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November 2020

Spotlight: EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund Program Helps Bakers Move from Kitchen to Front Office

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Upper Crust Bakery and Eatery in Chico, California

When the Food Network visited Chico, California’s Upper Crust Bakery and Eatery for a 2019 episode of its popular series “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” viewers got a taste of some of the signature dishes, like black bean chili with jalapeño cheese corn muffin, that have long earned the Upper Crust rave reviews from locals.

Upper Crust’s recent notoriety was no accident: it is the result of the hard work and talent of a husband and wife team of restaurateurs, who have also received support from EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program, which provides gap financing to businesses that cannot otherwise obtain traditional bank loans.

Upper Crust Bakery and Eatery and its menu of ‘handcrafted wholesome food’ has been a staple of the dining scene in Chico for more than three decades. When its longtime proprietor announced plans to retire in 2018, she wanted to ensure this community fixture remained in good hands and personally selected Jeff and Shelby Plummer, both of whom were Upper Crust employees at the time, to take over the business. Without the significant capital needed to meet commercial underwriting standards, however, the Plummers’ found themselves unable to secure a conventional bank loan to finalize the purchase.

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Success Story: Purdue University Northwest Leverages EDA Innovation Grant to Help Entrepreneurs Manufacture and Bring Products to Market

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Michelle Pearson, of Merrillville, Indiana, is an entrepreneur who invented OSMORE, the automated communion server.

Michelle Pearson’s idea for an invention came to her in a dream, but the reality of bringing her product to market proved to be a bit more challenging.

Pearson’s invention is an automated communion server, which would automatically dispense the wafer and wine during the Eucharist for Christians in churches, hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional facilities. A 63-year-old retired teacher, Pearson spent thousands of dollars and drew on the expertise of her large family to build a prototype, but they were unable to bring the product to market.

It wasn’t until Pearson connected with Purdue University Northwest’s Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center (CMEC) in Hammond, Indiana that her idea came to life.

Ms. Pearson’s Communion servers – which will be called the OSMORE -- could start to appear in churches as soon as early 2021.

“I don’t know where we would be if we did not become connected with CMEC,” said Pearson, a member of the River of Life Ministries in Gary, Indiana.

In 2019, Purdue University Northwest received a $386,316 grant from EDA’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program (now known as Build to Scale) to foster manufacturing-related entrepreneurship and workforce development for an innovation economy in the region.

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Highlight: Honoring EDA Employee Military Contributions: Andrew Fiddes, Attorney Advisor for the Disaster Recovery Program

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Andrew Fiddes (foreground) serving at Incident Command Post San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the immediate aftermath of the devastating impacts of Hurricane Maria, is seen coordinating the initiation of the inflow of relief supplies in coordination with FEMA and Army/Navy elements

EDA marks Veteran’s Day and the month of November by recognizing the brave men and women among us who serve in our military. This year, we’d like to highlight and honor Attorney-Advisor Andrew Fiddes for simultaneous roles as both a civil servant and member of the armed forces.

Fiddes is an Attorney-Advisor in EDA’s Office of Chief Counsel, where he supports the Disaster Recovery Program, including CARES Act Recovery Assistance. In addition, Fiddes also serves as Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.

The ability to serve our nation as both a uniformed and civilian member is the embodiment of ‘service before self,’ Fiddes says. In these dual roles, he responds both to the immediate threat or natural disaster to our country and follows up by supporting the important work of the EDA in achieving long-term economic recovery and resiliency.

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Senior Staff Announcements

Over the last few months, EDA has made a number of new Senior Staff announcements. Meet the leaders.


EDA Participates in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Virtual Summit on Regional Competitiveness

7th Annual Summit on Regional Competitiveness

On November 19, EDA Deputy Assistant Secretary and Chief Operating Officer Dennis Alvord participated in the 7th Annual Summit on Regional Competitiveness, where he discussed EDA programs and resources available to help communities address economic disruption and spur innovation.


EDA and HBCUs: Cultivating Strategic Engagement for Regional Economic Development

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

In November, EDA Headquarters, in collaboration with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation, hosted a webinar series called “Cultivating Strategic Engagement for Regional Economic Development.” The series highlighted the work of the University Centers serving the Atlanta, Austin, and Philadelphia regions and featured presentations from EDA staff and HBCU leadership. View the full recordings using the links below:

Learn more about EDA’s work with HBCUs.


Center for Disaster’s “Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy” Report

Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has announced the release of their annual “Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy” report. Check out the latest data and key findings to maximize the impact of your disaster-related giving, preparedness and recovery efforts.


SPRINT Challenge Applications Due December 3, 2020

SPRINT Challenge Logo

Applications are due on December 3 for EDA’s $25 million Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge to address economic, health, and safety issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Apply now!

For more information, please visit the EDA website to view the SPRINT Challenge Informational Webinar recording.


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EDA in the News!

Commerce Department awards $2.4 million grant to spur Louisiana business recovery
The Baton Rouge Advocate 11/19/20

Additional loans available for Monterey County businesses affected by Covid-19
King City Rustler 11/18/20

Sharp County to receive $3 million in CARES Act funding to help with manufacturing expansion
KAIT 8 11/14/20

$3.3 million EDA Award available for small businesses in Maine’s coastal counties
Seacoast Online 11/12/20

Meat processor to expand in Cody
The Daily Rocket Miner 11/7/20

EDA awards MRPC $750K EDA revolving loan fund to assist businesses
Rolla Daily News 11/5/20

Developing A New Rural Playbook For Investment And Opportunity Zone Insights
Forbes 11/2/20

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