Operational Assistance Program

Penn Venture Partners deploys Operational Assistance (“OA”) grant funds to provide directly, or indirectly through third parties and affiliates, specific, no-cost Operational Assistance to Smaller Enterprises in which it has made or could make Equity Capital Investments ("actual or prospective portfolio concerns") with the primary objective of economic development of Low-Income Geographic Areas (“LI Areas”, see 13 C.F.R. § 108.50 for definitions of terms). Penn Venture Partners provides OA through the use of licensed professionals, when necessary. "Grant funds" include both the Federal funds obligated by SBA under the grant award for use by the Fund, and a non-Federal share of the grant award generously provided by Ben Franklin of Central and Northern Pennsylvania, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the F.B. Heron Foundation.

Operational Assistance grant funds and related project activities must fall within certain acceptable uses. Such acceptable uses may include management, marketing, accounting, legal, engineering, and other technical assistance to identified actual or prospective portfolio concerns. Penn Venture Partners ensures that OA is provided to the actual or prospective portfolio concern, and is directed towards the business development of the actual or prospective portfolio concern for the shared benefit of its owners, employees and community.

Examples of acceptable OA include, but are not limited to:

  • Writing or assisting in the preparation of a business plan;
  • Legal assistance relating to business formation or reorganization (but not litigation);
  • Recruitment of executives;
  • Creation of Internet capabilities;
  • Engineering or other technical services to create or enhance production or distribution of products or services;
  • Creation of customized accounting or information systems (but not maintenance of such systems);
  • Active participation in negotiation with financial institutions (but not negotiation relating to the sale of the business or a refinancing that would provide a basis for exit); and
  • Training, provided such training is related to the development of such actual or prospective portfolio concern's business (for example, growing the size or revenues of the business).

Examples of acceptable OA training services include:

  • Distinct skills training for a concern's executives that is directly related to the management and operations of the concern and that provides skills in areas where the concern's management lacks background or experience (for example, training on licensing requirements to operate a particular kind of business as well as accounting or financial management training for executives that do not have an adequate financial background to effectively manage the concern). General education, such as an MBA degree, does not qualify.
  • Training for a concern's workers on how to operate either a particular software program used in the concern's business or particular type of manufacturing equipment used in the concern's operations. Life skills and personal development training for a concern's workers (for example, classes to obtain a GED and personal financial management training) do not qualify.

For more information concerning Penn Venture Partners' Operational Assistance Grant Financing Program, please contact Mary Vovakes, Vice President.