Ben Franklin Awarded SBA Grant To Develop Women’s eBusiness Center

Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin Awarded SBA Grant To Develop Women’s eBusiness Center

The largest early stage investor in the region, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA, is pleased to announce it is one of the 20 recipients of an SBA grant intended to expand training resources that support women-owned small businesses across the country.  The SBA’s Women’s Business Centers are a national network of 136 centers that offer one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to women entrepreneurs on numerous business development topics, including business startup, financial management, marketing, and procurement.

The funding of this important initiative, Ben Franklin’s Women’s eBusiness Center of Excellence (WECOE), will offer programming that empowers women entrepreneurs in rural areas to start and grow a business online from anywhere including their homes.  Cathy von Birgelen, WECOE’s Executive Director, commented, “Recent studies done by the National Women’s Business Council, indicate that rural entrepreneurs, particularly women, face not only higher poverty levels and geographical challenges, but also cultural and professional support issues. WECOE was founded on the principle that advances in technology and the availability of the internet can level the playing field substantially.” 

Ben Franklin’s service footprint, which covers 32 counties in central and northern Pennsylvania, is fortunate to house many colleges, universities, and valuable business service providers that offer business start-up training. The establishment of WECOE will complement the efforts of our partners and service providers while offering a blended mix of training augmented with one-on-one support.

The WECOE program, which will begin offering services in mid to late 2021, will be available in 15 counties in central and northern Pennsylvania including Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango, and Warren. 

About Ben Franklin Technology Partners:

 The largest early-stage investor in the region, Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP, (an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority) provides investment capital, business support services, and TechCelerator startup training to emerging tech-based companies and small manufacturers located in the program’s 32-county footprint.

For more information:

Cathy von Birgelen, Executive Director
Ben Franklin’s eMarketing Learning Center
814-898-6547 –

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