A pilot program to provide financial and technical assistance to minority- and women-owned small businesses is being expanded to 15 counties in western Pennsylvania, the state’s top economic development official said today.
“We’re expanding our financial and technical assistance to an ever-widening circle of new and emerging entrepreneurs,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Yablonsky. “Their efforts are critical to creating jobs and strengthening our economy. By making these new resources available, we’re working to help minority- and women-owned businesses tap into new markets and meet their full potential.”
The Business Opportunity Fund, rolled out in March as a pilot program in 13 central Pennsylvania counties, already has committed nearly $600,000 in loans to five small businesses and has 17 other qualified applicants pending, Yablonsky said.
“The interest and the activity around the program in its first few months tells us that we’re on the right track,” said Yablonsky.
The program will now expand to 15 counties in western Pennsylvania to provide funding and technical assistance to eligible businesses for working capital, equipment, commercial real estate acquisition and government procurement.
The expanded area covers Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
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