Last spring we awarded $65,000 to Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC) to support a two-pronged approach to support Wilkinsburg-based businesses and to attract new businesses to Wilkinsburg.
By: Marlee Gallagher, Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation
Once the grant was received, completing a Market Analysis was a key first step in understanding what businesses make up Wilkinsburg’s commercial core as well as the best methods and next steps for enhancing the business district. In December 2015, the WCDC was able to complete a comprehensive Market Analysis to guide their work in the business district moving forward.
While the Market Analysis was being completed, WCDC staff continued working to grow the Business Image Improvement Fund, which was created in December 2014 to help businesses improve their brand, marketing, and, generally, their physical appearance. Since the fund program started, the WCDC has received 14 fund requests, and has awarded eight businesses and completed five physical image and three virtual image projects to date, totaling an investment of $44,470.
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Additionally, the WCDC completed a business resource booklet to introduce new entrepreneurs and residents to the community as well as share updates and resources with existing businesses. In addition to the business community, the booklet highlights Wilkinsburg’s many assets, including transit accessibility, community resources, recreation opportunities, educational facilities, and more. Paired with this resource is a video that highlights the WCDC’s business programs and features several local business owners who have benefited from them:
Through these projects, the WCDC has been able to develop critical programs and resources that ensure a sustainable and lucrative future for the businesses that have chosen Wilkinsburg, whether that was 50 years ago or just last year. The WCDC is proud of Wilkinsburg’s business community, and looks forward to more opportunities to work with Neighborhood Allies and other partners to continue making Wilkinsburg good all over.