Allentown Economic Development Corporation

Monthly Archives: February 2018

AEDC to administer PMBDA loan program for the Lehigh Valley

By the end of this month, Allentown Economic Development Corporation will be the official administering agency for the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority Revolving Loan Fund. It already administered the loans for Lehigh County and is now assuming regional duties from Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.

AEDC’s and LVEDC Boards of Directors voted to approve the transaction, as did the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. Additionally, AEDC recently applied to the state for additional loan funds and was approved.

“Consolidating the program that serves Lehigh and Northampton counties into one resource eliminates confusion for those seeking loans in regards to where to go and whom to speak with,” explained David Dunn, AEDC’s Program Manager, Economic Development Programs. “It also streamlines the process because AEDC has specific resources present to manage the program as a core part of our mission.”

Summit Utility Structures received PMBDA loans in 2014 and 2017 to launch and grow the company.

The loan program’s objective is to stimulate growth and expansion of minority-owned businesses and to create jobs in Northampton and Lehigh Counties. Loans of up to 90 percent of the eligible project cost (or $250,000, whichever is less) can be used for machinery and equipment costs, real estate acquisition, new construction, rehabilitation, and engineering, architectural, legal and other related costs.

AEDC currently has $300,000 in its loan pool that has been fully utilized. It will receive another $300,000 from the Pennsylvania DCED this month, which is already over 50 percent committed, along with the $200,000 from the reassignment of the LVEDC program, which has only about 25 percent of its funds lent.

“We are expecting several loan applications in the next month,” said Dunn. “That will bring combined loan commitments for the entire program to more than 75 percent of the available funds. Should we need more, we will evaluate requesting additional funds from DCED.”

Last year, the PMBDA program guidelines expanded the spectrum of who can apply for the loan.

“The PMBDA program has expanded from a focus on ethnic minorities to include socially or economically disadvantaged persons,” explained Dunn. “Someone applying for a loan needs to demonstrate, regardless of sex or marital status, that they experienced cultural, racial, or chronic economic circumstances or background, to qualify under this program. This means that many more businesses are now eligible for this loan program.”

AEDC has started notifying existing borrowers of the change in loan program assignment through meetings and direct contact. Marketing the program to the business community is being made through connections with regional minority-focused business groups, including the Black Business News Network and The Hispanic Business Network. Staff members are also reaching out by presenting at Rotary and attending minority-focused community business development events such as the recent Promise Neighborhood of the Lehigh Valley Entrepreneurship Without Limits event in downtown Allentown.

Minority business owners considering applying for a PMBDA loan to grow their business will need to prepare a formal application with financial statements, tax returns, and sufficient collateral to support the loan. The borrower also needs to demonstrate that they have sufficient present and projected future cash flow to support the loan payments. Read this article about how to prepare for a loan application.


Allentown production design company to take Center Stage thanks to Enterprise Zone Loan

When you attend a concert or show, you probably don’t give much thought to the work that went into designing and setting up the stage, sound, or lighting. But it’s the team of trained professionals who set up and run it that makes for a great show experience.

Foy Hall at Moravian College

For more than a decade Center Stage Lighting & Rigging, Inc. in Allentown has been the company behind the scenes at many of the region’s premier concert venues and theaters. And the company’s success has lead to an opportunity to expand thanks in part to a recent $100,000 Allentown Enterprise Zone Loan.

Center Stage President and Owner Paul Tardue worked with David Dunn, Allentown Economic Development Corporation’s Program Manager, Economic Development Programs, to apply for the 10-year loan, which will be used to buy new lighting, sound, and staging equipment.

The loan prompted the company’s move to a larger space next door to its existing office, which will take it from 3,000 sqft. to 8,000 sqft. The move should be completed by the end of February.

“The new office will give us space for a sales showroom, as well as more space for storage and prep, plus a loading dock and drive-thru door, making it much easier to load in and load out our trucks,” explained Tardue. “The loan is allowing us to buy larger pieces of equipment that we wouldn’t have had the space to store in our previous space. So we had to grow in size physically.”

Center Stage handles stage, lighting, and sound production for shows from designing the sets, to setting it up and taking it down. It also rents equipment, performs installation, and does equipment sales. They are a Rosco brand dealer of light gels, and also sell everything from specialty paints for sets to headsets, and even dance floors.

“The showroom will allow us to expand retail sales of sound and lighting equipment, as well as personal protective equipment,” added Tardue. “Because of the safety involved with a stage production, we have become known as the experts in PPE for industries beyond ours, such as construction. We are a Petzl dealer for fall protection harnesses, hard hats, and other related safety equipment. So we can now offer this line of products to any industry.”

Lehigh Valley Charter School for Performing Arts

Center Stage works with area concert halls, event centers, theaters, colleges, and high schools. Recent highlights include working with the Lehigh Valley Performing Arts High School in Southside Bethlehem to design and build the new school’s theater. They have also worked with Lehigh Valley Health Network on the renovation of the auditorium at the Cedar Crest location, and upgraded the lighting system and installing a projection screen at Moravian College’s Foy Hall.

