(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Five Erie organizations will be seeing some added funding to their name, promoting small business and entrepreneurial growth within the area.

The Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority (ECGRA) was awarded $896,000.00 for their 2023 NWPA Innovation Beehive Network grants, which will be distributed to five Erie County nonprofits and universities.

“Working to spur business growth and job creation, small businesses make up the backbone of Erie County — and their entrepreneurial spirit should be celebrated,” said Dr. Perry Wood, executive director, ECGRA. “As a key part of ECGRA’s mission, we are focused on making transformative investments that drive economic and community development — uplifting small businesses for the benefit of our whole county.”

According to a release, the Beehive funding is designed to catalyze 501(c)3, nonprofit organizations, such as universities, to participate in the economic development system in Erie. Beehive grants provide vital matching funds to encourage the development of entrepreneurial support services at local institutions that have this purpose in their mission.

Below is a breakdown of the 2023 Beehive grants approved:

OrganizationProject NameAmount Awarded
Edinboro University FoundationPennWest Edinboro Beehive$200,000.00
Erie Regional Library FoundationIdea Lab and Support Services$96,000.00
Gannon UniversityGannon University’s NWPA Innovation Beehive$200,000.00
Mercyhurst UniversityMercyhurst University NWPA Beehive$200,000.00
Penn State UniversityLeveraging the Impact and Strength of Meehl Innovation Commons$200,000.00

“This ECGRA grant will allow the PennWest Edinboro Beehive to continue offering free branding and marketing services to hard-working Erie County small businesses,” said Christopher Lantinen, director, PennWest Edinboro Beehive. “The COVID-19 pandemic introduced new economic hardships and exacerbated existing ones, and the collective Beehive Network will help in the County’s continuing recovery efforts.