On December 3, 2019, U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) announced that the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is providing a revitalizing $1.6 million grant to the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation (MVEDC), which is based in Youngstown, Ohio.
“This project will establish the MVEDC Economically Disadvantaged and Growing Entrepreneurs (EDGE) RLF,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “This fund will focus its loan-making to assist in the growth of minority and women-owned businesses in Mahoning and Trumbull Counties, and the project’s location near a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone will help to drive private investment into the region.”
The grant will establish a new Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) to support of small businesses and entrepreneurs as part of the county’s economic revitalization efforts.
“This federal investment to establish a new Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) in support of small businesses and entrepreneurs comes at a critical time in our valley and region,” said Ryan. “Mike Conway and the team at the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation (MVEDC) should be commended for their vision and persistence to capitalize a program to support the growth of minority and women-owned businesses in Mahoning and Trumbull Counties.”
Revolving Loan Programs are primarily used for the development and expansion of small businesses in their regions. There are roughly 30.2 million small businesses in this country which accounts for 99.9% of all United States business. By focusing our attention to help small business grow, we can foster our local economies keeping money close to home and support our neighborhoods and communities. I am proud of the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for seeing the merit with this innovative investment opportunity,” he explained.
The EDA grant will be matched with $400,000 in local funds and is expected to help create 200 jobs, retain 55 jobs, and generate $9 million in private investment.
“This new RLF will help diversify and boost northeast Ohio’s economy by providing the critical gap financing that businesses throughout the region need to grow and expand,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
The funding will help catalyze private investment in a nearby Opportunity Zone. Opportunity Zones can spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide.
“The new Revolving Loan Fund will provide an additional funding source for Ohio’s minority and women-owned businesses and start-ups that are looking to grow. Continued investment in our small businesses will strengthen Ohio’s economy,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas.
“I applaud the Department of Commerce for awarding the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation a $1.6 million grant to help establish the Economically Disadvantage Growing Entrepreneurs fund,” said Senator Portman. “This fund will help diversify the economy in Mahoning and Trumbull counties by helping local businesses thrive. Not only will this fund help create and train employment opportunities for the Mahoning Valley, but it also targets opportunity zones and new market tax credit investments — both of which I worked hard to get included and passed in tax reform.”
Photo of abandoned factory in Youngstown via Adobe Stock.