By Betsy Natter
Funding business growth and expansion can be a challenge for any business owner. Thanks to a new initiative offered by the Bucks County Economic Development Corporation (BCEDC), diverse business owners now have an opportunity to apply for funding specifically designed to encourage their company’s success.
The Pennsylvania Diverse Business Financing Initiative is a joint effort between the PA Department of Community and Economic Development and certified economic development organizations like BCEDC. The state-wide program seeks to assist diverse businesses as they grow their companies especially by creating or retaining jobs.
Many business sectors are eligible, including manufacturing, industrial, agricultural, research and development, hospitality, recycling, construction, child day-care, retail and service, export, and computer-related service enterprises. The program offers low-interest loans to qualifying businesses. Companies must operate for profit, be PA-based and have under 100 employees. Among those business owners who qualify are:
- Service-disabled veterans
- Disabled individuals
- LGBT individuals
Applicants for the loans must be certified by a third-party organization. These agencies work with companies to verify that their eligibility and ownership status meets the program requirements. They help with getting the proper documentation and completing the application. An on-site visit and interview complete the process. A list of certification agencies is available on the BCEDC website or by clicking here.
Loan Initiative Details
Loans will be issued for up to $100,000 for a variety of purposes including acquiring land or a new building, construction and renovation costs, purchasing machinery or equipment or even basic working capital. Decisions about the amount of a loan revolve around several factors, such as any matching funds from outside sources and the expected number of jobs created by the business’s growth.
Terms of each loan can vary from up to 7 or 10 years, depending on the intended use of the funds. Collateral is also required and varies based on a variety of factors. Interest rates will be negotiated between the borrower and BCEDC once a loan gets approved.
In the past, BCEDC’s ongoing mission has been to encourage economic growth and development within Bucks County. However, they are expanding their offerings through this new initiative. Diverse businesses within six neighboring counties including Berks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton counties can also apply for assistance.
To start the application process, interested business owners should visit the BCEDC website at www.bcedc.com/funding-sources/loan-programs/real-estate/dbfi or call their office at 215-348-9031.