When the pandemic hit in 2020, we were all profoundly affected; our state's small businesses were no exception. Entrepreneurs faced unprecedented conditions: forced closures, risks to staff and customer health, and changes to customer spending and shopping habits. In response, leaders from CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions) from throughout the state of Pennsylvania came together as the PA CDFI Network and worked with state political leaders to launch a grant program that delivered over $249 million total dollars to our state's small business owners.
While the overall need was much greater and we are still in economic recovery mode, the PA CDFI Network is now embarking on a statewide "Keeping Doors Open" tour to educate small businesses, lenders, and community economic development leaders about the rollout and implementation of the COVID-19 grant program as well as the important role that CDFIs continue to play in supporting and growing small businesses. Today's event (hosted by PA-CDFI Network member The Enterprise Center Capital Corporation) featured speakers Varsovia Fernandez (PA-CDFI Network), Trina Worrell-Benjamin, and State Senator Vincent Hughes, as well as a panel moderated by Daniel Betancourt (Community First Fund) featuring Leslie Benoliel (Entrepreneur Works), Rep Jared Solomon, and Philadelphia City Council Member Cherelle Parker.