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Cascade: No. 56, Winter 2004

Enterprise Center Focuses on High-Growth Minority-Owned Businesses

The Enterprise Center (TEC) has changed its primary focus from nurturing start-up businesses in a Philadelphia incubator to strengthening established Pennsylvania businesses with high-growth potential.

Della Clark, president and CEO of TEC, said, “we had to rethink our mission and programs. Businesses are much more mobile today and can set up less expensively, so we moved away from the place-based strategy we started 15 years ago.”

TEC’s main activity is operating a Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Center (PMBDC), which will focus on assisting minority-owned businesses in Pennsylvania that generate $500,000 or more in annual revenues and that have high-growth potential. TEC has a contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to operate the center from January 2004 to January 2006.

Under the MBDA program, minority-owned businesses are defined as those owned and operated by African Americans, Asians, Hasidic Jews, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders. TEC will assist these businesses in obtaining federal government contracts and can pay for consulting services, at low cost to the companies, in such areas as marketing, technology, and accounting.

Jacqueline Hill, director of business relationships at PMBDC, previously held a position with the African American Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia, managed an incubator in Pittsburgh, and was executive director of the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group.

In other activities, TEC is seeking to develop retail stores, commercial offices, and housing along Market Street near its offices in West Philadelphia. Clark said she hoped that the development, titled Enterprise Heights, would be a model for “an urban neighborhood-based business campus.”

In addition, TEC has been approved as an SBA microlender in one of several small-business loan activities at the center. TEC also operates two business plan classes and a youth entrepreneurship program.

For information, contact Della Clark at (215) 895-4005 or dellac@theenterprisecenter.com or Jacqueline Hill at (215) 895-4032 or jhill@pambdc.com; www.theenterprisecenter.com.