A union shop for the past two years, Center Stage is the only Lehigh Valley member of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. They have five full-time employees and two-part time. When additional help is needed on a show, Tardue contacts the union for trained stage professionals.

Thanks to the Zone Loan, Tardue expects to hire an additional employee or two over the next year to help with the demand.



Is your company considering a loan? Here’s how to prepare for it.

By David Dunn, Program Manager, Economic Development Programs, Allentown Economic Development Corporation

As a business undergoing or considering change, whether expanding or consolidating, you need to have cash on-hand to execute your strategy. Your existing cash flow may not be enough to take your plan to where you want it to go.  That is where a business loan can be crucial to your businesses success.

Applying for a loan can be stressful. Pulling together the information needed to complete the application is time-consuming, discouraging, and frustrating. It can take you away from running your business and drain your energy. Being well prepared speeds the process and can help reduce your stress.

So, what do you need to do to prepare to apply for a loan? Before you put pen to paper you should spend time gathering information and preparing for the larger broad questions that are often asked about your business. Here are some things you should have and should do:

Preliminary Information

  • Are you formally incorporated as an LLC, C, or S-Corp? If not, you must obtain legal business status, through a State application. Be sure to use an attorney to do this. If you are in a partnership, is the fictitious name filed with the State, and do you have a formal agreement for your entity? Is your status current, and can you obtain a certificate of ‘good standing’?
  • Do you have a DUNS number? It is a unique nine-digit identification number, for each physical location of your business. If not, apply for free through Dun & Bradstreet. Lenders use DUNS numbers to run your business’ credit report.
  • Do you know your NAICS code(s)? According to the SBA website, The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) classifies business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. economy. The NAICS industry codes define establishments based on the activities in which they are primarily engaged. You can go to and search for yours free of charge. These codes are helpful because they let the lender compare your performance against industry standards.

Financial Information

Accurate and current financial statements:

  • Whether cash or accrual-based, monthly Profit/Loss (P/L) and balance sheet statements demonstrate that you closely manage your business. You should make sure your P/L Cost of Goods Sold is accurate and account for all costs directly related to producing your product or providing your service. You need to make sure that expenses like payroll and associated taxes, utilities, rent, insurance, etc. are present and charged for their applicable period(s).
  • Your Accounts Receivable (A/R) and Accounts Payable (A/P) registers should be current. Be prepared to explain any A/R or A/P balances 90 days and beyond.

Business and personal financial statements and tax returns:

  • Providing two-to-three years of both sets of statements and returns is standard. If your business is new, you can only produce what you have. Accountant-prepared fiscal year-end financial statements for taxes should match the tax returns and, LLC/S corporate income should flow and match personal statements and returns. If you file taxes jointly, you need a separate statement if your spouse is not going to be part of the loan application.

Current and projected cash flow statement:

  • This information confirms that you have the current and future projected cash to pay for the monthly cost of the loan. Typically, future projections extend out two years.
  • Cash flow statements should be conservative and defensible based on your projections. Assume higher costs and inflation factors where appropriate.


  • Unless you own substantial liquid business assets outright, you need to expect that lenders will request collateral from outside the business – i.e. personal guarantees from all stakeholders.
  • You should be upfront and clear with your spouse/partner about this. You are leveraging your personal wealth against the prospects of your business’ success.


Outside of the traditional information above, borrowers should prepare for the following questions, directly or indirectly, as they are often asked. Think of these as a different type of business plan, one that successful owners regularly answer:

  • Will this loan help my business reach a goal or solve a problem that is holding me/us back?
  • Do I have what it takes to financially support the loan?
  • Are my business systems, procedures and prospects in place to utilize the funds productively and profitably?
    • Do I have the processes, controls, software, and manpower to manage this?
    • Will I need to hire people and have I factored in the true, total cost of hiring/training, including wages and benefits?
    • How much time/effort is required to bring a new piece of equipment online and into production generating revenue? Will this equipment lower my costs, increase my production or both?
  • Following the plan using the Business Model Generation as a template, can you clearly and concisely explain:
    • The purpose of your business – what unique value-added proposition do you offer?
    • What key activities do you engage in to generate revenue?
    • Who are your key partners?
    • What are the essential resources you need to run your business?
    • Who is your target customer and where is your target market? Is it growing or shrinking?
    • Who are your competitors and what are the barriers to new competitors entering your market space?
    • What channels do you employ to reach your customer – direct/internet/referral sales?
  • Looking at your management expertise, what is your industry experience and management background? Do you have access to expert resources that can assist/partner with you?
  • How is your business structurally organized? Who are your key employees, and how long and how much experience do they have in your industry?

As you can see, applying for a loan is more than just paperwork. You need to gather accurate and consistent information and assess and confront your business strengths and weaknesses in real time. Your loan application is a step and part of the plan to pursue new opportunities that will help grow your business.

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