News and information about CAN DO for the community, investors, volunteers and board members.
Continuing its mission of supporting entrepreneurs and growing companies, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania has awarded funding to two West Hazleton companies located in CAN DO’s Valmont Industrial Park, IntelliGreen and Summit Utility Structures, LLC. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an organization supported by the Pennsylvania’s Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED).
Mark Minnig, Business Development Specialist, has received certification as an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) from the National Development Council (NDC), a nationally respected organization that offers community partners throughout the U.S. development assistance and professional training.
Minnig joined the business development department at CAN DO in April of 2019. Prior to coming to CAN DO he was an Economic Development Analyst for the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) in the Loan Underwriting Department.
For the past several months, Minnig has been assisting companies in obtaining funding through various programs to assist with hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the COVID-19 Pandemic rages on, CAN DO remains actively engaged in current and future funding programs on the federal, state, and local level and continues to offer assistance to local businesses looking for guidance.
CAN DO has been notified by the Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) and local Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), MetroAction, that round one of the COVID-19 Relief PA Statewide Small Business Assistance Program is complete.
Round two, which was originally scheduled to begin on August 3, will now open on August 10 at 9 a.m. and remain open through August 28. Businesses who applied during the first round and were not approved do not need to reapply as their applications will move to round two automatically. Potential applicants should note that this is likely the last round of funding for this program.
Industries and businesses around the world have certainly felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but at least one company with manufacturing facilities in Hazleton and Hometown has seen increases in product demand as more and more people choose to shelter at home.
Highwood USA, a manufacturer of synthetic outdoor living products touted as a low maintenance realistic alternative to real wood, is experiencing higher demand for their outdoor furniture products. “The recent issues actually have helped us because people are staying home and demand is very high. With everyone not going out to dinner, not going to the movies, not getting their nails done, not going on vacation, everyone in the country has turned to their backyard, so our furniture sales have been extremely strong,” said John Quarmley, Highwood’s chief operating officer.
Governor Tom Wolf announced Thursday that a $50 million grant program has been established through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to assist employers in providing hazard pay to employees in life-sustaining occupations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CAN DO received an $83,750 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Business Development grant program as part of the renovations to be completed at the CAN BE Innovation Center, an equal opportunity provider, located in the Valmont Industrial Park. More specifically, the grant proceeds will be used to purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Monday, June 8, that the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is launching a new program to provide direct support to impacted small businesses to help cover the loss of operating expenses they have incurred during the coronavirus shutdown or will encounter in the transition to reopening.
CAN DO Director of Economic Development Jocelyn Sterenchock will speak at the International Business Innovation Association Conference (InBIA), which is being held virtually from June 23-25 due to COVID-19.
Sterenchock will discuss ecosystems for incubation and innovation in rural communities and share how CAN DO, through its CAN BE Innovation Center, and other organizations throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania have placed a strong focus on developing a regional partnership to grow entrepreneurial activity. She will also showcase how The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative (THInC) combined multiple organizations, both public and private, within Hazleton to create a collaborative to help forward small business and entrepreneurial development. In light of changes among businesses and entrepreneurs due to COVID-19, Sterenchock will also discuss how organizations can link ecosystem building to other national, state, and local economic development initiatives.
The COVID-19 pandemic altered the business landscape and forced many companies to adapt their business strategies to produce vital products and services. IntelliGreen answered this challenge by using its expertise in the energy industry to develop a temperature scanner that helps businesses and educational institutions keep employees and students safe during these uncertain times.
IntelliGreen, which has an office in the CAN BE Innovation Center in the Valmont Industrial Park, lauched in 2019 with a vision to use its energy industry knowledge to supply consulting support to its customers, including strategic planning, procurement, engineering services and business optimization.
Best Cigar Prices CEO Greg Fox said part of the company's mantra is “to treat employees with respect, recognize and reward them, listen to them and, most of all, set them up for success in a safe and enjoyable environment.” When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the company proved just how important that mantra is by focusing on keeping employees safe and taking a proactive approach to implementing serious safety measures, including providing more than 100 meals a day, six days a week for employees and their families and offering free personal protective equipment.
Although Fox was forced to furlough 33 of the 86 full- and part-time employees that work at Best Cigar Prices and its Best Cigar Pub restaurant, he retained the head chef and has been offering the free meals to all active employees and their families every Monday through Saturday since mid-March.