COATESVILLE — A new resource is available for small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses. More than 100 people were on hand Thursday for the grand opening of 190 West Business Resource Center in Coatesville and a celebration of National Black Business Month.
The new business resource center is a partnership between the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC), West Chester University (WCU) and the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center (KUSBDC), and will serve small business owners and entrepreneurs with free access to business coaching in such areas as financing, human resources and marketing, according to a press release.
It is located on the second floor of nth Innovation Center, 190 West Lincoln Highway, in a space reserved for emerging companies, including technology businesses benefitting from Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) tax credits.
The nth Innovation Center is the first Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) real estate project in Chester County. It’s also the first Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) in Coatesville, which the Chester County Economic Development Council facilitated through an advocacy and application process — resulting in approval in less than two weeks.
“What an honor it is to not only witness — but also help advance — the reimagining of the City of Coatesville as a business and cultural hub,” Gary Smith, Chester County Economic Development Council president and CEO, said in a statement. “Working with partners such as 2nd Century Alliance and city officials, CCEDC has assisted Coatesville businesses with financing, site selection, workforce training and other resources. This new center reflects our commitment to being accessible to the business owners who work, live and contribute to our community here.”
Serving small business owners and entrepreneurs with free access to business coaching in such areas as financing, human resources and marketing, the 190 West Business Resource Center in Coatesville is a partnership between the Chester County Economic Development Council, West Chester University and the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center. A grand opening was held Thursday, Aug. 18.(PHOTO COURTESY CHESTER COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL)
The Aug. 18 grand opening event included some of the 19 Coatesville business owners who have benefitted from the Chester County Economic Development Council ’s pilot program New Business Champions, which offers thousands of dollars in free services to help small businesses develop critical entrepreneurial skills. Oversubscribed since its launch in February, underrepresented businesses were given priority during the application process, with 51 businesses served across Chester County.
“It is especially meaningful to be opening 190 West Business Resource Center during National Black Business Month. We are excited to help ignite new businesses, especially black-owned businesses right here in Coatesville,” James Logan, Coatesville City Manager, said in a statement. “This completes a wonderful economic development partnership that includes 2nd Century and CCEDC.”
Services at 190 West Business Resource Center will be by appointment to accommodate the schedules of entrepreneurs who may be working additional jobs as they grow or get their new businesses off the ground. In addition to free, one-on-one coaching, the center plans to hold workshops on financing, business development, marketing and management strategies.
“West Chester University is proud to partner with CCEDC and Kutztown Small Business Development Center to help promote small businesses and entrepreneurship in Coatesville and the region,” R. Lorraine (Laurie) Bernotsky, executive vice president and provost, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, said in a statement. She added that leveraging the talents of West Chester’s faculty and students to help strengthen neighboring communities is an example of the school’s mission to prepare students “personally and professionally to contribute to the common good.”
Active programming will begin after Labor Day but interested small business owners and entrepreneurs can get started now by submitting their introductory information at https://ccedcpa.com/190-west-brc/.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local communities,” John Stettler, director, and Kecia Sturdivant, assistant director of Kutztown SBDC, said in the release. “They provide us with goods and services, help employ our fellow neighbors and inject life into our neighborhoods.”
The launch of 190 West Business Resource Center is a key initiative of the Chester County Economic Development Council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, approved in May following input from more than 50 community and business leaders. The plan was formulated over the last year by the council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force.
“To make a real difference in underserved communities and populations, we know that we need to be present and accessible. 190 West Business Resource Center will help us make impactful strides,” Mike Grigalonis, chief operating officer of the Chester County Economic Development Council, said in a statement. He added that the agency expects to soon unveil a new micro loan program that prioritizes lending to minority- and women-owned businesses across Chester County.