The Progress Fund: Financing and supporting businesses in the PA Wilds and beyond
Elk County | Elk Country of the Pennsylvania Wilds
The Progress Fund is a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that is focused on providing flexible financing to new or expanding tourism-niche businesses.
Providing services across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland, The Progress Fund is headquartered in Greensburg, PA. Since 1997, it has financed accommodations, attractions, entertainment, farms, outdoor recreation, restaurants, retail, service business, wine and spirits makers and other small businesses. Through these investments and support, the organization also encourages job creation, historic preservation, diverse business ownership, local agriculture and trail-based development.
In the spring of 2022, The Progress Fund announced the hiring of a project manager to focus on supporting businesses within the designated PA Wilds region (including Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren and northern Centre counties). Kristi Wendel, based out of Elk County, was selected to fill this new role at The Progress Fund. She provides additional support for tourism-niche markets, with a focus on providing non-traditional and flexible financing opportunities to help small businesses grow and prosper in rural areas.
The organization lends money for the purchase of real estate, purchase of business equipment, building remodeling/restoration, working capital to cover operating expenses, and more.
“As a CDFI, we are able to offer flexible financing that can be structured to meet each borrower’s unique needs, including flexible collateral requirements, competitive interest rates, seasonal interest only payments, etc.,” Wendel explained. “We can work with Local Development Districts, banks, chambers, Economic Development Corporations, Industrial Development Corporations, etc., or act as a sole lender in a project.”
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- The Progress Fund: Financing and supporting businesses in the PA Wilds and beyondThe Progress Fund is a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that is focused on providing flexible financing to new or expanding tourism-niche businesses.
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