Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of our most frequently asked questions. Don’t see any answer to your question below? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out the form at the bottom of this page.
What does Idaho Commerce do?
The Idaho Department of Commerce provides assistance and resources to existing Idaho businesses and businesses interested in relocating to Idaho. We also offer resources to assist with community development. We market Idaho to the nation and the world. We have seven main divisions within Idaho Commerce — Business Attraction, Business Retention and Expansion, Idaho Tourism, International Trade, Broadband, Community Development and our Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission program. Not sure who can best help you? Contact us here.
Can Idaho Commerce help me find grants for my business?
Yes. At Idaho Commerce, we do offer a few grants available to businesses and communities. You can view the full list of grants and incentives we provide here. We also provide insight and guidance to help you determine what grants are out there and available to your business.
Typically, there is very little grant funding available to start a business.
We provide businesses with a monthly newsletter that compiles available grants. Subscribe to it here. You may also look at a list of government grants available compiled by the U.S Chamber of Commerce here or federal grants here.
What other resources are available to help my new or established business start or grow?
When you’re trying to start a business, it can sometimes feel like a long and confusing process. We’re here to help with that. View our Starting a Business guide for insight on the steps into starting a business and the resources available to you. Another great place to start is the Idaho Small Business Solutions website
- The Idaho Biz Help site is a great resource. On this site you’ll find a business wizard and resource wizard that will each walk you through a set of questions regarding your business type, objectives, locations, etc. to produce a list of the requirements you must meet and a list of the resources to get you there. This is our most valuable tool for new businesses.
- You’ll also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) here’s a great resource from the IRS on how to do that. For other tax-related help, check out this IRS Small Business Tax Workshop video.
- If you are thinking about buying into a franchise as a way to get into business, this guide from the Federal Trade Commission is a great resource.
- If you are a military veteran who is starting or growing a business, there are nonprofit organizations set up to provide assistance, such as Veterans Entrepreneur Alliance, Mission 43 and Idaho Veterans Chamber of Commerce.
- Make data-driven decisions by understanding area demographics, industry clusters, competitors, community profiles, and other important factors by using our free Gem State Prospector.
- If you need to do industry research for your business planning, contact your local library for free assistance and access to trade publications and databases. In some cases, a local library may have a maker space. For a list of public libraries around the state, click here.
- You can receive free business counseling and take workshops from these SBA (Small Business Administration) resource partner organizations which have offices located around the state: Treasure Valley SCORE, Eastern Idaho SCORE, Idaho Women’s Business Center and the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).
- Elevate Idaho: Connects Idaho entrepreneurs with the resources they need to take their ventures to the next level of success.
- There are business incubators and co-working spaces located around Idaho. Find a list here.
- Idaho also offers some tax incentives for businesses which can be found on the Idaho State Tax Commission website.
- If your company is interested in exploring how to do business with the federal government, you can receive free assistance from Idaho PTAC. Idaho PTAC tracks local, state and federal bid opportunities, and alerts you to those that match your product and service profile. PTAC registration is free, and they offer workshops and one-on-one trainings to get you started.
- If you need help with prototype development or setting up your manufacturing facility for efficiency and safety, consider reaching out to TechHelp.
- If your business is in the agriculture sector, this website brought to you by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture is a one-stop-shop for farmer and rancher resources in Idaho and across the nation. You may also be interested in grants and loan programs from the Idaho Department of Agriculture.
- If you are looking for commercial kitchen space or a co-packer for your food business, check out this list from the Idaho Department of Agriculture.
- If your business is in the technology sector, consider connecting with the Idaho Technology Center, a nonprofit organization to help tech companies start, grow and thrive. The ITC has a new initiative called IBAM to help biomedical companies, too.
- If you need help finding, hiring and training employees for your business, this page from the Idaho Department of Labor explains their programs and assistance. Explore grant funds for training through the Idaho Workforce Development Council.
- The University of Idaho’s Entrepreneurship Law Clinic provides free legal services to entrepreneurs and small-business people throughout the State of Idaho. The services are performed by third-year law students who have limited licenses to practice law in Idaho and temporary registration numbers from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Does Idaho offer incentives for my expanding business or my business relocation from another state?
Download our Incentives One Sheet for an overview of offerings and to understand eligibility.
What business funding options exist for business startups, expansions or pandemic relief?
- Our Sources of Capital for Small Businesses is a guide alerting you to organizations that can help you evaluate and prepare to pursue various sources of capital. See also our external financing page.
- If you plan to pursue equity capital from angel investors or venture capital groups, get free advice and assistance from VentureCapital.org.
- Check with the Small Business Administration (SBA) for potential grants to support exporting and research and development activities in your business. They can also talk to you about SBA- backed business loans from participating lenders and work with you on your business plan.
- Idaho SBDC’s funding page here is also a great resource for advice and guidance on funding options. They have great in-depth information on the different types of funding that exist.
- The Economic Development Districts in Idaho located in five regions around the state support businesses by providing technical assistance, business financing for start-up and expansion projects and referrals to other support organizations and resources.
- Nonprofits that offer funding and technical assistance for entrepreneurs are Economic Opportunity at Jannus, Inc and Mofi.org.
- For pandemic relief, check out our blog post about the Employee Retention Tax Credit to see if you may be eligible.
Can my community get funding from Idaho Commerce?
Idaho Commerce offers a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Rural Community Investment Fund (RCIF) and a GEM grant. These grants are all different in eligibility requirements and are offered on a rolling basis. Learn more about them to see if your community is eligible here.
Are there grants available to help non-profits?
If you’re interested in finding grants for your nonprofit, organizations such as the Idaho Nonprofit Center and the Idaho Community Foundation are great resources. Find grant opportunities from the Idaho Nonprofit Center here.
Still have a question you need answered? Contact us using the form below.