New York Incentives and Workforce Development Guide

NY Incentives | Finance, Loans, IRB, Workforce Development
A comprehensive list of New York financial aid, loans, grants, abatements, workforce development, exemptions, funds & capital investment opportunities.

New York Incentives and Workforce Development Guide


New York Incentives and Workforce Development Guide

For a list of New York economic development agencies that can help with the site selection process, visit our Online Site Seekers’ Guide.



Capital Access Program (CAP): A $9 million program that provides matching funds to financial institutions for loan loss reserves as an incentive to increase small business lending. CAP can be used with term loans or lines of credit, on financing for working capital needs, technology or facility upgrades, business startups or business expansions. NYS small businesses can utilize CAP by contacting a participating lender that will conduct its own loan application process and determine loan terms. Financial institutions must enter into a Capital Access Program Lender Agreement with Empire State Development before enrolling loans.

Cash Incentives: New York State offers low-cost loans and grants to companies that invest significant capital in the State and commit to the creation and retention of private sector jobs. Terms can be customized to each project; other criteria apply.

Commercial District Revolving Loan Funds: ESD has capitalized over $600,000, making funds available to five community-based corporations to administer and make loans to small retail and service businesses in their service areas.

The two primary forms of assistance are:

  1. Working capital loans of up to $15,000 for terms not to exceed five years. Loans may be used for, but not limited to: upgrading display lighting, advertising and promotion, payroll for additional staff and training, purchase of computers to enhance inventory control, and the purchase of display cabinets, furniture and fixtures.
  2. Fixed asset loans of up to $20,000 for terms not to exceed seven years. Loans may be used for, but not limited to: acquisition or improvement of real property (including interior improvements and remodeling), building façade improvements and signage.


  • Eligible applicants include for-profit retail, professional or commercial service businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, located within the specific service delivery area served by the administering corporation.
  • Eligible uses of working capital loans include inventory, upgrading display lighting, advertising and promotion, payroll, computer hardware and software, display cabinets, furniture and fixtures.
  • Borrowers must have at least a 10% equity interest in the project or business.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI): Provides micro-loans to businesses who often do not qualify for bank loans, as well as one-on-one counseling and business development assistance to facilitate credit-readiness. The organizations provide lending and technical assistance services to small businesses and MWBEs to help these businesses grow, such as: Assistance with completion of loan applications, Business Plan development, Mentorship and peer group programs and Credit Union services (where available).

Economic Development Fund (EDF): This program offers financial assistance for projects that promote the economic health of New York State by facilitating the creation and or retention of jobs or the increase of business activity in the State. EDF funds assist with construction, expansion and rehabilitation of facilities; acquisition of machinery and equipment; working capital; and the training of full-time permanent employees.

Economic Development Purposes Grants: Funding is for economic development initiatives and projects that create or retain jobs, generate increased economic activity and improve the economic and social viability and vitality of local communities. Eligible applicants include for-profit businesses; not-for-profit corporations; business improvement districts; local development corporations; public benefit corporations (including industrial development agencies); economic development organizations; research and academic institutions; incubators; technology parks; municipalities; counties; regional planning councils; tourist attractions; and community facilities.

Industrial Effectiveness Program (IEP): Provides technical and financial assistance to help New York State manufacturing firms address competitiveness issues that increase productivity, efficiency and market share. The award evaluation will be based on demonstrated need, company size, willingness to share costs of technical expertise and contribute resources, involvement of employees and commitment to self-improvement. The maximum award is a $50,000 grant. Eligible applicants include New York State manufacturers that employ fewer than 500 workers.

Innovate NY Fund: A seed stage business equity fund with up to $47 million to support innovation, job creation and high growth entrepreneurship throughout the state. It is supported with $37 million in State SSBCI funds and $10 million from Goldman Sachs, and is expected to leverage over $450 million in additional private investment for small businesses.

