Thank you for visiting the ECGRA newsroom! If you are a looking for an event image, check here. If you're looking for data about how ECGRA Grant Money Works in Erie County, check here or learn more in our annual report. If you are a member of the media and would like to discuss a story or can't find a news release, please contact Kate Philips or at 215-850-4647. If you have a general question, call 814-897-2690. 

ECGRA Grants Spur Small Business Development, Build Collaborations, Strengthen Community

Posted on June 27th, 2023 at 11:00 AM

The Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority (ECGRA) awarded $630,750 for their 2023 Building a Better Future Entrepreneur and Small Business Grants, which will be distributed to five Erie County organizations working to ignite economic and community development.

"The spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well in Erie County," said Dr. Perry Wood, executive director of ECGRA.  "Through transformative business and technical assistance programs, as well as loans and financial support systems, these organizations work to spur economic development in the communities they serve, ensuring no one is left behind."

Erie County received grant funds from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF).  These grant funds will be devoted to a program Erie County is calling Buliding a Better Future (BBF).  ECGRA is a subrecipient of Erie County's grant award and are being used to fund transformative projects throughout Erie County.  These BBF grants are awarded to entrepreneur and small business programs that can uplift the regional economy.

"In the U.S., nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children, so it is critical that Erie is supporting new business owners in this demographic," said Dylanna Grasinger, Senior Field Office Director at International Institute of Erie/USCRI.  "ECGRA has helped USCRI Erie shape a micro-lending program for refugee entrepreneurs in the wake of the pandemic.  We all lknow how devastating COVID-19 was for the U.S. economy overall and for all kinds of businesses, but refugee entrepreneurs were faced with extra challenges.  We devised the R3 Revolving Loan Fund to target the exact supports that will help Erie's refugee business owners to move past the pandemic and thrive in the future - for Recovery, Renovation, and Resilience."

"Bridgeway Capital is proud to have been selected by ECGRA and its Board as a Building a Better Future grantee," says TJ King, Director of Bridgeway's Erie office.  "The grant will enable Bridgeway to offer two industry-specific intensive business education programs - ErieMade, which supports creative small businesses, and Building Intensive Development, or BID, which engages minority-owned contracting firms.  Both programs help entrepreneurs develop peer and professional networks while also ensuring that they have sound financial and operational plans in place to propel their success."

"The time to increase opportunity for Erie's small business owners is now.  Doing so is essential to realizing the diverse, inclusive, and equitable economy that Erie County needs for all its residents to live."

To view the list of BBF Small Business grant awards, click here.


An impact investing organization, ECGRA's mission is to empower the nonprofit sector, municipal governments, and economic development agencies to revitalize Erie County.  ECGRA is endowed with local share gaming revenue from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania via the Horse Race Gaming Act.  Local share gaming revenue is an assessment of the licensed gambling industry in Pennsylvania.