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How Small Businesses Get Boost From New Birmingham Ordinance 

African clothing is displayed at Ferrill African Wear in the 4th Avenue District in Birmingham, Ala., Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Mark Almond)


Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin, along with the Birmingham City Council, has approved an ordinance to support the growth and retention of Birmingham-based businesses. RISE, which stands for Retention Incentives for Success and Expansion, establishes two funds with a purpose to provide resources for area businesses.

“The health and longevity of our local businesses are a priority,” said Woodfin. “A strong business community makes for a strong economy and a thriving city. I am committed to supporting the success of our business owners.”

Based on this ordinance, every time the city has a sales transaction that results from a price in excess of market value, a transaction that is tied to a redevelopment agreement, or is considered a surplus asset, 7 percent will be used to fund two new programs. Four percent will be used for a cash incentive fund and three percent will be for a revolving loan fund.

“Many municipalities have focused on recruitment efforts, but not necessarily retention and expansion,” said Cornell Wesley, director of the Department for Innovation and Economic Opportunity. “There have been calls made but there are typically no incentives to assist in their remaining and growing in Birmingham.”

Businesses will be eligible for these monies if they are retaining and expanding their employee base and operating within the city of Birmingham. Also, new startups that create at least five full time jobs or a small business that was declined for a loan will be considered for funding as well.

The cash fund will be mainly targeted for supporting legacy businesses. The revolving loans are targeted for helping small businesses. These resources will be used in perpetuity to support existing businesses under the Woodfin administration.