- YCEA launches the BLOOM Business Empowerment Center.
Earlier this month, the York County Economic Alliance (YCEA) announced the launch of the BLOOM Business Empowerment Center, a hub of enhanced technical support, capital, and resources to accelerate small business startup, growth, and success for business owners in York County.
Led by Executive Director Sully Pinos, and as a direct byproduct of the County’s Economic Action Plan (www.YorkCountyEAP.org), the YCEA developed and launched the BLOOM Business Empowerment Center to grow more small businesses in York County.
Through a variety of resources, including small business grants and loans, the expressed goal of BLOOM is to serve all of York County, with a strategic focus within our historic boroughs, low to moderate income communities and City, and with a goal of supporting BIPOC and women-owned businesses.
“With our work over the last few years, we have been strategically focused on supporting businesses owned by women and persons of color with the mission to accelerate small business ownership and success, promote pathways to prosperity for talent development and advance representation in leadership and access to opportunities,” said Sully.
The YCEA has been offering BLOOM grants since 2018, and launched the BLOOM Small Business Development classes in 2019. These classes have directly served women and minority entrepreneurs.
“To date, we have awarded $291,500 to 104 small businesses in York County, Downtown York, women-owned businesses, start up entrepreneurs, and to graduates of our small business development courses, with 57% of grants going to businesses owned by persons of color and 65% going to women-owned businesses,” added Sully. “We enrolled 175 participants through the small business classes hosted in partnership with Susquehanna SCORE, Fulton Bank, Crispus Attucks, York NAACP, and Shippensburg SBDC with over 50% of the classes comprised of women and individuals of color, and we have welcomed over 600 in attendance of our business series events in the past three years alone.”
A graduate of the BLOOM Small Business Development classes and recent BLOOM grant recipient, Joshua Santiago, owner of C&P media, added “The BLOOM courses helped me with the financial aspects of running a business. Me just being a creative but wanting to run a business, I really needed help in that aspect, such as bookkeeping, taxes, schedule Cs, stuff like that, I didn’t know anything about that until I took this course.”
The next cohort of classes is anticipated to open this Spring.
To launch the BLOOM Business Empowerment Center, the YCEA raised over $1.7 million in capital to launch and deploy these enhanced business support services. Funding comes by way of committed community partners the Powder Mill Foundation, the J. William Warehime Foundation, York County Community Foundation’s Racial Equity Fund, as well as the YCEA and its Board of Directors who saw fit to support this with funding from their own reserve as well. The BLOOM Business Empowerment Center is now open for businesses for grants, loans, fellowships, mentorships, business series and small business development courses, and in addition to workforce and talent development support through Pathways to Prosperity.