Meet Our Organizing Partners

Dedicated to Advancing Your Business and Our Region

Startup Alleghenies partners combine years of business, financial and marketing expertise with a unique collaborative spirit that will transform our region into the next great startup zone.

Altoona Blair County Economic Development Corporation (ABCD)

For more than 60 years ABCD has been a catalyst for business expansion through entrepreneurship in Blair County and through regional partnerships along the I-99 Innovation Corridor.

ABCD offers loans, including those from the Small Business Association program. Their experienced staff helps connect entrepreneurs with incentives, grants, tax credits, loans or an optimal combination of these options. ABCD launched the #FirstFrontier program to showcase the benefits of living, working and building a business in the region. For more information contact Entrepreneur Coach Richard Lasek at 814-944-6113. (

Altoona LaunchBox

The Altoona LaunchBox is a no-cost startup accelerator and co-working space designed to provide early-stage startups with the support and resources they need to build a sustainable and scalable business and a viable plan for growth. The Altoona LaunchBox supported by the Hite family provides the general public, students, faculty, successful area entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders with off-campus, co-working space, integrated with an entrepreneurial training program, to accelerate the transformation of innovative ideas into sustainable businesses.

Bedford County Development Association

The Bedford County Development Association is the first stop for any business person considering starting, expanding or relocating in Bedford County. In the past few years, the staff, with the assistance of federal and state legislators, has secured more than $30 million in grants or loans for projects that have provided employment for thousands of workers in the county. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in Bedford County through economic development while preserving our heritage and natural resources. Contact Start-Up Business Coach, Andrew Trexler at 814-623-4816.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners

For more than 31 years Ben Franklin has provided a variety of resources for early stage, technology-based firms and small manufacturers. Services include funding, business and technical expertise, classroom training for entrepreneurs on what drives investor decision-making, and a network of innovative, expert resources to help entrepreneurs secure funding to go to market. Programs include the Ben Franklin Venture Fund, the Ben Franklin Transformation Business Services Network, and the Ben Franklin Innovation Partners. For more information, call Jose Otero at 814-242-3034. (


BOTTLE WORKS is a dynamic arts organization operating two cultural centers on Third Avenue in the historic cultural district of Cambria City. With two amazing facilities, BOTTLE WORKS has become Johnstown’s community resource where artists can exhibit, create, teach and sell; musicians can perform; and visitors can explore and learn more about all facets of the creative arts. In addition, the facilities are available for rental for special events, weddings, birthday parties, business meetings and other special functions. For more information call 814-535-2020. (

Catalyst Space

Catalyst Space is an Open-Access workshop and incubator in downtown Altoona, Pa. with the necessary tools and resources to inspire the next generation, including state of the art advanced manufacturing capabilities, unique educational experiences, and an environment where anything is possible if you can imagine it. Resources include: 3D Printers, Laser Cutters/Engravers, CNC, Screen Printing Press and Wood and Metal Working tools.

With a belief that our future depends on innovators, creative thinkers and entrepreneurs, Catalyst Space’s experienced leaders set the stage for makerspaces, and has built lasting partnerships with the most cutting-edge businesses and educators at the top of their field. For more information, call 814-201-2196. (

The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies

Created in 1990 by a group of civic minded individuals, The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies recently sharpened its mission to generate even greater impact on the areas its serves, including Bedford, Cambria, Somerset and Indiana Counties.

An early supporter of Vision 2020, the Foundation also has several funds and grants available specifically for entrepreneurs with a goal of providing dreamers with the tools they need to succeed.

In 2019 the Foundation reported 5,903 donors, who contributed $11.9 million, and distributed $5.5 million in grants to 396 non-profits and $747,000 to 492 scholarships. Applications for grants are taken online twice a year in January and August at For more information, contact President and Executive Director Mike Kane at 814-536-7741. (

Huntingdon County Business and Industry

Huntingdon County Business and Industry, is organized for the purpose of advancing the commercial, industrial, recreational, educational, agricultural and civic interests of the County of Huntingdon. HCBI is the leading economic development agency for the county. Recognizing that effective economic development arises from strategic partnerships and active collaboration, HCBI serves as the hub for these activities. Contact Debra Clark, the Entrepreneur and Innovation Coach at 814-506-8297.

Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI)

For 43 years, JARI has been helping entrepreneurs grow their business, break into new markets, improve efficiency and help advance employee capabilities in Cambria and Somerset Counties, primarily in the Greater Johnstown area. JARI offers connections to the right people in government, commercial lending, equity investing, real estate and numerous collaborative partners at the regional, state and Federal levels.

In addition to a microloan program and the JARI growth fund, as the Cambria County Certified Economic Development arm, JARI can package Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) loans for eligible businesses looking to create and retain full-time jobs. For more information, contact Entrepreneur Coach Blake Fleege at 814-254-4023. (

The Progress Fund

The Progress Fund is a non-profit community development financial institution that provides financing from $20,000 to $1 million. They also provide business advice to people who are starting, expanding or buying a small business or starting a new venture. Funds can be used to restore and rehabilitate buildings, purchase inventory or equipment and for working capital. Its service area includes Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland.

By encouraging job creation, historic preservation, diverse business ownership, local agriculture and trail-based development the Progress Fund hopes to revitalize the regions it serves, including the Southern Alleghenies. For more information, call their main office @724-216-9160. (

Somerset County Economic Development Council (SCDEC)

For 60 years member-based SCDEC has been promoting economic development and job creation for all of Somerset County by attracting new companies, expanding existing businesses and retaining, growing and attracting jobs, income and wealth in Somerset County.

SCEDC support includes economic incentives and loans, as well as tax credits, such as the Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) and the Job Creation Tax Credit (JCTC). Loan programs include: Small Business First Fund, Waters Economic Development Fund (EDF), Micro loan funds, including the Somerset County Tourism Revolving Loan, the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund (MELF), Next Generation Farmer and the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) funds. For more information, call 814-445-9655. (

Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC)

In April 2017 The Appalachian Regional Commission awarded a grant to the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC) to develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem named Startup Alleghenies with the stated goals of new businesses, new jobs, and new investments.  Startup Alleghenies goal is to develop places and resources aimed at addressing the needs of the region’s current and future entrepreneurs.  Recently, SAP&DC launched a companion visibility campaign, Right Here. Right Now. to shine a spotlight on the economic successes of the region, as well as the growing ecosystem of entrepreneurs and partners in the Startup Alleghenies portfolio.

A guiding principal of SAP&DC remains its commitment to progress through regional cooperation in the Alleghenies.  Partner organizations extend across Cambria, Somerset and Blair Counties. Working closely with this extensive partnership network, SAP&DC helps small- and medium-sized businesses in the Alleghenies by providing technical and financial assistance, free business counseling to identify new opportunities for business growth, such as international and government markets, and much more.

SAP&DC also works to increase local government capabilities, provides services governments need to improve their ability to serve the community, including economic and community development, and information technology.  For more information about SAP&DC contact Director of Business Development Debbi Prosser at 814-949-6522. (

The Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board

Workforce Development services are provided by the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC) through a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania-wide system under the auspices of the Department of Labor and Industry. For SAP&DC, the policy arm of this effort is The Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board (SAWDB). A public/private membership body, appointed by the region’s County Commissioners (local elected officials) the SAWDB is charged with determining workforce services most appropriate in the region it serves. All client services are provided under sub-contracts with other community-based providers operating in the region’s “Career Links.” These are one-stop centers where both individuals and employers may access services. For more information about SAWDB, contact Susan Whister @ 814-949-6507. (

St. Francis University Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The SBDC at St. Francis has been a key player in economic development by helping businesses start, grow and prosper in six Southern Allegheny counties since 1979. Their “one stop shop” approach to supporting entrepreneurs includes a range of services for new and emerging businesses, such as business plan creation, education, market analysis, industry research, financial analysis and personal consultation. Funding is provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Department of Commerce and in cooperation with the US Small Business Administration. For more information, contact the SBDC @ 814-472-3200. (

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About Startup Alleghenies

Startup Alleghenies is on a mission to bring greater economic vitality to the region by creating an ecosystem for success that recruits and supports entrepreneurs. Launched in June 2017 by the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC), Startup Alleghenies entrepreneurs are mentored by coaches who provide 360 support to help them navigate a vast network of partners at economic development groups, private organizations, investors and universities-all working together to bring talent, new businesses, and jobs to the region.

Partner Toolkit

This toolkit includes photos, logos, PowerPoint templates and more.