BLOOM Grant Program opens for York small businesses

The 2023 BLOOM Grant Program for Small Businesses Based in Boroughs in York County opens today, the BLOOM Business Empowerment Center announced through the York County Economic Alliance. 

The program remains open through June 9. Grants up to $1,500 will be awarded to small businesses located and operating in a York County borough for projects designed to improve productivity, expand services, and encourage growth. 

Projects funded through BLOOM include physical improvements to business location, marketing, improving signage, the purchase of new equipment, and training and certification for new services. 

The following will receive priority consideration: 

  • Businesses that have not received funding from previous BLOOM grant programs. 
  • Businesses owned by women, or Black, Indigenous, or people of color. 
  • Businesses owned by veterans. 
  • Designated York County Trail Towns Friendly Businesses. 

Created in 2018 to help businesses improve productivity, expand services, or grow to the next level, BLOOM Grants numbering 170 have totaled $387,978 that has been distributed to small businesses/organizations in York County, Downtown York, York County Trail Towns communities. 

Grant recipients include women-owned businesses, start-up entrepreneurs, and graduates of BLOOM classes. Women-owned businesses have received 70% of the grants, and 53% have gone to persons of color. 

An informational webinar will be held May 23 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. Applicant finalists are required to participate in a virtual pitch competition on June 20.

WBCO appoints 3 advisory board members, announces grants  

The Women’s Business Center Organization, a program of the York County Economic Alliance, appointed three new members to its advisory board: 

  • Margaret Eckles-Ray, program director for White Deer Run York Assessment Center. 
  • Tara Houser, vice president of marketing with First Capital Federal Credit Union. 
  • Nicole Shaffer, director of her traditions with Traditions Bank. 

The WBCO also began its 2022 season by allocating $10,000 in Bloom grant funds to six women-owned businesses in York County. 

The money comes through the Bloom Business Empowerment Center, which aims to “accelerate small business ownership and success, promote Pathways to Prosperity for talent development, and advance representation in leadership and access to opportunities,” a news release said. 

The recipients are: 

  • Revolt Style Studio, for signage and marketing for 717 fest, a weekend-long, vintage-only vendor market offering curated clothing, accessories, home decor and more. 
  • Sara Ellen Event Venue, to support event venue startup and marketing.   
  • Lash Up, for business improvements to make clients feel safer and more welcome with the addition of extra lighting in the parking lot and other outside areas. 
  • Velvet Beauties, for off-street parking for customers; business improvements; and renovations for a better fitting room. 
  • The Curious Little Playhouse, for an outdoor music system. 
  • Portraits of Beauty by Gretchen, for continuing education to better serve clients through an Elite Enhancement 3 Day Training course on Eyebrow Ombre Powder Brow Training. 

Since 2018, 93 small businesses have received a combined $275,000 in Bloom grants – with an average amount of $2,900 each. Fifty-four percent of the enterprises are owned by a person of color, and 64% by women.