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County of Berks, O’Pake Institute Present $35,000 to Local Businesses

by Alvernia University

County of Berks, O’Pake Institute Present $35,000 to Local Businesses
From Left: Jack Short, Carol Gonzalez, Marisa Bishop, Lizette Epps, Pamela Shupp-Menet, Nicholas Nutile

Six businesses earn funding from the Financial Lending and Innovation Collaborative 

The County of Berks partners with Alvernia University’s O’Pake Institute to present $35,000 in funding to three non-profit and three for-profit businesses through the Financial Lending and Innovation Collaborative (FLIC).

“Implementing the IMAGINE Berks economic development plan requires collaboration and partnerships as we allocate resources,” said Director of Community and Economic Development, Pamela Shupp Menet, AICP, CEcD. “The FLIC program at the O’Pake Institute is meeting a key strategy directing financial support to an important population in our community – small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

Funds were provided in part through a grant from the Berks County Commissioners including Commissioner Christian Y. Leinbach, Chair; Commissioner Michael S. Rivera, Vice Chair; Commissioner Lucine E. Sihelnik for FLIC’s third round of business pitches and funding allocation. This is the first FLIC award utilizing County funding.

“The Alvernia University community and the O’Pake Institute’s network is beyond grateful for Pamela Shupp-Menet and Commissioners Leinbach, Rivera and Sihelnik’s continued dedication to the economic development of Berks County, the Reading CollegeTowne initiative and to the  O’Pake Institute’s mission,” said Alvernia University Vice President of Research, Economic Development and Innovation, Dr. Rodney S. Ridley Sr. “It is because of partnerships like this and initiatives like IMAGINE Berks that we can continue fueling innovation, entrepreneurship, and regional economic growth in Greater Berks County.”

Clean Done Rite, LLC received $5,000 to invest in equipment and marketing services. Now All Must Evolve (N.A.M.E.) received $5,000 to pay for legal fees and 501(c)(3) registration. Sustainable Misfits received $5,000 to pay for legal fees and 501(c)(3) registration. Co-Exist Build received $5,000 to acquire equipment. PMT Warriors Basketball received $5,000 to fund program operations. Kangen Water of Reading received $5,000 for leasing space. Franklyn’s Breakfast, Burgers and Shakes will be receiving their award at a separate grand reopening ceremony in April.

“This grant is going to help my business as it gives me the opportunity to purchase the high-end machinery needed coupled with purchasing specialized non-toxic cleaning products,” said Founder of Clean Done Rite, LLC, Carol Gonzalez. “Receiving this grant makes me feel encouraged and motivated to further establish my business. This will help me to finally have a self-sustaining residential and office cleaning business.”

Students in the O’Pake Fellows Program and the O’Pake Finance Committee assisted the funding candidates prior to their pitch with Spark Business Incubator services such as business plan development, financial statements, financial literacy, and pitch deck preparation.

“Our FLIC microgrant program focuses on supporting businesses and investing in the potential of their future success,” said Director of FLIC, Lizette Epps. “Our unique hands-on experiential learning model provided by the students to the entrepreneurs and small businesses sends a clear message to all involved: trying matters, process matters, and learning along the way matters most. We are thankful to all the supporting organizations and agencies who support FLIC and believe in supporting businesses across the region.”