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Missing a piece of the puzzle to growing your business?

Got a small business in Upper Bucks County?  Looking for that edge? Micro-loans can help.

For a small business or sole proprietor just starting out, Micro-loans provide a financial leg up.

Micro-loans, available through The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, provide a way for start-up businesses, small business expansion or other types of small business enterprises to obtain needed capital to grow and prosper.

The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund is a non-profit federally certified Community Development Financial Institute, which provides business funding for a variety of uses.

The Rising Tide has historically arranged $4.3 million of capital to 136 different businesses in Lehigh and Northampton counties and recently added Monroe, Carbon and Upper Bucks counties to its service area, according to Chris Hudock, director of The Rising Tide. Since December 2015, about $1.5 million has already been loaned to 52 different businesses, Hudock said.

From resource acquisition, to improvements in leased spaces, equipment purchases, marketing, working capital, stocking inventory and real estate acquisition, a Micro-loan could be the right fit when a traditional loan isn’t an option.

Up to $35,000 of vital funding per business is available through the Micro-loan program, Robert Mineo said. Mineo is financing assistance program director for the Small business Development Center based at Lehigh University in Bethlehem. Mineo specializes in helping business owners and operators understand their financial options, along with assisting them in creating presentation pitches they can make to investors and lenders.

At a recent presentation and panel discussion hosted by UBCC in Quakertown, participants learned about the benefits of Micro-loan programs, and made important staff contacts with those who can help facilitate the process.

“Having a microloan program in the community is just another way to assist our small businesses, that don’t qualify for traditional financing, access to the capital needed to grow,” said Tara King, Executive Director of Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.

“Whether that reason is due to having a less than perfect credit rating, not having the right collateral, lack of credit history – all the things that a bank looks at when qualifying an applicant – to still be able to access capital at a rate less than using a credit card,” King explained.

“It can mean the difference between watching a business crash and burn because they couldn’t access the capital needed and watching a business root in a community and thrive,” King said.

Mineo said The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, which was recently extended to cover Upper Bucks met a need. “There was not a program like this that covered Upper Bucks before,” Mineo said.

“Upper Bucks is an opportunity for growth,” Hudock said.

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Get focused; scout and explore what Upper Bucks County has to offer

After months of preparation and hard work, the 2016 focused Upper Bucks County directory hit the streets in early January. As the fresh title suggests – a nod to the past and vision toward the future – focused is a showcase of chamber membership, the region’s rich resources and traditions, along with goods and services available in Upper Bucks County.

The 2016 edition of focused is packed with helpful information. We’ve unearthed intriguing nuggets about local history and lore, and provided a one-stop treasury of the vibrant businesses and entrepreneurs located and operating here.

In addition to being available in print, focused Upper Bucks County is also available online, along with convenient links to our business advertisers’ websites.

About 5,000 print copies of the new directory are available now throughout the municipalities that make up Palisades, Pennridge and Quakertown Community school districts.

We’ve built focused Upper Bucks County from scratch using chamber members experience, expertise and services they offer. That means money spent to create the publication was reinvested in our own business community. From creating original copy, layout and design to photography, print and online production, this issue is entirely home grown.

Previous editions of the annual publication were produced by packaging publishers, and printed in other parts of the country.

Printed in nearby New Jersey, Chamber Executive Director Tara King witnessed the presses rolling. King had the opportunity roll up her sleeves, view color “tear sheets” as they came off the press, parlay printer lingo, and gained a greater understanding of the complex composition and printing industry process.

A flyer appearing in the February 4th edition of Bucks County Herald announces focused, and its print availability.

In addition to chamber business listings and helpful resources, anyone reading focused can learn about the area. We’ve included feature story-style reporting throughout, as we shine the spotlight on shopping and dining, agriculture and education, business, location, government, demographics, and more.

Think ahead! A photography contest for next year’s edition is an open invitation for anyone with a digital camera or Smartphone, to submit pictures to be considered for publication. Photography contest details will be announced.

Be focused, scout and explore what Upper Bucks County has to offer.

Look for focused throughout the community, available at municipal buildings, and various locations, or stop by the Upper Bucks Visitor Center to pick up a copy today.

Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center is located at 21 North Main Street, Quakertown. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday – Friday.

 

 

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UBCC Year in Review

Abundance. Mild weather. A growing economy and positive outlook.

As we wrap up 2015 there’s a lot to remember, and a lot for which to be thankful.

Making connections, providing resources and offering business leaders an opportunity to find one another, were 2015 hallmarks of the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce mission.

From the annual Small Business Conference & Expo at Bucks County Community College, Perkasie Campus in March to developing relationships and better business outcomes, UBCC is an active community member.

Regular business card networking opportunities provide a relaxed way for members to come together. Look for additional, new happy hours in 2016.

The annual June golf classic was another chance to meet and enjoy some relaxed time on the greens. This year’s Upper Bucks Foodie event in October, drew record numbers to the Sands Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership for an outstanding sold-out evening of great food and drink samplings, raffle baskets, and community bon ami.

