KUTZTOWN, PA – Customers Bank recently donated $55,000 to the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center (KUSBDC) to support resources for minority small businesses in Reading. The donation will help minority entrepreneurs with strategic planning to improve critical growth areas.
“We are pleased to continue to work with minority micro-enterprises in Reading due to the support from Customer’s Bank and many others in the region,” said PASBDC associate state director of program and policy Sonya Smith. “These banks and businesses see the importance of reinvesting back into the community, to help push the economic growth in the Greater Reading area.”
As a result of the donation, KUSBDC will continue their eight-week Business Skills for Success series for Reading small-business owners. The series is available in Spanish and English. KUSBDC offers services to minority business owners in their native language to combat culture differences and language barriers. These disadvantages lead minority business to remain a small micro-enterprise. This year, a new feature of the program will include the SBDC Kitchen Incubator Program (SBDC/KIP). The SBDC/KIP provides entrepreneurs with a safe, regulated space in Reading to create their products. A total of 20 new business startups will be the expected outcome measure from the additional certification class.
“Customers Bank is excited to continue our work with Kutztown University SBDC,” said senior vice president-community development officer Joseph Schupp. “Reading’s minority population has proven to be entrepreneurial-minded, although business owners often encounter obstacles due to language barriers, culture and lack of knowledge about regulations governing business in America. We are happy to support KUSBDC, because we know firsthand the high quality of services KUSBDC provides its clients.”
Customers Bank has a strong record of supporting its community and regional organizations. Previously, Customers Bank supported KUSBDC and the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center by providing a $52,500 cash match to help seven graduate student stipends at $7,500 per student, per year. The donation is matched dollar for dollar by Kutztown University with tuition waivers.
Customers Bank also has partnerships with Berks County Community Foundation, the Leon H. Sullivan Charitable STEP-UP Scholarship; Berks County Community Foundation’s Veterans Center Fund; Habitat for Humanity in Philadelphia and EverFI.