The York County Economic Alliance is working to engage the county’s student population with the small business community.
And to do that, they’ve enlisted a handful of the county’s students as summer interns who are looking to use YCEA funds to invest in two small businesses through a newly developed micro-grant program.
The program, YoCo Bloom, which launched this afternoon, will award two $2,500 grants to the for-profit companies with less than 100 part-time or full-time employees.
“We know this is a small pool of funds, but it is a pool of funds nonetheless. We know that for these awardees, these grants will make a difference,” said Kevin Schreiber, president and CEO of the YCEA.
The grants, Schreiber said, will act as a stepping stone for businesses to create lasting change in York County. To be eligible for the grant, a business must be a member of YCEA, based in York County, able to match 10 percent of the grant’s capital value to show commitment to the project, and create a plan to use the funds within four months of reception of establishing a need.
In addition to helping small businesses, the experience-based learning the interns will receive offers opportunity, explained Dr. Darryl Jones, vice president of HACC York Campus and a member of the YCEA board.
“The dynamic of learning entirely in the classroom has long since changed,” Jones said.
By engaging the student community, Schreiber said that there’s a hope that they will not only establish an investment in York County, but remain here as well.
“Not a month goes by where we do not hear from our business community that they can not hire fast enough or hire enough people,” he said noting that retirees will compound the issue even more over the next decade. “We need our young people to remain here in York. And to do so, we must ensure that they’re exposed to all of the available opportunities.”
The concept of the grants, which was developed by YCEA summer interns, will be completely administered and awarded by them as well.
- Hayden Schimp, 21, Kutztown University
- Bryce Kruger, 21, York College
- Rubi Garcia Manzo, 21, Penn State University
- Chase Summers, 19, Dennison University in Granville, Ohio
- Sara Rilatt, 18, Bryn Mawr College
- Dylan Warner, 20, Elizabethtown College
The deadline to apply is 4 p.m. July 13.
Applicants will be selected by interns for an in-person interview that will involve a pitch for their initiative or explanation of how the funds will be used.
Finalists will be notified by July 20 at 4 p.m., and the pitch competition will be held on Aug. 8, at a time that has yet to be determined.
“We were told we had $5,000 to spend, handed a white sheet of paper and put in a room to come up with an idea, as a group, that will have an impact on our hometown,” said Bryce Kruger, a 21-year-old student studying public relations at York College. “Our hope is that this is just the beginning. We hope that this program will grow, flourish and live on for years to come.”