ECDI Recognizes First Graduates of Tech Savvy Program

ECDI is using their PRIME grant from the Small Businesses Administration to fund new program Tech Savvy. The multi-tiered program awards entrepreneurs with funds for technology-related business purchases. More than just a scholarship, ECDI will put their full range of services behind the program providing training and networking opportunities as well.

ECDI announced its first class of recipients with a graduation reception on Thursday, Dec. 4. Funds were awarded to La’trice Chatman owner of Superb Salads To Go, Patricia Okoro owner of Pat’s Delicious CHIN-CHIN, and Dale Grinstead owner of Goodfellow’s Barber.

The class represents the diversity in type and location of the businesses that ECDI serves. Chatman is looking to open her first location in Pickerington, while Grinstead is searching for a German Village or Downtown storefront. Okoro has been able to utilize Food Fort’s services to further develop her authentic African treat.

ECDI was one of of 24 PRIME grant recipients from across the country. PRIME grants are intended to help qualified community-based organizations provide training to small businesses with five or fewer employees that are economically disadvantaged or owned by low-income individuals.

“PRIME grants are an important part of the suite of programs the SBA provides and helps create opportunities in underserved and economically disadvantaged small business communities,” says  Martin Golden, Columbus District Director. “PRIME grants will help create small business success stories, economic growth, and jobs .”

Through the grant, 360 clients will be able to complete ECDI’s Tech Savvy Training program with 30 receiving scholarships, including last Thursday’s graduates. Recipieints can use the up to $800 schoalrships for IT-related purchases like laptops, point of sale systems, software, iPads, etc.

To be eligible, business owners must complete 12 hours of micro-enterprise business development training from ECDI. Their Small Enterprise Education Development (S.E.E.D) program meets the requirements and helps business owners develop a business plan as well as a series of action plans.

ECDI is one of the nation’s largest SBA-approved micro lenders. Through it’s programming, the organization has helped more than 2,250 business owners and created and retained 4,500 jobs.

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