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State approves first loans under new diversity program

The state Department of Community and Economic Development recently approved its first loans under a newly created program meant to increase diversity among business leaders.

DCED announced the creation of the Diverse Business Finance Initiative earlier this year as part of a larger effort to spur support minority-, woman-, veteran-, disabled- and LGBT-owned businesses.

The loan program works by sending portions of revolving loan funds to local economic development organizations, which in turn use the funds exclusively for lending to small, diverse businesses.

One midstate organization was approved for the first round of loans: Community First Fund in Lancaster, which received approval for a $250,000 loan from DCED’s Pennsylvania Community Development Bank program.

Community First Fund also recently received two U.S. Treasury grants, as well as a $10 million bond loan from the Treasury to provide financing for commercial real estate, nonprofits and affordable housing in underserved communities.

Other organizations that were approved for the state Diverse Business Finance Initiative program include

  • The Allentown Economic Development Corp. in Lehigh County, which was approved for a $300,000 loan;
  • The Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland, which was approved for two $125,000 loans;
  • The Progress Fund in Westmoreland County, which was approved for two $250,000 loans;
  • Bridgeway Capital in Allegheny County, which was approved for a $250,000 loan and a $125,000  loan;
  • Finanta in Philadelphia County, which was approved for a $250,000 loan;
  • Greater Berks Development Fund in Berks County, which was approved for a $250,000 loan;
  • JARI Growth Fund in Cambria County, which was approved for a $250,000 loan;
  • MetroAction in Lackawanna County, which was approved for a $250,000 loan; and
  • Bucks County Economic Development Corp., which was approved for a $250,000 loan.

Jennifer Wentz
Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com.

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