Eight investment entities were competitively selected to invest in technology companies and other high growth firms throughout New York State. All contracted investment funds are required to secure at least a 2:1 match from private sources on its aggregate portfolio at the time of investment. Innovate NY funding may not exceed $500,000 per investment or $750,000 in the case of any individual biotechnology related company. 

Job Development Authority (JDA) Direct Loan Program: Provides Direct Loans for the growth of manufacturing and other eligible businesses within New York State by assisting in financing a portion of the cost of acquiring and renovating existing buildings or constructing new buildings (“Real Estate” projects) or for purchasing machinery and equipment (“M&E” projects). Funds to make Loans are derived from the sale of State-guaranteed bonds.In most cases, JDA Loans can be for up to 40% of the total project cost of Real Estate projects or M&E projects.Loans may be up to 60% for projects located in Empire Zones or economically distressed area.The combination of a bank loan and a JDA Loan allows up to 90% financing of a project.

Typical financing structure:

  • 50% Bank Loan
  • 40% JDA Loan
  • 10% Borrower Equity

A JDA Real Estate Loan is normally a second mortgage loan, subordinate to a first-mortgage loan provided by a bank; M&E Loans are secured by a first lien, co-equal with the bank’s lien, on the M&E being financed. Real Estate project costs include the cost of an existing building and renovations, purchase of land and construction of a new building and soft costs normally associated with a real estate transaction. M&E project costs include the cost of the machinery and its delivery, installation costs solely attributable to the machinery being purchased and soft costs related to the M&E acquisition.

JOBS Now: Grants that offer financial assistance for major business expansion and attraction efforts. The program is primarily directed toward large projects that create a minimum of 300 new full-time jobs. ESD may provide assistance for projects that create fewer than 300, but at least 100 new, permanent, full-time, private sector jobs, within the State. Funding assists businesses with construction and expansion of facilities; acquisition of machinery and equipment; to offset a portion of state and local taxes incurred by the expansion; and the recruitment, hiring and training of full-time permanent employees. There are three categories of JOBS Now funding:

  1. Economic Development Loans and Grants of up to $10,000 per job for projects that promote the economic health of New York State by creating private sector jobs and increasing business activity through expansion of existing companies and the attraction of new companies to New York State. Funds can be used for: Real Estate Acquisition, Demolition, Construction, Site and Infrastructure, Machinery and Equipment, Inventory, Construction Related Planning and Design
  1. Job Creation Grants of up to $1.5 million (depending on the number of jobs created) can be used to reimburse state and local taxes incurred related to business expansion that involves capital or working capital expenses.
  1. Workforce Training Grants offer full or partial reimbursement of costs to eligible businesses for providing worker training that is connected with an expansion or attraction project. Fundable activities include workforce recruitment, skills training and or upgrading, productivity enhancement and total product service quality improvement


  • Private businesses involved in industrial, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution
  • Research and development, high technology, service and other non-retail commercial enterprises

Not Eligible

  • Residential, casino and gambling institutions
  • Debt refinancing, tax delinquency, employee benefit arrearage
  • Retail businesses (unless they are the expansion attraction of national or regional headquarters facilities)

Manufacturing Assistance Program (MAP: Provides financing for the growth of manufacturing within New York State. MAP funds must be used for capital investments in machinery and equipment. Projects may also include Industrial Effectiveness consulting and or worker skills training. Projects must achieve substantial and measurable improvements to the output, productivity and competitiveness of the manufacturing facility, such as: increased production output, process efficiency, improvements in quality control, new product line resource conservation, pollution prevention, cost-reduction or revenue-enhancement measure. Intended outcomes must be quantified and verifiable. Empire State Development (ESD) MAP assistance is capped at $1 million. Eligible applicants include NYS manufacturers that employ 50 to 1,000 workers and export at least 30% of their production beyond the immediate region, or supply at least 30% of their production to a prime manufacturer that exports beyond the region.
Minimum Requirements:

  • $1 million capital investment machinery, equipment and related costs directly tied to production
  • Quantified improvements over baseline operation of 20% or more
  • Retention of at least 85% of workforce for five years

Micro Enterprise Loan Fund: ESD has capitalized three revolving loan funds for financing small loans to NYS certified Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) through authorized, locally based administering micro-lending corporations. Assistance includes loans up to a maximum of $7,000. Project funds may be used for acquisition or improvement of real property and purchase of machinery and equipment. The administering micro-lending corporations determine interest rates; maximum loan term is 24 months.


