Community Kitchen Pittsburgh gives those who have been down a path up

Shamaya Davis aspires to own a restaurant. Her nine-year-old daughter just wants to see mommy compete on the TV series “MasterChef.” Davis is on her way to making both of those dreams a reality as she prepares to graduate from Community Kitchen Pittsburgh (CKP), a nonprofit organization that gives disenfranchised people culinary arts training while helping them find stable employment in the food service industry.

“Literally everything in my life has fallen into place since I walked in the door,” a teary-eyed Davis says of the program. “Something new happens every day.”

Students attend classes on weekdays for 12 weeks at the Hazelwood facility. From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., they learn everything from basic knife skills and recipes for “mother sauces” to high-volume cooking and sanitation. Using those skills, they prepare up to 2,000 contracted meals per day for local charities, schools and businesses. About 70 percent of CKP participants have previously been incarcerated.

Pittsburgh fashion game-changers and trends to watch in 2019

Mentorship: National media have sometimes turned up their noses at Pittsburgh fashion (We’re looking at you GQ circa 2011). But that hasn’t stopped the city’s style savvy from proudly promoting the ’Burgh’s burgeoning fashion scene...The trade group MONMADE, which helps Pittsburgh-bred brands grow strategically and effectively, also has helped make the city’s maker scene bigger and better. Watch for even more initiatives like these in 2019.

$5 million fund will help minority business owners in Erie

Perry Wood, executive director of the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, sees a couple problems when he looks at a minority-owned business like Learning Ladder Early Childhood Education, located in the 2500 block of Peach Street. The first problem is there aren’t enough businesses like it. He said statistics show that minorities in Erie County own businesses at less than half the national rate. The other problem, he said, is that Learning Ladder’s owners, like so many other small businesses, face challenges finding money to finance their ventures.

In a joint announcement made Monday with Bridgeway Capital, ECGRA announced a plan to address both concerns by launching the Erie Inclusive Fund, a $5 million fund to encourage minority entrepreneurship.Wood said ECGRA is contributing $2.5 million to establish the low-interest loan fund that will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Pittsburgh-based Bridgeway Capital.

ECGRA and Bridgeway Capital invests $5 million in minority entrepreneurs

YOUR ERIE - It's a groundbreaking investment that will help minority businesses in Erie county shatter glass ceilings. Officials from ECGRA and Bridgeway Capital announced the Erie Inclusive Fund, a $5 million program that wants to elevate minority businesses in our area. This investment will support the expansion of the successful Erie Urban Entrepreneur Program.

Erie Inclusive Fund Launched

After a successful pilot program, the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority and Bridgeway Capital unveiled a $5 million investment fund to spark minority entrepreneurship in Erie County. Surrounded by local and state officials, they launched the Erie Inclusive Fund Monday at Learning Ladder Early Childhood Education Center. It's a growing, minority-owned business started by Kenya and Sean Johnson in the former Forward Hall building on Peach Street. Learning Ladder, which benefited from a loan, is the kind of business ECGRA and Bridgeway hope to grow. They are investing half of the loan fund in minority-owned businesses over the next three years.

Mover of the week Jimmy Jackson, Erie Office Director, Bridgeway Capital

ERIE TIMES - James “Jimmy” Jackson has been named director of Bridgeway Capital’s office in Erie. Jackson will lead Bridgeway’s efforts to provide capital to invest in small businesses, develop communities, increase access to healthy foods and expand social services. Since opening its Erie office in 2012, Bridgeway has invested $20.5 million in northwestern Pennsylvania, lending money to people and organizations unable to obtain conventional financing.

Bridgeway Capital names Jimmy Jackson as its Erie Office Director

Erie, Pennsylvania – November 14, 2018 – Bridgeway Capital announces that James “Jimmy” Jackson has been selected as the Director of Bridgeway Capital’s office in Erie, PA. Jimmy Jackson comes to Bridgeway from Marquette Savings’ Business Banking division, where he held the position of Assistant Vice President, Business Banking, having extensive experience with business development, relationship management and credit support.

Jimmy Jackson will lead Bridgeway’s efforts in Erie to provide flexible capital to ignite small business growth, develop communities, increase access to healthy foods, and expand social services. Since opening its Erie office in 2012, Bridgeway has invested $20.5 million in people and places in Northwestern Pennsylvania that cannot access mainstream sources of finance.

Qualified Opportunity Zones will offer help to struggling communities, but big questions loom

Investors and community groups around the Pittsburgh region and country are eagerly awaiting guidelines and regulations for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) program.
The QOZ program was added as a provision on the controversial tax reform bill passed by Congress last year. Under the program, investors would be able to avoid taxes on capital gains by investing those gains into Qualified Opportunity Zones.

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