Skip to content
Image of a white flag
Back to News

Minority Business Recovery and Growth Loan Fund Program Marks One-Year Anniversary

Press Release
October 7, 2021

To date, the URA and PNC Foundation initiative has funded 41 local businesses and deployed $2.6+ million in capital

PITTSBURGH (October 7, 2021) The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) and PNC Foundation marked the one-year anniversary of the Minority Business Recovery and Growth Loan Fund (MBRGLF). The fund continues to provide access to capital for existing minority-owned businesses inside the City of Pittsburgh that are either growing or continuing to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Since launching the MBRGLF program in September 2020, the URA has funded 41 businesses and deployed $2,678,580 in capital.

“The PNC Foundation's investment in the MBRGLF program allowed us to expand our services and provide critical financial support to businesses trying to recover and grow after the height of the pandemic,” said URA Director of Commercial Lending Jennifer Wilhelm. “We plan to continue the program into next year, assisting as many businesses as possible.”

Last year, the PNC Foundation awarded the URA a $10 million investment to support equitable initiatives Citywide. A total of $5 million of that investment was allotted to the MBRGLF.

“We are encouraged by the program’s early success and the impact this funding has had for minority-owned businesses over the course of the past year,” said Lou Cestello, PNC regional president for Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pa. “At PNC, we believe we are only as strong as the communities we serve. This program is a shining example of the transformative power of public and private collaboration. These types of investments help individual business owners, and lift up our entire region, making it a more vibrant and diverse place to live and work.”

To be eligible for the MBRGLF, businesses must be at least 51% minority owned. These loans have seven-year terms and are in amounts up to $100,000. The first year, there is 0% interest with no payments due. Starting year two through the end of the loan term, it amortizes at 2% with principal and interest payments due monthly. The capital can be used for hiring and payroll, inventory, sales/marketing, e-commerce, rent, utilities, insurance, real estate development, leasehold improvements, and other approved fixed costs related to business recovery or growth.

"We know that minority- and women-owned businesses face additional barriers in business and the pandemic clearly exacerbated barriers that affect our minority communities. Thanks to the PNC Foundation and the URA, we were able to provide direct assistance to minority-owned businesses, many of whom are also women-owned businesses, to continue to build up our local entrepreneurs to sustain and lead us to recovery," Mayor William Peduto said.

The businesses supported by the fund to date are 100% minority-owned and 68% women-owned business enterprises (MWBE). Three of those MBRGLF supported businesses are Smokey City’s 412 BBQ, Floriated Interpretation, and Each One Teach One Childcare and Learning Center. Below is a snapshot of each business.

Smokey City’s 412 BBQ Takes on a Summer of New Possibilities

Earlier this summer, GetGo released new sandwiches as part of their Great Summer of BBQ at several locations. One of these sandwiches was called Uncle Jammy’s Chicken Sammy, and it featured a sauce created by a local business owner. The man behind the sauce is none other than Jamal Etienne-Harrigan, one of the URA’s borrowers and creator and owner of Smokey City’s 412 BBQ.

“I’m really happy I got the (URA) loan, because it was a major part in being able to fulfill the GetGo order,” said Etienne-Harrigan. “It really allows me to reach out to wider constituency and expand the business.” Read his story.

Floriated Interpretation – From Back Porch to a Business in Full Bloom

Amongst the traffic on the Avenues of Hope Initiative's Second Avenue in Hazelwood, there is a small sanctuary that brings peace to the busy road. As you pull into the entrance, you are immediately greeted by community members and beautiful scenery. Everyone is talking and happily working on the plants and flowers that line the outside of the shop. This little oasis is Elaine Price’s shop, Floriated Interpretation.

“They (the URA) believed in me,” said Price. “Because they believed in me, they invested in me. They believed in me and my dreams. I will never forget that.” Read her story.

Each One Teach One Childcare and Learning Center
“Where students can leave their heartaches and headaches at the door and allow learning to occur.”

Dr. Dominique Thornhill, founder of Each One Teach One Childcare and Learning Center, believes that the key to success is a solid educational foundation. That’s why she founded the 24/7 child care and learning center. Now, she’s engaging with the URA and planning to expand with a goal to serve as many children as possible and alleviate the burden of the pandemic on families.

“The URA has been a Godsend in connecting Each One Teach One to resources throughout the City of Pittsburgh, as well as financial assistance,” said Thornhill. Read her story.

PNC’s work with the URA reflects the bank’s long history supporting economic empowerment efforts in the communities it serves. This investment is aligned with the priorities of both PNC Community Development Banking and the PNC Foundation, which have a sharp focus on boosting the quality of life in low- and moderate-income communities through neighborhood revitalization, economic development initiatives, early childhood education, financial education, consumer programs, and community development lending and investing.

In keeping with this focus and as part of its $10 million investment in the URA, the PNC Foundation also collaborated with Invest PGH in June 2021 to launch the Pittsburgh Childcare Reinvestment Business Fund (CRiB). This pilot loan program is designed to sustain and stimulate the growth of childcare businesses in the City of Pittsburgh.


About PNC Foundation
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

About the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA)
The URA is the City of Pittsburgh's economic development agency, supporting the City’s economic development goals, which are designed to create a city of inclusive opportunity for residents, stakeholders, and communities. The URA is committed to creating more housing that is affordable to the average Pittsburgher; encouraging more entrepreneurship and small business development; promoting inclusive growth and quality job creation; expanding neighborhood and main streets revitalization efforts; and developing a talented workforce that is equipped with the skills of the future.


More News

Scroll Up