The mission of the North Central Enterprise Development Program is to foster the economic vitality of the six-county area through a comprehensive regional economic development strategy – a strategy that focuses upon needs and potential opportunities that will result in improving the existing economic base and creating opportunities for new growth which together will enhance the overall quality of life in their region. To achieve this mission, a private sector-oriented program was developed to facilitate the opportunities for growth by way of direct assistance in increasing market share, low-interest loans, access to space, and access to technologies.

Ridgway, PA


  • Government Procurement
  • International Trade
  • Business Financing
  • WEDnetPA


Christine Perneski

Jennifer Hibbard
Loan Director

Amber Biondi
Loan Financial Assistant

Deb Delhunty
Business Development Coordinator

Barbara Brennen
Procurement Outreach Specialist

Mikala Biondi
Business Development Coordinator

Business Financing
Export Marketing
Government Procurement
Business Financing

The Business Financing Program was established to support the start-up and expansion activities of small businesses which will enhance the regional economy through the creation and retention of full-time jobs.  This initiative provides access to capital to meet the credit needs of new and existing businesses which are not able to entirely finance projects through conventional lenders and their equity contribution.  The program is not intended to compete with or replace bank financing, but designed to complement it through loans which are offered at below-market, fixed interest rates and the ability to borrow based on the number of jobs to be created and retained. To meet these objectives, North Central administers several Revolving Loan Funds (RLF) with funding from federal sources that include the Appalachian Regional Commission, Economic Development Administration and USDA Rural Development.  The Commission is also designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development as a Certified Economic Development Organization to administer and access state loans from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA).

Eligible Business

For-profit businesses operating as sole proprietorships, limited liability companies, S-Corporations or C-Corporations

Located in Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean or Potter Counties

Enterprise Types:

  • Manufacturing/Industrial
  • Healthcare
  • Wholesale/Distribution
  • Commercial
  • Service
  • Hospitality/Tourism
  • Recycling
  • Computer-Related Services
  • Research & Development
  • Agricultural Processing/Production
  • Construction
  • Defense Conversion
  • Child Daycare


Uses & Terms

Loan payments are required to be submitted via ACH withdrawals

Real Estate – up to 15 years
Machinery & Equipment – up to 10 years depending on the useful life
Working Capital – up to 3 years

Loans Amounts

Up to 50% of total project costs
RLF maximum loan amount is $400,000

Interest Rates

Rates are below prime and fixed throughout the term of the loan
Current rate is 4.00% for applications received through September 30, 2023

Job Requirements

One full-time job either created or retained for every $75,000 borrowed


Assets financed must collateralize loan and will be secured at the highest position available.
Additional collateral may be required including assignment of life insurance on owners and/or key personnel
Personal/corporate guarantees of owners/shareholders with 20% or greater ownership in the business
Hazard insurance required on secured assets


No application fee
Closing fee of 1.5% of loan amount
Legal costs including document preparation and UCC filing fees
No penalty for early repayment

Review Process

Business Financing Staff will work with you and your bank to structure a loan package to finance your project.  Completed loan applications including all required information are presented to the North Central Loan Review Committee for credit decisions on the second Thursday of every month.  Loan requests that are recommended for approval by the Committee are forwarded to the  Board of Directors on the fourth Wednesday of every month for final approval to lend.  A commitment letter with the terms and conditions is issued to the borrower for concurrence and signature.  Upon receipt of the executed letter, closing can be scheduled.

Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA)

As a designated Certified Economic Development Organization for the state lending program, North Central also has the ability to package and underwrite loans for submission to PIDA to access capital for businesses.  In addition to the eligible enterprises listed above, PIDA is also able to provide financing for multi-tenant facility and industrial park projects.

Maximum lending amounts and participation rates are determined by several factors including the proposed use of PIDA funds, enterprise type, amount of matching financing sources outside of PIDA and number of full-time jobs to be created and/or retained.

More information on PIDA can be found at:

Microloan Program

North Central also offers microloans up to $50,000 to new and emerging businesses with 10 employees or less.  The interest rate is fixed at 5.00% for the term of the loan. Microloan Fund can function as the sole lender for a project or be combined with other lending sources.

For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Hibbard, Loan Program Director
(814) 773-3162 ext. 3049


Export Marketing

The North Central Export Marketing Program was developed in a effort to assist companies in our 6 county region, establish and flourish in the exporting of their business.