Take advantage of online webinars and educational opportunities, free online training and staff development – it’s all available through the chamber.

We’re strengthening business relationships.

Throughout the year we’ve blogged and profiled area business leaders and entrepreneurs from food and home services industries, tech companies, manufacturers, a public school district and the area’s technical career school, among others.

Consistently, we hear and see demonstrated the small town charm associated with Quakertown, Perkasie, Sellersville and beyond. And recently, acceptance in the Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia program validated what generations living in Quakertown have known all along: The heart of Upper Bucks is a great place to call home.

Upper Bucks leaders, business owners and operators are savvy forward thinkers braced to face the challenges of living in a 21st Century world and economy.

For the first time the newest chamber business directory, Focused, was built from the ground up by chamber members.

Focused will premiere in January. In addition to the print copy of the directory, an online edition promises to be more engaging and interactive than ever before. Online, Focused will be easy to use and provides a launching pad for finding member businesses, and much more. It’s jam packed with information about the wealth of resources that make up our region, and offers our tips and picks for how to spend a day, a vacation, or to settle and live a lifetime.

As we look to better serve existing members and welcome new members, a photo contest for the next chamber directory could showcase your work. We’ll share more on how to submit photos in the New Year.

Among our New Year’s resolutions are continued growth of our membership and networking communities. In 2016, our goal is to grow membership to 1,000 from our current 600 – that’s an ambitious membership increase of roughly 40 percent.

You can help us reach the new member goal. Invite a business colleague, new business start-up or entrepreneurial friend to the next networking event.  Tell your non-chamber business contacts about the resources available to them, once they join the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.

Don’t be shy. Take advantage of the benefits chamber membership, and a valued place in this diverse community, affords you.

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Member Spotlight – Upper Bucks County Technical School

Strong alliances with business and industry to benefit employers and a skilled talent pool to join the workforce are the main objectives of the Upper Bucks County Technical School.

From animal to automotive technologies, baking and pastry arts, cabinet making, carpentry and cosmetology, the Upper Bucks County Technical School trains high school students to succeed after graduation in skilled trades and industry at the Bedminster Township facility.

More than 23 different industry trades are represented at the rural school, which is currently wrapping up a two year, roughly $23 million renovation project, according to Bern Wagenseller, Upper Bucks County Technical School executive director.

Among the campus upgrades is a covered connecting hallway so students may travel indoors to either of the site’s main education buildings.

Serving Palisades, Pennridge and Quakertown high school students, Upper Bucks County Technical School taps local manufacturing industry and trades leaders to ensure best practices and cutting edge curriculum are in place at the school.

“Our business partners meet twice a year to discuss equipment, curriculum safety and to cement our partnerships,” Wagenseller said.

A recent conference of industry leaders gathered about 165 participants at the site, Wagenseller said.

Throughout the year, 20 advisory committees meet to review and help guide curriculum and align equipment, safety and labs, to best industry practices, said Cathleen Plesnarski, Upper Bucks County Technical School assistant director.

Plesnarski said the school makes a point of keeping pace with technology keeps a close watch on industry and trade trends. “A couple of years ago home health aides became a bigger program as the industry need in Upper Bucks also grew,” Plesnarski said.

The school is a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation emission certification site, according to Wagenseller. “We’ve re-certified about 90 technicians to conduct state inspection emissions testing,” Wagenseller said.

After a two year hiatus, a trades based adult night school program is slated to launch after construction is completed, sometime in 2016. “We are looking at workforce development, and offering classes in machining, welding, and HVAC,” Wagenseller said.

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Member Spotlight – Quakertown Band

Since its founding in 1877, the Quakertown Band hasn’t missed a beat.

From coronets to cymbals and clarinets, saxophones, snare drums, flutes, piccolos, trumpets, horns, tubas and more, the Quakertown Band is one of a handful of performing community bands.

It’s also among the oldest continuously performing community bands in the country.

“When it started, it was a job. You would get a company owned instrument and they would pay you to learn it, and to play it,” said Erik Szabo, Quakertown Band director of development.

Today, the 40-piece musical organization continues to entertain the community with special performances for hire, a free summer concert series, corporate parties, festivals, and special event celebrations, Szabo said.

Embracing the 21st century and in the entrepreneurial spirit of today’s technology mavericks, a Kickstarter campaign set to close on Oct. 31 aims to raise $15,000. The money will fund the band’s first professionally recorded and produced compact disk.

Songs on the new recording will showcase work composed, or specifically arranged, for the Quakertown Band.

Live performance repertoire includes an assortment from their wheelhouse of overtures, Broadway tunes, movie score selections, big band, swing, Dixieland and marches, which will feature on the CD.

An upcoming documentary, “Meet the Band – Celebrating Over 200 Years of Community Bands,” is slated to be shown on cable or Public Broadcasting Service affiliates television. “Meet the Band…” features the Quakertown Band along with three other community bands from across the nation, telling their stories.

Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding resource platform, aimed at providing creative project capital.

