The Pennsylvania Diverse Business Financing Initiative: A New Way to Support Small Business – Supporting Diversity and Sustaining Growth

BCEDC is introducing a new a loan program that supports emerging diverse businesses in seven counties of southeastern Pennsylvania.

When Bucks County businesses are in search for funding and financial support, the Bucks County Economic Development Corporation (BCEDC) has always answered the call. For more than 60 years, the BCEDC has promoted small business growth through financing options and informational resources. This year, however, the BCEDC is taking it one step further by empowering diversity in business through its new loan program: the Pennsylvania Diverse Business Financing Initiative (DBFI). 

In partnership with the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA), the BCEDC provides diverse businesses in seven counties with low-interest financing to help their businesses grow and thrive. Using a revolving loan fund, the DBFI distributes loans to qualifying business for land and building acquisitions, building construction and renovation costs, machinery and equipment, and working capital.

Capitalizing on Growing Diversity in Pennsylvania

Southeastern Pennsylvania boasts diversity both socially and economically, making the DBFI an initiative the BCEDC is enthusiastic to support. According to Niche, a website centered on region, school, and company rankings, six counties in southeastern Pennsylvania fall within the top ten most diverse counties in Pennsylvania. Bucks County is home to over 93,000 citizens of Hispanic, Asian, African-American, and biracial descent, composing 15% of the county population. As of 2017, 3.6% of Bucks County residents were veterans, and of this 3.6%, 81.9% were active in the labor force.

The BCEDC is proud to support an initiative dedicated to creating accessible funding for diverse businesses. Just ask Mr. Robert Cormack, the Executive Director here at the BCEDC. “What a fantastic opportunity to reach out to businesses in seven counties in southeastern Pennsylvania in providing funding alternatives regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and disabled or veteran status. I am looking forward to have BCEDC reach out on a regional level to provide needed services to the diverse business who will create and retain job opportunities in the southeast region.”

Is Your Business Eligible?

The DBFI is open to PA-based, for-profit businesses of a variety of sectors with fewer than 100 employees worldwide. The BCEDC will provide loans up to $100,000 to businesses certified owned and operated by the following:

  • Minorities
  • Women
  • Veterans
  • Service-disabled veterans
  • Disabled individuals
  • Members of the LGBT community

To receive certification, businesses can contact the PA Department of General Services or complete the process through a third-party certification agency. These agencies cooperate with your business, helping with the required documentation, online application, and organizing an on-site visit and interview prior to certification. Not sure which agency is right for your business? Find a complete list on BCEDC’s website! 

Starting Your Application with the BCEDC

Is your business located outside of Bucks County? No problem! One of the unique aspects of this new loan program is the ability of the BCEDC to expand its financing services beyond Bucks County and into six additional counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. Businesses in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton counties are all eligible to apply, and regardless of where your business resides, all loan applications and packages are processed by the BCEDC.

Determining Funding: Terms and Collaterals

To determine the amount loaned to each business, the BCEDC considers several factors, including the proposed use of funds, any amount matched by outside sources, and the anticipated number of jobs to be created or retained. 

For land and building acquisitions and construction and renovation costs, loan terms are up to ten years, and for machinery and equipment purchases, loan terms are up to seven years.

Based on the asset being financed, collateral is required on behalf of the business, and the BCEDC determines collateral based on mortgages, machinery and equipment, and inventory. Personal guarantees are also needed by the principal owners. Upon approval of your initial loan application, the BCEDC will collaborate with you to determine an interest rate and collateral that’s right for your business.

Find Out More

To get started on an application, determine if your businesses qualifies, or for more information on the DBFI, visit our website or call our office at 215-348-9031. The BCEDC looks forward to collaborating with qualified diverse businesses in the seven-county region and expanding our financial service base.

Written by Alexis McConomy, BCEDC Intern. Alexis is a rising sophomore at University of South Carolina majoring in Business Economics and International Business with minors in Computer Science and Spanish. Alexis is a member of The Sigma Omega Upsilon International Business Fraternity and is the Chief Communications Officer. She is a volunteer with Students Helping Honduras assisting to bring education and empowerment to Honduras’s youth. Her latest endeavor is with Quench, a non-profit organization, raising awareness about the World Water Crises in Uganda.