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AEDC, PPL Partner to Support Minority-Owned Businesses

By Colin McEvoy on August 30, 2021

AEDC’s David Dunn and Erin Hudson (respectively) with Jane George of PPL (right). photo courtesy AEDC

The Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) will be using funds provided by the PPL Foundation to support the organization’s loan program serving minority business owners in the Lehigh Valley.

AEDC has been awarded $2,500 through the PPL Foundation Sustaining Grant program, which will be used to support marketing of AEDC’s Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority Loan Fund (PMBDA).

“We are grateful for the support and partnership with PPL in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Erin Hudson, AEDC Marketing and Communications Specialist.

“By originating more PMBDA loans throughout the Lehigh Valley, we can continue to combat inequities relating to access to capital faced by minority business owners,” Hudson said. “The majority of contact for this program occurs through word-of-mouth referrals, and we’re determined to reach these business owners more directly.”

The PMBDA Loan Fund serves both Lehigh and Northampton County and is one of four existing loan programs administered through “Urban Made”, AEDC’s business and retention initiative.

AEDC will utilize the grant funds from the PPL Foundation to develop and distribute information to educate minority business owners in the two counties about available funding to help expand their businesses.  

“Through its grants, the PPL Foundation invests in innovative approaches to address critical social challenges and help build stronger, more sustainable communities,” said Ryan Hill, president of the PPL Foundation. “We’re proud to support the work of our nonprofit partners, working together to improve the lives and well-being of residents in the communities we serve.”

Since 2017, AEDC has grown the PMBDA program to be the second-largest administrator of the PMBDA loan funds, surpassed only by the Commonwealth itself. It has administered seven loans to minority-owned businesses since 2017.

Total PMBDA loans outstanding increased from $300,000 to $1.2 million. In that time, AEDC has helped minority business owners create more than 100 new jobs as a direct result of the PMBDA loan program.

Three specific clients include:

  • A steel fabrication company that grew from 17 employees to 74 full-time workers. 
  • A local pharmaceutical manufacturer who grew from six to 14 full-time workers at the close of 2020 and is expecting to grow to 30 employees by the end of 2021.
  • An adult daycare center that grew from a small business employing a few workers to employ 76 full-time workers, with the expectation to grow to 100 employees by the end of 2021. 

To qualify, eligible businesses must be 51% owned by socially or economically disadvantaged minorities, which is based on cultural, racial, or chronic economic circumstances, background, or similar cases, according to AEDC.

Loan amounts can cover up to 90% of a project cost, or $250,000, whichever is less. Project costs typically include machine and equipment costs, land costs, building acquisition, construction, renovation, legal fees, and working capital.

Loan fees apply, along with approval criteria requiring borrowers to create one full-time job or an equivalent part-time job for every $50,000 borrowed within three years of receiving loan funds.

AEDC is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve vacant and underutilized properties in the city of Allentown by assisting manufacturers, business owners, and entrepreneurs in obtaining the resources and opportunities they require for success.

The PPL Foundation promotes the development of sustainable communities and supports children’s success from cradle to career. The Foundation contributes more than $3 million annually to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations

The PPL Foundation’s sustaining grants program distributed $450,000 to 115 nonprofit organizations across central and eastern Pennsylvania to support education initiatives; promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; and strengthen community resources.

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