Akron, Ohio, March 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — To help grow and grow minority-owned businesses in the North East OhioFirst Energy Corp. (NYSE: FE) today announced a $1 million contribution to UBIZ Venture Capital, a small business lending program affiliated with the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, a 501(c)(3) organization. UBIZ provides advice, technical assistance and loans to high-growth-potential African-American and minority-owned businesses that have difficulty obtaining capital.
The FirstEnergy grant will be used to create the new “UBIZ Access Fund II”, which will provide loans to eligible minority-owned or controlled small businesses located in Cuyahoga, Mountain peak, Lake and Lorain counties. FirstEnergy’s contribution will be paid in quarterly installments of $250,000and UBIZ will provide quarterly reports to FirstEnergy summarizing UBIZ Access Fund II lending activity.
“By contributing to UBIZ Venture Capital, our goal is to help minority-owned businesses have a positive economic impact in our northeast Ohio service area, with the hope that some of these companies will become FirstEnergy suppliers,” said Rich Sweeney, Vice President, Supply Chain, FirstEnergy. “Supporting UBIZ is an extension of our existing Diverse Supplier Development Program, which involves mentorship and training for minority-owned businesses throughout FirstEnergy’s footprint. UBIZ has a long history of identifying and successful support of minority businesses and we look forward to partnering with them.”
FirstEnergy is committed to achieving 20% diversity spend by 2025 for its company-wide supply chain spend. In 2021, FirstEnergy achieved 16% of supply chain spend with various suppliers.
“We greatly appreciate FirstEnergy’s generosity and willingness to establish the UBIZ II Access Fund to expand the reach of our small business lending program,” said Michael ObiExecutive Vice President, Economic Development, Urban League of Greater Cleveland and Chairman of UBIZ Venture Capital. “FirstEnergy’s support aligns with UBIZ’s long-term goal of sustaining existing small businesses and creating other viable minority-owned small businesses that generate jobs for community residents and create the richness of the community.
To be considered for a UBIZ Access Fund II loan, interested companies can visit www.ubiz.biz.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its ten power distribution companies form one of the largest investor-owned power grids in the country, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and new York. The Company’s transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
SOURCE First Energy Corp.