The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has launched the Diverse Business Financing Initiative (DBFI) to support and grow qualifying diverse businesses committed to full-time job creation and retention. Certified small businesses operated by minorities, women, veterans, service-disabled veterans, LGBT individuals, and more qualify for low-interest loans packaged and underwritten by the Bucks County Economic Development Corporation (BCEDC) in partnership with PIDA.
Land and building acquisitions; building construction and renovation costs; machinery and equipment; working capital
To qualify for loan financing through the DBFI, a business must be PA-based and for-profit with fewer than 100 employees worldwide. Many business sectors are eligible, including manufacturing, industrial, agricultural, research and development, hospitality, defense conversion, recycling, construction, child day-care, retail and service, export, and computer-related service enterprises. Prior to applying through the BCEDC, a business must receive certification through the PA Department of General Services or a third-party agency as a minority-owned, woman-owned, LGBT-owned, veteran-owned, or service-disabled veteran-owned business.
Third party certification organizations:
- National Minority Supplier Diversity Council
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
- Unified Certification Program
- US Small Business Administration Business Development Program
- Vets First Verification Program
- National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
- US Business Leadership Network
The DBFI will provide a maximum loan of $100,000 to finance a portion of total eligible project costs. The BCEDC considers a variety of factors when determining the loan amount, including the proposed use of funds, the amount matched by outside sources, and the anticipated number of full-time jobs created or retained.
Land and building acquisitions and construction and renovation costs: up to 10 years
Machinery and equipment purchases: up to 7 years
Collateral is required based on the asset being financed. Several factors are considered, including mortgages, machinery and equipment, inventory, receivables, blanket lien against business assets, and personal guarantees required by the principal owners. Personal owners are individuals with 20% or more ownership in the operating entity.
The BCEDC packages the loan application contingent on business qualification for the DBFI program. The interest rate and required collateral are to be negotiated between the BCEDC and the borrower.