FILE - PA Keith Gillespie

Pennsylvania state Rep. Keith Gillespie

(The Center Square) – A bill sponsored by Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-Hellam, to create a microenterprise loan program in Pennsylvania was signed into law by the governor.

Act 37 of 2021 aims to give municipalities a tool to address economic development and revitalization as well as unemployment by advancing microenterprises developed through private-public partnerships.

Under the loan program, low-income individuals with great business ideas will have the opportunity to start a small business. Applicants are required to complete business courses and workshops on operating a business, creating a market strategy, and customer interaction to be eligible to receive a loan.

The program would be funded through grants from the federal government, state government, municipalities, and private sources and managed by an existing administrative entity in each individual municipality.

The program defines a “microenterprise” as a startup entrepreneur with 25 or fewer employees and an average annual gross receipt of $3 million or less over the last three years.

“This program is designed to continue our fight against blight through the reuse of buildings in our downtowns, and to move people out of social programs and into employment,” Gillespie said in a news release. “As we work toward Pennsylvania’s economic recovery, we need to give our municipalities every tool we can to create a friendly environment for new, small businesses.”