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PENNSYLVANIA WORKS TO HELP MINORITY BUSINESSES

 PENNSYLVANIA WORKS TO HELP MINORITY BUSINESSES
 HARRISBURG, Pa., May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Robert P. Casey today


reaffirmed the state's commitment to intensify Pennsylvania's efforts to help new and existing minority businesses grow and expand.
 The governor's remarks came at the conclusion of an Economic Development Partnership Board meeting that concentrated on the state's programs, resources and opportunities for minority-owned businesses.
 "We're interested in jobs," Casey said. "Not minimum-wage jobs or government jobs, but jobs people can live on, jobs people can support their families on."
 Casey is chairman of the Economic Development Partnership Board, which comprises business, labor, government and education leaders who help guide Pennsylvania's economic growth.
 Much of today's board discussion centered on programs offered through the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA). Administered by the Department of Commerce, PMBDA provides long term, low-interest loans and guarantees to minority-owned firms that are generally unable to obtain financing from traditional sources.
 PMBDA loans may be used to purchase land or buildings, machinery and equipment, and for working capital. The maximum loan is $200,000.
 Casey outlined a program of PMBDA strategic initiatives that the Department of Commerce has implemented, including:
 -- Providing financial and management assistance to develop minority-operated franchise businesses, which have higher success rates than independent small businesses. Since 1989, PMBDA has financed more than 15 franchise projects totaling $1.8 million.
 -- Helping minority businesses gain access to export opportunities in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean through the Minority Export Development Technical Assistance Program. Through trade missions, workshops, conferences, seminars and other support services, the export program -- created in 1990 -- has generated $34.3 million in financing packages and $31.9 million in joint venture and export opportunities for Pennsylvania's minority-owned businesses.
 -- Working with local non profit economic development organizations statewide to create small shopping centers that are anchored by a franchise and surrounded by smaller businesses providing goods and services. This initiative is budgeted for $1 million for the 1991-92 fiscal year.
 -- Establishing a $12 million equity venture capital investment fund for minority-owned firms in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The fund will provide financing for larger-scale, job-generating projects. Selection of non-profit organizations to operate the venture fund is expected next month.
 -- Hiring a marketing consultant to make the minority community more aware of PMBDA's programs and resources. The Department of Commerce is expected to enter into a contract with a firm within weeks.
 -- Starting a Youth Entrepreneurship Program to introduce minority high school students to the world of entrepreneurship. Last October, PMBDA entered into a contract with Temple University's Small Business Development Center for a demonstration program that includes classroom instruction and field visits to the New York and Philadelphia stock exchanges and to minority accounting and legal firms.
 -- Operating a demonstration program, jointly funded by PMBDA and the federal Appalachian Regional Commission, to provide loans of up to $5,000 to disadvantaged business owners in the state's Appalachian region.
 -- Creating a Governor's Advisory Commission on African American Affairs, a group of 25 education, business, labor and community leaders that will examine and advise the governor on a variety of issues that concern the African American community. Casey appointed the commission members last month.
 /delval/
 -0- 5/20/92
 /CONTACT: Jon Harwood of the Department of Commerce, 717-783-1132, or Charles M. Tocci of the Commonwealth News Bureau, 717- 783-1116/ CO: Pennsylvania Department of Commerce ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


CC -- PH029 -- 2452 05/20/92 16:03 EDT
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Date:May 20, 1992
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