Minority-Owned Businesses Receive Support from AEDC through PPL Sustaining Grant Award

 AEDC awarded $2,500 from PPL to further diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout the Lehigh Valley


David Dunn & Erin Hudson of AEDC, with Jane George of PPL

Allentown, Pa. — August 12, 2021—Allentown Economic Development Corporation is pleased to announce it has been awarded $2,500 through the PPL Foundation Sustaining Grant program. The funds will support the marketing of AEDC’s loan program serving minority business owners, the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority Loan Fund (PMBDA).

The PMBDA Loan Fund serves both Lehigh and Northampton County and is one of four existing loan programs administered through “Urban Made”, AEDC’s business and retention initiative. AEDC will utilize the grant funds from the PPL Foundation to develop and distribute information to educate minority business owners in the two counties about available funding to help expand their businesses.

“We are grateful for the support and partnership with PPL in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Marketing and Communications Specialist Erin Hudson. “By originating more PMBDA loans throughout the Lehigh Valley, we can continue to combat inequities relating to access to capital faced by minority business owners. The majority of contact for this program occurs through word-of-mouth referrals, and we’re determined to reach these business owners more directly.”

Since 2017 AEDC has grown the PMBDA program to be the second-largest administrator of the PMBDA loan funds (surpassed only by the Commonwealth itself) and has administered seven loans to minority-owned businesses. Total PMBDA loans outstanding increased from $300,000 to $1.2 million. In that timeframe, AEDC has helped minority business owners create more than 100 new jobs as a direct result of the PMBDA loan program. Three specific clients include:

  • A steel fabrication company that grew from 17 employees to 74 full-time workers.
  • A local pharmaceutical manufacturer who grew from six to 14 full-time workers at the close of 2020 and is expecting to grow to 30 employees by the end of 2021.
  • An adult daycare center that grew from a small business employing a few workers to employ 76 full-time workers, with the expectation to grow to 100 employees by the end of 2021.

To qualify, eligible businesses (as defined by the Commonwealth’s PMBDA program) must be 51% owned by socially or economically disadvantaged minorities, which is based on cultural, racial, or chronic economic circumstances, background, or similar cases. Borrowers include but are not limited to African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Aleuts, Asian Americans, Asian Indians, and Eskimos. Loan amounts can cover up to 90% of a project cost, or $250,000, whichever is less. Project costs typically include machine and equipment costs, land costs, building acquisition, construction, renovation, legal fees, and working capital. Loan fees apply, along with approval criteria requiring borrowers to create one full-time job or an equivalent part-time job for every $50,000 borrowed within three years of receiving loan funds.

AEDC has a current operating budget of $1.64MM. Approximately 59% of its revenue comes from real estate development and property management, with 28% from business incubation program activities, 6% from business outreach and finance program activities, and 7% from private and public support.

The PPL Foundation’s sustaining grants program distributed $450,000 to 115 nonprofit organizations across central and eastern Pennsylvania to support education initiatives; promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; and strengthen community resources. “Through its grants, the PPL Foundation invests in innovative approaches to address critical social challenges and help build stronger, more sustainable communities,” said Ryan Hill, president of the PPL Foundation. “We’re proud to support the work of our nonprofit partners, working together to improve the lives and well-being of residents in the communities we serve.”


About Allentown Economic Development Corporation

Allentown Economic Development Corporation is an independent nonprofit organization, founded in 1979, whose mission is to improve vacant and underutilized properties within the City of Allentown by assisting manufacturers, business owners, and entrepreneurs in obtaining the resources and opportunities they require for success. AEDC is committed to advancing the economic vitality of Allentown and the Lehigh Valley through its three core initiatives; Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, Urban Made and Urban Sites, programs focused on helping businesses grow, receive the support they need, and find a home in Allentown. For more information, please visit

About the PPL Foundation

Through strategic partnerships, the PPL Foundation promotes the development of sustainable communities and supports children’s success from cradle to career. The PPL Foundation contributes more than $3 million annually to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit



Contact: Erin M. Hudson
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Allentown Economic Development Corp.