Wolf Administration Launches $ 2.2 Million Loan Fund to Support Creative Small Businesses

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HARRISBURG, PA – Today, Karl Blischke, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), announced the launch of the Creative Business Loan Fund, in partnership with Bridgeway Capital and the Community First Fund. The fund will make $ 2.2 million available to creative small businesses across the Commonwealth of Nations in affordable and flexible financing.

The fund will prioritize creative businesses located in low-income communities, those owned by Black, Indigenous Peoples and People of Color (BIPOC) or serving a diverse market, and those located in small towns and rural communities. As defined by the program, creative businesses include craft manufacturers, arts schools, architectural, design and manufacturing companies, media companies, and visual arts and production agencies. interpretation.

“Economic impact research convincingly demonstrates just how important creative businesses are to employment and economic dynamism,” said Blischke. “These businesses are invaluable contributors to the quality of life, jobs and vitality of our Commonwealth. In Pennsylvania alone, the arts and culture economy contributed $ 25.8 billion. to the state economy and 176,000 jobs in 2017. Creative for-profit enterprises, such as those eligible for the loan fund, add to this economic activity and, if supported, are able to play a vital role in helping Commonwealth cities recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. “

Eligible uses of loans will include working capital; equipment purchases; renovation of retail, production or office premises; and, in limited cases, the acquisition of buildings. Loan amounts will vary from a few thousand dollars to an average of $ 75,000, although Bridgeway and Community First will accommodate requests up to $ 250,000.

“With investment from the PA Council on the Arts, Bridgeway’s Creative Business Accelerator will channel more flexible and patient capital into the arts and culture ecosystem to help it maximize a recovery economy,” said TJ Bogdewic, president and Chief Executive Officer of Bridgeway Capital.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and their support for creative endeavors. The Community First Fund has served many arts-based businesses that play an important role in improving our communities, ”said Daniel Betancourt, President and CEO of Community First Fund. “This partnership will increase our ability to provide these clients with loans and technical assistance.”

The fund will be supported by technical assistance to small businesses provided by Bridgeway and Community First, each responsible for deploying 50 percent of the total capital available. Bridgeway Capital and the Community First Fund are nonprofit community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that have a proven track record of making investments that benefit low-income individuals and communities in Pennsylvania. CDFIs are US Treasury-certified community institutions that provide financial products and services to their communities. CDFIs provide services beyond those typically offered by conventional lenders, including community outreach programs, business resources, and financial advice.

Bridgeway Capital’s mission is to make Western Pennsylvania a prosperous region for all by fostering economic opportunity and community revitalization. Bridgeway helps underserved populations by providing capital and education to stimulate business and employment growth, to develop communities, to support entrepreneurs and to expand essential services that strengthen their region. Bridgeway serves the people of western Pennsylvania from its headquarters in Pittsburgh and satellite offices in Erie and Uniontown.

The mission of the Community First Fund is to create sustainable prosperity for low-wealth communities and individuals, especially people of color and women, by aligning capital, knowledge and advocacy to advance business ownership. , housing and community development. Community First serves the population of eastern Pennsylvania with its headquarters in Lancaster and satellite offices in York, Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown and Philadelphia.

the Pennsylvania Arts Council is a state agency reporting to the governor’s office. Led by a council of 15 governor-appointed citizen members and four legislative members, the mission of the APC is to strengthen the cultural, educational and economic vitality of Pennsylvania communities through the arts. By leveraging the immense potential of Pennsylvania’s arts and culture sector, PCA supports jobs, builds community, motivates learning, promotes the Commonwealth nationally and internationally, and sparks innovation.

Media contact: Norah Johnson, 717-585-4713

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