Wolf Administration Announces First Approvals of Loans for the Diverse Business Financing Initiative, Promoting Economic Growth Through Diversity
September 25, 2017
Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) recently announced the first approvals of loans for the Diverse Business Financing Initiative, designed to empower minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, disabled-owned, and LGBT-owned businesses to grow and thrive. This initiative is in keeping with Governor Wolf’s Executive Order 2015-11, “Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities in Commonwealth Procurement and in Pennsylvania’s Economy.”
“Diversity, inclusion and small business opportunities are essential to ensuring Pennsylvanians have jobs and our economy is thriving,” Governor Wolf said. “All economic indicators right now point more and more toward the fact that strong economic growth is tied to the success of diverse businesses and I’m especially proud to see my executive order carried out by DCED and its local partners in such a way to make diversity and inclusion a local economic initiative.”
DCED solicited proposals from its local economic development partners throughout the state to determine how best to meet the goal of supporting diverse business owners in the various geographic regions of the commonwealth. The department determined that the best approach to deliver growth capital to small diverse businesses is to administer portions of revolving loan funds to local economic development organizations, which will then dedicate those funds solely for relending to small diverse businesses that they interact with every day.
“The Diverse Business Financing Initiative is about more than just being the right thing to do,” DCED Secretary Dennis Davin said. “It’s about giving Pennsylvania the competitive edge we need in an increasingly competitive marketplace by ensuring access to crucial resources for all business owners, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and disabled or veteran status.”
The initiative will capitalize local revolving loan funds with funding provided by the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA), the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA) and the Pennsylvania Community Development Bank (PCD Bank). In addition, partners will have access to accounts to initiate loans through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) to diverse businesses targeted by this initiative.
The first Diverse Business Financing Initiative investments to local development organizations for relending to local diverse businesses, made at PMBDA, PCD Bank, and PEDFA board meetings last week, were as follows::
- The Allentown Economic Development Corporation in Lehigh County, approved for a $300,000 PMBDA loan;
- The Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland, approved for a $125,000 PMBDA loan and a $125,000 PEDFA loan;
- The Progress Fund in Westmoreland County, approved for a $250,000 PMBDA loan and a $250,000 PCD Bank loan;
- Bridgeway Capital in Allegheny County, approved for a $250,000 PCD Bank loan and a $125,000 PEDFA loan;
- Community First Fund in Lancaster County, approved for a $250,000 PCD Bank loan;
- FINANTA in Philadelphia County, approved for a $250,000 PCD Bank loan;
- Greater Berks Development Fund in Berks County, approved for a $250,000 PCD Bank loan;
- JARI Growth Fund in Cambria County, approved for a $250,000 PCD Bank loan;
- MetroAction in Lackawanna County, approved for a $250,000 PCD Bank loan; and
- Bucks County Economic Development Corporation, approved for $250,000 PEDFA loan.