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Thousands of Dollars in Free Services Available to Small Businesses

Through Chester County Economic Development Council’s New Business Champions Program

The Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) is urging small businesses to prepare now to apply for up to $2,000 in funding to access free services from some of the region’s top professional service advisors and mentors.

“The application window for CCEDC’s New Business Champions Micro Grant Program begins February 1, 2024 and is only open for a month, so we are strongly encouraging eligible businesses to begin gathering some basic background information in order to be ready for this incredible program now entering its fourth round of distributions here in Chester County,” said CCEDC President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Grigalonis.

Nearly 100 small business owners in Chester County have benefitted so far from CCEDC’s New Business Champions program since it launched in February 2022 to help small businesses develop critical entrepreneurial skills, including business plan coaching, startup services and mentorship from professional service advisors in accounting, marketing, HR and more. Applications are open starting February 1, 2024 through March 1, 2024 at

“We know that it’s especially challenging for new businesses to identify mentors and afford professional services, so we have organized an impressive group of local experts who will work one-on-one with these businesses to address their most pressing needs,” said Chris McHenry, CCEDC Vice President of Development Finance. “Even small businesses that are not funded through the New Business Champions program can receive support services from our team, so it’s definitely worth applying.”

CCEDC recommends that businesses start gathering background information, including a description of products and services, how the business began, key areas that drive the business and key areas where the business can benefit from these types of professional services.

“We’re especially interested in businesses located in underserved areas of Chester County, as determined by census figures, including Oxford, Coatesville and Nottingham,” said Darlene Jenkins Walls, CCEDC Manager of Entrepreneur Outreach and Support. “Some businesses we’ve assisted were not set up yet, but their product or business plan was so compelling that we were able to help with startup services.”

To be eligible, businesses must have been established within the past 5 years and be based in Chester County with 10 or fewer employees. Consideration is given to business owners who are minorities, women, veterans, non-college degree holding, first-generation college graduates or re-entering the workforce after an extended absence. Prior recipients of the New Business Champions Micro Grant Program are not eligible.

Small businesses can apply directly at

Awards are subject to eligibility and funding availability, as well as a business needs assessment conducted through the CCEDC Business Resource Center, which opened its permanent home last fall at 357 East Lincoln Highway in Coatesville. The Business Resource Center serves small business owners by appointment. In addition, CCEDC offers access to the PA Catalyst Loan Fund, which provides low-interest loans to business owners who haven’t qualified for conventional bank debt.

CCEDC’s New Business Champions Micro Grant Program is funded in part by the Chester County Workforce Development Board and Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

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