York City to roll out micro-loan program for small businesses

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch

Entrepreneurs in York City will soon have the opportunity receive small, interest-free loans to build up their small businesses.

City officials will roll out its partnership with Kiva — a nonprofit organization providing a crowd-funded lending platform to low-income individuals with business aspirations — at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in City Council chambers.

The city, which will match all loans, is the first city of its size to partner with the company, according to a news release from the city.

“For me, it’s literally a dream come true,” said York City Mayor Michael Helfrich. “… I think this can change the lives of families. I think this can change neighborhoods.”

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Merchants in York City's Royal Square district celebrate Small Business Saturday with freebies and fun to thank customers.

Some city residents have complained that officials prioritize development in the downtown areas rather than its small, less wealthy neighborhoods.

The city hopes the program will change that perception by allowing small business owners, particularly in diverse, lower-income areas, to apply for zero-interest loans ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

The partnership is expected to spur economic development and create jobs, according to the city.

The York County Community Foundation and PNC are providing financial support for the partnership. The initiative is also crowdfunded, meaning community members can contribute to the program by joining the site. 

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.