  • Loan applicants must be small and high-risk for-profit businesses that are NYS certified MWBEs with no more than $100,000 in annual gross revenues.
  • For start-ups, applicants must demonstrate entrepreneurial or other business training.
  • Ineligible uses of program funds include refinancing debt, residential construction or renovation (unless pursuant to a government sponsored project), payment of tax or employee benefit arrearages, projects of newspapers, broadcasting, news media, medical facilities, libraries, community centers, or public infrastructure.

New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund: New York State announced the creation of the Healthy Food/Healthy Communities Initiative in 2009 in response to rising concern over the lack of access to affordable, nutritious, fresh food in underserved communities. The New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund is a $30 million statewide program created to provide grants and loans for food markets in those communities. By providing financing to supermarket and grocery operators, the program will increase the availability of nutritious food choices for the 1.7 million New Yorkers who lack access to stores with healthy food options. The New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund program is open to food markets in New York State that are located in underserved areas, defined as one of the following:

  • a low- or moderate-income census tract
  • a census tract with below average food market density
  • a food market site with a customer base of 50% or more living in a low-income census tract

New York State Innovation Venture Capital (NYSIVC) Fund: A seed and early-stage venture capital fund with $100 million to support and attract new high-growth businesses. It provides critical funding to promote the commercialization of new technologies, incentivize economic growth and encourage job creation across NYS. The NYSIVC Fund invests directly in seed and/or early-stage companies with an emphasis on strategic industries such as information technology, life sciences/biotech and relatively underserved regions of the State with investments ranging from $100,000 to as much as $5 million. All direct investments by the NYSIVC Fund require at least a 2:1 match from private sources at the time of investment.

The Fund also invests through a fund-of-funds structure in the commercialization of new technologies emerging from universities and research labs across NYS with individual investments of up to $100,000. All technology commercialization investments by the NYSIVC Fund require at least a 1:1 match from private sources at the time of investment.

New York State Surety Bond Assistance Program (NYSBAP): Provides technical and financial assistance to help contractors secure surety bonding. Contractors may be eligible to receive a guarantee of up to 30% to secure a surety bond line, bid bond or a performance and payment bond on state and city projects.

  • Applicant must be a New York State small business or MWBE with at least two years of business operations.
  • Maximum bond line or project size is $2 million.
  • Minimum average gross revenue of $400,000 in the last two fiscal or calendar years and maximum gross revenue not to exceed $5 million in the most recent calendar or fiscal year.
  • Minimum credit score of 600.
  • Previous experience completing similar work to the contract opportunity being pursued.

Transportation Capital Assistance Program: ESD administers this loan program for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). The program provides government contractor working capital loans to small business enterprises and NYS-certified minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) that have transportation-related construction contracts with NYSDOT or who are subcontractors of contractors having transportation-related contracts with NYSDOT. The program offers loans from $20,000 to $500,000, with a prime interest rate fixed at closing. Terms will be coterminous with the term of the contract.



Brownfield Cleanup Program: Encourages cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields sites across New York State by providing incentives such as liability relief and tax credits. 

Emerging Technologies: New York State has enacted tax incentives for: investors in Qualified Emerging Technology Companies (QETCs); job creation by QETCs; and R&D investment, R&D expenses and qualified high technology training costs incurred by QETCs.

Empire State Music and Theatrical Production Tax Credit Program: Provides incentives for qualified production companies to conduct technical rehearsals and other pre-tour activities and perform shows in regional theaters throughout Upstate New York. The program will encourage the use of these upstate entertainment venues and provide competitive balance against competing venues located in Northeastern states that offer similar tax incentives to musical and theatrical productions produced on Broadway. Program credits of $4 million per year can be allocated. Qualified companies may be eligible to receive a fully refundable credit of 25% of certain production and transportation expenditures directly related to the technical period (those activities performed by technical personnel of a qualified touring production prior to commencement of a tour, including, but not limited to, those personnel responsible for lighting, sound, wardrobe and props) at a qualified facility in Upstate New York.