So far, roughly $2,000 has been raised through Kickstarter, Szabo said.

“If the entire amount is not received by the end of October, we don’t get any money,” Szabo said. A 2016 target release in planned if Kickstarter funding is successful.

The band has made three CD recordings, “Firsts and Favorites,” “The 125th Anniversary Celebration CD,” and “Quakertown Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Celebrating Quakertown’s 150th Birthday,” featuring an original composition “Quakertown Sesquicentennial March,” composed for the band and the occasion.

Today, Quakertown Band’s 45-members and volunteers offer free concerts in the parks and they support young musicians in the community keeping the organization’s music and educational outreach mission alive.

Outreach, impact and enduring history are among the reasons The Avery Dennison Foundation awarded a recent $3,000 grant to the Quakertown Band, where they performed at the grand opening of the new Visitor Center & Museum, located in the front of the Chamber offices.

“The band reaches more than 100 people during its season, performing for everyone,” said Joanne Snyder, Avery Dennison Corporation spokeswoman.

Snyder said the Avery Team is a committee of five employees. Each year, the team nominates a non-profit for the foundation’s Granting Wishes award, based upon set criteria and a completed application.

“They’re an important part of the community,” Snyder said.

Strike up the band!

Hear the Quakertown Band’s next public performance at 11:15 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 17, during the annual Quakertown Autumn Alive! festival.

For a complete schedule of performance events through December 2015, visit www.quakertownband.org/performances.

To donate to the Kickstarter project to help fund a world premiere CD of recordings specifically crafted for and performed by the Quakertown Band, www.quakertownband.org

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Member Spotlight-Avery Dennison

Avery Dennison makes products that stick.

The Fortune 500 company, based in Upper Bucks County, Avery Dennison leaders recognize finding creative solutions to business problems is key to the firm’s longevity and enduring success in the self-adhesive products industry.

“We are a world leader in pressure sensitive adhesive technology,” Hochmiller said.

Finding business application solutions and being smart about their implementation are critical to the company’s approach to business, said Matthew Hochmiller, Avery Dennison Quakertown plant manager.

As one of the two top label makers in the United States, Avery Dennison continues a mission of “making every brand more inspiring and the world more intelligent,” Hochmiller said.

Originally founded in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1935 by Ray Stanton Avery as Kum Kleen Adhesive Products Company, Avery Dennison was born in 1990 after a merger with the Dennison Manufacturing Company.

Avery Dennison opened the Quakertown plant in 1971, on 17-acres in Upper Bucks County.

Avery Dennison serves the industry adhesive label needs for advertising and promotion, apparel, electronics and electrical, government, health care and medical along with the consumer goods markets, among others. The firm operates in 50 countries worldwide and employs roughly 25,000 people.

A valued employer in Upper Bucks, the Quakertown plant, located at 35 Penn Am Drive, operates three shifts, five days a week with about 130 full time employees, Hochmiller said.

Hochmiller said the firm excels in innovative thinking, which he credits to the company’s origins.

Chamber membership helps Avery Dennison fulfill its commitment to local engagement as well as connect with other manufacturing and business leaders.

Avery Dennison takes a local stand by respecting its position in the community, and taking its business neighbors seriously.

“Exploring what other companies and plants are doing and networking with them helps us to innovate,” Hochmiller said. “We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

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Member Spotlight – Pulse Technologies

A global company in the advanced technology medical device and contract manufacturing and engineering services industry makes its home in Upper Bucks. Based in Milford Township, Pulse Technologies is a major player in the area’s economy and a global player in the medical device, component and assembly industry.

“What sets us apart is quality, service, technology and commitment,” said Pulse Technologies Director of Global Sales and Marketing Robert Madigan.

Specialized customer service is required by the Pulse Technologies’ team because of the niche industry the firm serves – and lives depend upon it. “We offer high levels of quality and our owners and our company have invested in, and embraced, advanced technology,” Madigan said.

Such technology advances includes ultra smooth medical surfaces and pump components used during surgical procedures, along with the development of new metals to be used in devices, components and implants for patient treatment and care, according to Madigan. “We are developing new materials specifically (for) medical markets,” Madigan said.

Pulse Technologies employs about 188 full time staff, working across three shifts; up to six days a week in its 70,000 square foot facility.

Madigan said 97 percent of the company’s business is medical device implants and examples would be heart pacemaker lead components and stent-line implants.

Pulse Technologies serves cardiac, vascular, orthopedic, spinal and extremity; neurostimulation, cochlear and ophthalmic, device, component and implant markets, the company’s website said. While 80 percent of the firm’s business is to clients in North America, on the global market Pulse Technologies serves customers in Europe, Israel, Southeast Asia and Australia, Madigan said. “We work closely with our customers to make life saving devices that are economically feasible,” Madigan explained.

Pulse Technologies was founded in 1993 by Bob Walsh and Frank Henofer, who are involved in the strategic focus and direction of the company, Madigan said.

For more information visit www.pulsetechnologies.com.