A local commission is taking part in a key initiative in Erie County’s inclusive growth by launching a fund to invest in local businesses of Black, Indigenous, People of Color.

Here is more on the efforts of the commission and what it means to local business owners.

Diverse Erie Commission is launching a small business fund for businesses in the county that will provide opportunities of expansion.

Diverse Erie Commission is ensuring inclusive growth in Erie County with their small business fund.

Their goal is to make a difference for businesses in the BIPOC, also known as Black, Indigenous, People of Color community.

“We believe it’s going to change the blueprint for small businesses in Erie County. This is the first time where we’ve come together so many entities invested such a large amount of money for this particular initiative. So we believe that this will allow us to meet the needs and demands of the small businesses as they continue to grow,” said Gary Lee, Chief Administrative Officer for Diverse Erie Commission.

The fund will leverage $2 million and will act as a revolving loan fund to provide better chance of survival for businesses.

“We believe this will allow us to build the infrastructure for these small emerging businesses to not only survive, but to thrive. At the end of the day we want them to thrive and win, and we believe this fund will do just that,” said Lee.

One business owner told us what his plan would be if he was a recipient of the funds.

“Hire more people, do some repairs to the infrastructure of my property. There’s a lot of ways of advertising,” said Robert Vincent, Owner of Beez Appliances.

Although Vincent has ideas on what he would do with the money, he wants to make sure other businesses have the opportunity to grow as well.

“Because there’s so many other people who have ideas where I’ve been blessed and then mine is already up and running. Yes I can use some thing that can expand on it, but I also don’t want to take away from someone else who has a great idea, and you have unlimited amount of funding,” said Vincent.

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Qualifications for the loan requires business owners being interested in expanding while also meeting other criteria from the federal government.