Youngstown Business Incubator

ARC Grant Funds Expansion of YBI Services

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -– Former United Way of Trumbull County executive Ginny Pasha will focus on supporting business development in northern Trumbull County and Ashtabula County in her new role with the Youngstown Business Incubator.

The initiative is being funded through a $1.35 million grant YBI received in March to support small business development in Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana, Ashtabula, Jefferson, Belmont and Monroe counties.

Pasha, who stepped down as the Trumbull United Way’s president and CEO July 1, joined YBI’s staff as business program coordinator just a few days later, said Barb Ewing, YBI CEO.

Pasha’s position was one of two that YBI announced it would establish when it received the grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission as part of a $21 million package to support coal-impacted communities through its Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization – or Power – Initiative.

“We’re going to work with all small businesses from ideation though launch, through growth,” Pasha said. There will be a specific emphasis on assisting minority-, veteran- and women-owned businesses as well as entrepreneurs from economically disadvantaged areas, she said.

In addition to her work with United Way, Pasha, who lives in Kinsman, has established relationships in Ashtabula County through other organizations she has worked with including Junior Achievement. “I’m excited about working back up there again and making a difference for those who are trying to get small businesses up and going,” she said.

“We do provide services in Ashtabula County, but we don’t have deep relationships up there, and [Pasha] comes having those relationships in place,” YBI’s Ewing said. “A huge part of the work we do is just knowing how to get referrals and where to host meetings and how to get the word out, so having that network of contacts is a huge plus for us.”

The work will involve one-on-one counseling, providing assistance with preparing loan applications and securing certifications to help small businesses “get every possible advantage they can get,” and access to YBI’s accelerator programs, Ewing said. Pasha will work on establishing business assistance centers at two or three locations in the county.

In addition, students at Case Western Reserve University’s Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, through YBI funding, will work with disadvantaged businesses to help them with technology issues. “That could be anything from setting up websites and helping with social media and marketing to developing an online accounting system,” Ewing said.

One of the biggest obstacles small businesses and minority-owned businesses face is access to capital, Pasha said. “So, one of the objectives of this program is to position those who are interested for some of the state funding that’s available through a variety of funding sources,” she said.

Rather than hiring a second individual, YBI entered into a contract with Paramount Pursuits to provide services in Jefferson, Monroe, Belmont and part of Columbiana counties, Ewing said. Based in Beaver County, Pa., where it operates a small business incubator program and co-working space, Paramount has an office in Steubenville, where it provides services.

The agreement allows YBI to work with an organization that offers complementary programs in that area, Ewing said.

“It seems they’ve got some good traction started in growing businesses and entrepreneurship, and it just was a pretty natural evolution,” she said. “They are doing some of that work right now, so it allows them to expand their services.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.