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Berks small-business incubator gets $50K grant

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Jump Start Incubator awarded a $50,000 grant from BB&T. (Contributed).
Jump Start Incubator awarded a $50,000 grant from BB&T. (Contributed).

The Jump Start Incubator in Reading was recently awarded a $50,000 grant from BB&T to support the development of new small businesses.

The incubator was started five years ago by Berks County Community Foundation, with help from the Kutztown University Small Business Center, to provide a wide range of assistance to entrepreneurs starting new businesses.

David Roland, market president at BB&T for Berks County and Northern Montgomery County, said the bank recognizes the importance of encouraging entrepreneurs.

“Many small businesses need guidance to be successful, and Jump Start is helping its members thrive,” Roland said in a statement.

BB&T’s grant to Jump Start Incubator was a tax credit through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Neighborhood Assistance Program.

Friday, the BB&T Economic Growth Fund awarded $1.45 million in grants to about a dozen Lehigh Valley organizations to support manufacturing, create jobs, reduce blight and create other economic development initiatives.

Since its founding, Jump Start has helped nearly 40 companies get their start in Berks. Most are still in business and about half are owned by women and minorities.

Jump Start offers its members affordable office space, professional guidance, mentoring and networking opportunities.

“The incubator is an important tool in business development efforts in Berks County,” said Ernie Post, director of the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center.

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