The city of Erie is investing $20,000 to help five small businesses grow with the Flagship Fund Grant Program. This is the first round of companies for the new fund, five companies each receiving $4,000.
The five companies, ranging from technology to manufacturing, must match the $4,000 grant. Companies like Millcreek-based Uniform Outfitters, which supplies attire and accessories for first responders. Uniform Outfitters plans to move into city limits.
Owner Amy Makowski says, “…it’s about three times the space we have now. So, we’ll have more than enough room to do our growing.”
Then, there’s FW Millworks; the custom millwork fabrication shop needs to build out space in their building.
Owner Michael Grudzien says, “It’s really going to help us pull the trigger and get more employees in the shop and to meet our current sales demands”.
The grant is intended to support products or services that contribute to the city’s business culture and job growth and enhance the city’s reputation.
Michael White is the founder and managing director of White-Thorn Digital, a publisher of independent video games. “…I think what’s really important more than the amount of the grant is the fact that they recognize and formally say this is a thing that is sustainable here,” says White, “this is a thing that can provide jobs and make money.”
Director of Economic and Community Development, Chris Groner, says, “You have to have some level of assistance you can offer small businesses, the micro-businesses, the ones that are just now starting off. Some of them are going to succeed. Some of them won’t, but it’s important that you make that investment.”
The other businesses, Grant Larson Productions and 40-45 Media Corporation which does advertisement technology.
Money for the Flagship Fund is supported by revenue from interest on the city’s Economic Development Loan Fund.