Enacts new Part 22 in Article 10 of GS Chapter 143B to establish the North Carolina Urban Empowerment Initiative Fund (Fund) within the Department of Commerce (Department). States that the purpose of the Urban Empowerment Initiative (Initiative) is to provide empowerment firms with economic development assistance, grant support, and working capital loans; to coordinate with existing federal and state programs; to increase participation in the export market, provide access to resources, and improve marketing. Defines empowerment firm as a business that is (1) minority owned; (2) in Mecklenburg, Guilford, or Forsyth counties; and (3) in operation for at least five consecutive years. Requires the Department and firms receiving funds from the Fund to report annually on the allocation of funds to specified legislative entities by September 1.
Requires the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to award Fund grants of up to $1.5 million to large empowerment firms and grants of up to $250,000 to small empowerment firms. Allows grants to be used for (1) building purchase or lease, (2) building upfit, (3) energy efficiency and water conservation renovations, (4) signs, and (5) business equipment purchase or lease. Sets out application requirements.
Requires the Secretary to award capital loans from the Fund of up to $600,000 to large empowerment firms and up to $100,000 to small empowerment firms. Caps the loan interest rate at 3.5%. Reduces the loan principal by specified amounts for firms that hire specified classes of employees.
Appropriates $30 million for 2012-13 from the General Fund to the Initiative to support the Program. States the intent to provide an aggregate appropriation of $150 million in equal installments over the next five years to support the program.
Bill Summaries: H1060 NORTH CAROLINA URBAN EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVE.
Bill H 1060 (2011-2012)Summary date: May 22 2012 - View Summary