support the small businesses in town that are on the platform. GPAz has additional offerings at

“Small businesses are essential to our economy and culture in Tucson,” said Danny Knee, Executive Director at CIC. “During this crisis we’re asking the community to rally around our local merchants with a different kind of giving – zero percent interest loans which may make the difference between a business surviving or having to shut its doors for good.”


Knee pointed out that this kind of communal lending has been done for thousands of years across a wide range of cultures to help neighbors during difficult times. “This is what makes a close-knit community like Tucson special – we help our neighbors in times of need,” he said. For CIC’s part, Knee committed $50,000 of funding to match community investments to local businesses through its partnership with Kiva and Growth Partners Arizona.


About CIC: Community Investment Corporation is a nonprofit economic development organization dedicated to the prosperity of Pima County and the surrounding area since 1996. Committed to expanding economic opportunities, CIC pursues three distinct program areas including support and financing for entrepreneurship/small business, home ownership and education. CIC’s goal is to promote economic inclusion for all members of southern Arizona, regardless of socioeconomic status. Specifically, CIC’s work ensures that more people in the community can get the funding they need to start, sustain, and grow their small businesses, can buy homes, and can access the education they want for their children. We fund YOUR dreams!