Excelsior Jobs Program: Tax credits are available for strategic businesses such as high tech, biotech, clean-tech and manufacturing that create jobs or make significant capital investments. The following strategic businesses located in or planning to locate in NYS that will create jobs or retain jobs and make significant capital investments.

  • Scientific Research and Development firms creating at least five net new jobs.
  • Software Development firms creating at least five net new jobs
  • Agriculture firms creating at least five new jobs
  • Manufacturing firms creating at least 10 net new jobs
  • Financial services (customer service) back office operations creating at least 50 net new jobs
  • Back office firms creating at least 50 net new jobs
  • Distribution firms creating at least 75 net new jobs
  • Music Production firms creating at least 5 net new jobs
  • Entertainment Companies creating at least 100 net new jobs
  • Other firms creating at least 300 net new jobs and investing at least $6 million
  • Firms in strategic industries that make significant capital investment that have at least 25 employee; manufacturing firms who retain at least 10 employees are also eligible to apply for participation in the Program.

Investment Tax Credit (ITC): Businesses that create new jobs and make new investments in production property and equipment may qualify for tax credits of up to 10% of their eligible investment. New businesses may elect to receive a refund of certain credits and all unused credits can be carried forward for 15 years.

New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC): This program subsidizes long-term capital investment in order to foster job creation and community development in Low-Income Communities throughout New York State. Empire State Development (ESD) has available interest-only loans at below-market rates, a portion of which may be forgiven upon maturity. Borrowers must be located in a census tract with the following indicia relative to the statewide metropolitan medians:

  • Poverty rate at least 20% or median family income at below 80%.
  • Additionally, preference will be given to borrowers in non-metropolitan counties and or in census tracts with unemployment at above 1.5x national average.

New York State (NYS) Commercial Tax Credit Program: Credits of up to $7 million a year can be allocated to encourage qualified production companies to produce commercials in NYS and help create and maintain jobs. The $7 million a year consists of three components for companies: shooting commercials downstate ($3 million), shooting upstate ($3 million) and those demonstrating incremental “growth” in commercial production ($1 million). A credit of up to 20% of qualified production costs incurred in NYS for “growth” in commercial production above a base period may be earned. Additional credits of 5% of qualified costs may also be available. The Program is limited to advertisements recorded on film, audiotape, videotape or digital medium in NYS for multi-market distribution by way of radio, television, or motion picture theaters. Certain productions are excluded, including but not limited to news or current affairs programs, interview or talk programs, network promos, “how-to” (instructional) productions, stock footage, trailers promoting theatrical films, sporting events, game shows, award ceremonies, daytime dramas, reality programs or music videos.

New York State (NYS) Film Tax Credit Program: Provides incentives to qualified production companies that produce feature films, television series, relocated television series, television pilots, films for television and/or incur post-production costs associated with the original creation of these productions. Program credits of $420 million per year can be allocated and used to encourage companies to produce film projects in New York and help create and maintain film industry jobs. Of the $420 million, a set-aside for the post-production credit was increased from $7 million to $25 million per year beginning in 2015.

Production companies may be eligible to receive a fully refundable credit of 30% of qualified production costs and post-production costs incurred in NYS. An additional 5% credit may be available for post-production costs incurred in Upstate NY, outside the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD). The MCTD includes New York City, Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties.

For the period 2015-2019, productions with budgets over $500,000 can receive an additional 10% credit on qualified labor expenses (maximum of $5 million per year can be allocated for the additional 10% credit) incurred in the following counties: Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Cortland, Delaware, Erie, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne, Wyoming, or Yates.

Real Property Tax Abatement: To encourage development, expansion and improvement of commercial property, a 10-year property tax abatement is available to offset increased assessments due to improvements to business and commercial property.

Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit: Investments in R&D facilities are eligible for a 9% corporate tax credit. Additional credits are available to encourage the creation and expansion of emerging technology businesses, including a three-year job creation credit of $1,000 per employee and a capital credit for investments in emerging technologies.

Sales Tax Exemptions: NYS offers exemptions for purchases of production machinery and equipment, research and development property, and fuels utilities used in manufacturing and R&D. Other exemptions may be available through local Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs).

START-UP NY: Offers new and expanding businesses the opportunity to operate tax-free for 10 years on or near eligible university or college campuses in New York State. Partnering with these schools gives businesses direct access to advanced research laboratories, development resources and experts in key industries. 



Employee Training Incentive Program (ETIP): Provides refundable tax credits to New York State employers for procuring skills training that upgrades or improves the productivity of their employees. Businesses can also receive tax credits for approved internship programs that provide training in advanced technology. The ETIP will make $5 million in tax credits available to businesses annually, with up to $1 million in credits available for approved internship programs. Tax credits may be awarded for costs associated with an eligible training program for current or new employees. The internship program is available for current students, recent graduates and recent members of the armed forces. Tax credits may be issued only after approved training is completed.

  • ETIP: a credit of 50% of eligible training costs, up to $10,000 per employee receiving eligible training.
  • Internship Program: a credit of 50% of the stipend paid to an intern, up to $3,000 per intern.

Employee Skills Training: Businesses must create at least 10 net new jobs or make a significant capital investment of at least $1 million in connection with the eligible training project. Businesses must operate predominantly in a strategic industry based upon the following criteria:

  • potential to create jobs in an economically distressed area;
  • shortages of workers trained to work in that industry;
  • ability and need to relocate to another state to find qualified workers;
  • potential to recruit minorities and women to be trained to work in an industry where they are traditionally underrepresented;
  • recent technological advances have created disruption in the industry and significant capital investment is needed to remain competitive.

Internship Program: An eligible internship program must provide training in advanced technology. Internship training can be provided by the business or by an approved provider. Training can be provided to interns who have not previously participated in an eligible internship program, and who are not current or former employees of the business. The business entity must have less than 100 employees and interns cannot comprise more than 50% of the workforce, or displace regular employees. Participation in the internship program cannot last longer than 12 months.

Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP): Establishes Entrepreneurial Assistance Centers in local communities to provide instruction, training, technical assistance and support services to individuals who have recently started their own business or are interested in starting a business. The program’s EAP centers are strategically located throughout New York State. The applicant organization must be located in an area accessible to minority group members, women and other target populations. The following types of organizations are eligible to apply:

  • not-for-profit corporation, operated by a board of directors representing community leaders in business, education, finance and government;
  • community college; or
  • Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).



Export Marketing Assistance Service (EMAS): Helps NYS businesses find sales agents or distributors abroad. ESD Trade Specialist staff familiarize themselves with the company’s product line, trade experience and any other factors relevant to identifying the best possible parties to represent your company’s sales interests abroad. ESD’s foreign office staff will conduct research to identify suitable importers, distributors and agents and will interview and screen them to meet participants’ objectives. EMAS is especially helpful for small to medium size companies that cannot afford to conduct their own extensive in-market investigation and research to find suitable representation. The program is currently available in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, most of Europe, China, Israel and South Africa. Eligible businesses should be engaged in manufacturing or services with NYS production content of at least 51%.

New York Empowerment Zone (NYEZ): The NYEZ is one of nine empowerment zones (EZs) established by the Clinton Administration in 1994 to revitalize distressed communities by using public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment. The designation was accompanied by a federal grant of $100 million and matching grants from NYS and the City of New York of $100 million each, creating a total investment pool of $300 million.

The EZ program’s success is based on a combination of investment funds and tax incentives. These incentives encourage businesses to open, expand, and to hire local residents. The incentives include employment credits, a 0% tax on capital gains, increased tax deductions on equipment, accelerated real property depreciation and other incentives.

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