Keystone News speaks with The Enterprise Center's Iola Harper for Black Business Month

Media Outlet


Danielle Smith


In Philadelphia, many turned to The Enterprise Center, which became a hub for loan activity. Iola Harper – senior executive vice president at the Center – said they were already working at a deficit when COVID hit.

So, the organization positioned itself to distribute funds, to help keep minority entrepreneurs afloat.

“We gave out $126 million in PPP loans,” said Harper. “We gave out $610,000 to barbershops and beauty salons. We gave out $100,000 in grants to one of the commercial corridors, 52nd Street, that we work with.”

Harper said the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team also chipped in, donating $500,000 that was distributed to 68 businesses.

She added that the Center is also mobile, with a “Biz on Wheels” vehicle that travels to commercial corridors and works with small companies to provide them with technical assistance and business resources.

The Enterprise Center has launched a new Innovate Capital Growth Fund – a licensed Small Business Investment Company, or SBIC – to focus exclusively on investing in minority and women-owned businesses.