SBA announces PRIME grants

COLUMBUS — The Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI) is set to receive a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME).

With its award, ECDI will launch the MBE Construction Technical Assistance and Training Program. The program is designed to ensure that local minority contractors can achieve market sustainability by helping them to increase contracts and revenue, expand their businesses and create and retain jobs for low-income individuals.

“The SBA plays a vital role in expanding support to small businesses by ensuring they have the tools needed to start and expand their businesses, creating more jobs and opportunities at the local level,” said SBA Region V Administrator Rob Scott.

The SBA’s PRIME grants help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses. Including ECDI, this year’s 32 recipients in 24 states and the District of Columbia will receive grants ranging from $75,000 to $250,000, totaling $5 million. In total, 111 organizations applied for PRIME grants for 2018.

“The PRIME grant will allow ECDI extra bandwidth to ensure that no one is left behind,” said Gil Goldberg, the SBA’s Columbus acting district director. “With our grant, ECDI will be able to focus on providing micro-lending and technical assistance resources to underserved communities.”

The SBA placed special emphasis in this year’s competition on projects that will offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those that service entrepreneurs in rural areas and HubZones.

Since 2005, in partnership with SBA, ECDI has assisted more than 13,000 individuals, created 3,000 businesses, deployed more than $46,000,0000 in capital, and created and/or retained more than 8,000 jobs through its lending programs and three SBA Women’s Business Centers serving all 88 counties in Ohio. Today, ECDI is the third largest SBA microloan intermediary in the U.S.

“Partnerships are essential for ECDI’s success,” said Inna Kinney, ECDI founder and CEO. “The SBA PRIME enables ECDI to further its mission by launching the Capital for Construction Technical Assistance and Training programs, ensuring that local minority contractors can achieve market sustainability, and that general contractors can continue to hire capable and skilled minority subcontractors.”

This year’s awards also emphasized organizations participating in the SBA’s Community Advantage Program. This program provides mission-oriented, nonprofit lenders access to the SBA’s loan guarantees to help small businesses that have outgrown microlending but are not able to access more traditional financing, including funding from SBA commercial lending partners. Eight Community Advantage Lenders were selected for PRIME grant awards.

PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in the Micro-Entrepreneurs Act of 1999. Grant funds were made available Sept. 30, and the project period for each grant is one year. For information on the SBA’s PRIME grants and for a list of this year’s grantees, go online to