The Export Marketing Program at North Central can assist with the following:

  • Outreach for  Your Company
  • One-On-One Company Counseling
  • Access to the Commonwealth of PA 15 Overseas Networks/Area Trade Representatives (ATR’s)
  • Information/Assistance on: Documentation, Licensing, Duties & Tariffs
  • Lists of Qualified Potential Business Partners
  • Secondary Market Research
  • Trade Leads
  • Geographic & Cultural Profiles
  • Local Trade Events & Seminars
  • Aid In Exhibiting or Attending Foreign & Domestic Trade Shows
  • Assessment of Company Market Readiness
  • Referrals to Export Financing Assistance, North Central Loan and EXIM Bank
  • Any Issues You Incur – Contact Us!!

Countries Covered by the Commonwealth of PA Overseas Network/ATR’s

  • Americas & Oceania – Australia & New Zealand Canada, Mexico
  • Middle East & Arab Golf – Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates
  • Europe – Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Untied Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Czech Republic, other Central and Eastern European Countries
  • Asia – China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan


Foreign Direct Investment

North Central Export has expanded its program capacity to include foreign direct investment initiatives.  We are working with Pennsylvania’s Center for Direct Investment and 12 global investment representatives located throughout the world.  The goal of this Program is to eliminate the barriers that foreign companies might encounter investing, expanding and operating a business in Pennsylvania.


For Further Assistance or Information, Please Contact:

Christine Perneski,
Director of Enterprise Development
(814) 773-3162 ext. 3051




Deb Delhunty,
Administrative Assistant to Enterprise Development
(814) 773-3162 ext. 3009

Government Procurement

APEX Accelerator Program

The APEX Accelerator Program was established to expand the number of businesses capable of participating in government contracts. The APEX Accelerators are funded through cost sharing cooperative agreements (SCAA Grant) between the Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs and eligible program participants, including states, local governments, and nonprofit organizations. Under the program, APEX Accelerators help businesses pursue and perform under contracts with the Department of Defense, other federal agencies, state, and local governments and with government prime contractors. Most of the assistance provided is free. The APEX Accelerator support to businesses includes many different services.


APEX Accelerator Services Include but not limited to:
• Assist with registrations – System for Award Management (SAM) – federal contracting, PA Supplier Portal – PA Commonwealth and local COSTARS contracting
• Assistance with certifications – Small Business, Veteran Owned, Woman Owned,  HUBZone Certifications, etc.
• Bid Matching services – Matches your NAICS codes and key words to open solicitations from a variety of  contracting databases and kicks an email to you with all matches
• Proposal and documentation review
• Access to workshops and events
• Access to pricing and award histories/market research
• Assistance with Capability Statements, Elevator Speeches, etc.
• Provide military specifications and standards


Contact Information:

Barbara J. Brennen
Procurement Outreach Specialist
VA Certified Counselor
Phone: 814.773.3162 Ext. 3059



Certified WEDnetPA Partner

The WEDnetPA program:


*     Reimburses Pennsylvania employers for eligible training completed with their new and existing Pennsylvania employees.

*     Allows companies to stay competitive while keeping employees skills current and relevant.

*     Makes Pennsylvania companies more competitive and productive.

*     Engages Employees, promotes job satisfaction and increases job retention.


Funded through the Department of Community and Economic Development, PA First line item

Applications are accepted year-round


For more information please contact:
Deb Delhunty, Business Development Coordinator
(814) 773-3162 ext. 3009


The North Central Partnership for Regional Economic Performance (NC PREP) is designed to encourage regional coordination in economic development efforts, yielding superior customer service to the business community and a comprehensive, efficient statewide economic delivery strategy.  


NC PREP consists of a network of trained and experienced experts who can offer assistance and resources. Through activities to include one-to-one counseling, specialized workshops, online training and financial incentives, the NC PREP Network coordinates resources  to meet the needs of our job creators — the men and women who start and grow our businesses.


PREP is designed to help answer the following questions and more:

•           How do I start a new business?

•           How do I write a business plan?

•           Where can I get necessary financing?

•           Where is the best place to locate my business?

•           How can I expand into new markets?

•           Who can help me re-organize my shop floor?

•           Should I invest in new equipment?

•           Can I get training for my employees?



Mikala Biondi

Enterprise Development Department

Business Development Coordinator

814.773.3162 ext. 3046