Media Coverage| Neighborhood Allies, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh enhance services for small businesses

Mar 24, 2022

By Liz Carey | March 24, 2022 | Pennsylvania Business Report | Read the full story

Neighborhood Allies, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, and the national nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund announced they will launch “Small Business Boost,” a new pilot program connecting business owners and entrepreneurs with financial counseling.

The move means Pittsburgh will join Akron, Ohio; Lansing, Mich.; Polk County, Iowa; and Rochester, N.Y., in efforts to connect small business owners with support services through the Financial Empowerment Center Initiative. The initiative offers professional one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service.

“Running a small business can be a critical driver of opportunity, helping entrepreneurs build financial stability and wealth for themselves, their families, and their communities – but for too many people, their own finances are a barrier to making a strong start,” said Jonathan Mintz, president and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “We’re thrilled to partner with Neighborhood Allies, the URA of Pittsburgh and Principal Foundation on Small Business Boost, which will help entrepreneurs manage their personal finances to they can better access capital and generate wealth, and to share lessons learned from this pilot so that local governments across the country can build strong and inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystems.”

The new initiative, Small Business Boost, will help local entrepreneurs and small business owners in Pittsburgh improve their personal finances, better positioning them to access capital and achieve their business goals. Supported by Principal Foundation, the initiative helps entrepreneurs and small business owners overcome obstacles to financial stability and allows them to more easily start or grow their business and manage irregular cash flow.

“While the Financial Empowerment Center can assist anyone who needs financial counseling services, with this grant, we’re able to develop the expertise to help entrepreneurs. We’re focusing our efforts on Black entrepreneurs, who have traditionally lacked access to capital and credit,” said Sarah Dieleman Perry, Director of Economic Opportunity at Neighborhood Allies.

The CFE Fund received a $1 million grant from Principal Foundation to pilot the program and worked with Neighborhood Allies and other partners to connect entrepreneurs and small businesses with FEC financial counseling. The Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center has already helped 474 residents reduce their more than $2.6 million in debt while building up more than $1.6 million in savings.

Top Header Image Photo Credit: Prototyping Larimer Stories by artist John Peña, photo by OPA