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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Committed
To Creating
Opportunities

Message from the President & CEO

Dear friends,

For more than sixty years, CCEDC has worked to advance the smart economic growth and prosperity of our county and region. For us that means helping all individuals–workers, students, business owners, and professionals–access the resources they need to grow their companies, earn a livelihood, and pursue the careers of their dreams.

We also know that not all people have shared equitably in the economic opportunities offered in our nation and in our communities. We recognize the obstacles that underrepresented populations have long faced when it comes to accessing the capital, training opportunities, business connections, and other resources needed for economic success.

For this reason, CCEDC, with guidance from our board, staff, volunteers, and many community partners, has adopted a comprehensive strategic plan to advance Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion both within our own organization and the programs & services we provide. We invite you to explore this website to see that strategic plan in action, and to join us in our efforts  to reduce barriers faced by underserved and underrepresented populations.

Gary W. Smith – President and CEO

Message from our Culture, Equity & Leadership Consultant

At the Chester County Economic Development Council’s (CCEDC), Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, our goal is to establish an environment which supports and nurtures minority and women-owned businesses.  We recognize that these groups often face barriers to capital, mentorship, and growth within their industry. 

Did you know?

  • Minority-owned businesses are 18.7% (1.1 million) and women-owned businesses are 20.9% (1.2 million) of total business ownership in the US according to the US Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey
  • According to the US Department of Commerce, minority-owned businesses are more likely to forgo applying for loans for fear of rejection, less likely to receive them when they do apply, and more likely to pay higher interest rates.
  • Bank of America’s 2021 Women Business Owner Spotlight indicates that 42% of women have never applied for a business loan or line of credit and nearly 25% believe women will never have equal access to capital.

To that end, CCEDC assembled more than 50 community and business leaders to form a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force to help guide our work and commitment to supporting a wider array of businesses in our region.  The result is a strategic plan to create opportunities for more entrepreneurs and provide access to resources to help them achieve their business goals.

Marrea Walker-Smith – Divesity, Equity & Inclusion Consultant

Highlights of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategic Plan

After convening our task force for the past year, we are pleased to announce that we have developed and approved a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategic Plan.  Highlights include:

  • Establishing a physical presence in communities with a high concentration of minority owned businesses
  • Developing and capitalizing a loan program that prioritizes lending to minority-owned businesses
  • Building a technical assistance model that specifically helps minority-owned and women-owned businesses access capital
  • Establishing networks for minority-owned and women-owned businesses to gain support, mentorship, and guidance
  • Developing appropriate training programs and services which considers culture and barriers for minority-owned and women-owned businesses

Not sure where to start?  Reach out to us today to start a conversation about our commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and how we can help minority-owned and women-owned businesses in our area.

We are a female, minority-owned, local small family-owned business. Thanks to the Main Street Grant, I am greatly confident that we will be able to provide our critical services to retirees in Chester County during this critical time.
Mercedes Ritter – Insurance You Keep
I absolutely loved my experience with the Career Connection Academy. It gave me the experience to explore my future and I’ll be attending Lincoln University in the fall studying in healthcare.
Kaicon Jackson-Mack – Coatesville Area High School Senior
We all continued to work full-time jobs during the pandemic as well as run our third-generation soul food and pizza restaurant in Coatesville. The COVID-19 Hospitality Industry & Recovery Grant (CHIRP) was a major help in keeping us open.
Dionna, Scarlett, and Charrisse Allen – Allen’s on First
I have nothing but good things to say about GETT – Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology! I attended when I was younger and I believe it transformed my path.
Emily Dobson – Washington College 2020 Graduate Cum Laude with Environmental Science degree and an Earth and Planetary Science Minor

Local Programs & Resources

Task Force Members

Would you like to learn more about programs to help minority-owned and women-owned businesses?

Email us today!