Valley Growth Ventures

The Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center (TBEIC) (now known as BRITE), Youngstown State University Research Foundation (YSURF), Mercy Health, and Valley Economic Development Partners joined forces to collaborate on the formation, capitalization and management of Valley Growth Ventures (VGV), a for profit investment fund to support high growth companies.

VGV has attracted a fund manager with a strong national and statewide track record in early stage venture capital, Ernie Knight, to lead the efforts. With awards from the State of Ohio’s Third Frontier (OTF) Pre-Seed Capitalization program of $3 million and the Economic Development Agency’s Regional Innovation Strategies program ($250 thousand) providing matching funds to further leverage outside investment, the timing is ideal.

For more information, please contact Ernie Knight at, or by calling 708-557-2113.


Partner Organizations

Small Business Development Center
Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber
Western Reserve Port Authority
Minority Business Assistance Centers
Youngstown Business Incubator


Frequently Asked Questions

My bank’s loan officer referred me to Valley Partners, how do I get started?

Look over the application to review all of the items that you need to apply. Gather all of the information and email one of our loan officers for an appointment.

What documents do I need to have prepared in order to apply for a loan?

See the last page of our application for a list of items needed to apply.

How long does the loan process take?

That depends on which loan program is the best fit for you. Rest assured; we will get you the funds you need as quickly as we can.

Are there different requirements for SBA loan programs versus other loan programs?

There are some additional items needed and we will communicate those to you after approval.

My business is a start-up, can I still apply for a loan?

Absolutely! Put together a full business plan and review the application items needed.

What criteria do you take into account when a business is applying for a loan?

We take a number of things into account; credit, character, collateral, cash flow and capacity.

Where do I make my loan payments and what forms of payment are accepted?

All of our loan payments are made electronically through ACH.

How do I apply for a loan?

Before applying, you need to either be an established business or have a good business plan, including projections to present. If you need help with a business plan, please contact one of our partner organizations. Applications can be submitted online through our online application or you download the application and email it to one of our loan officers.

Does my spouse have to sign off on the loan?

A spouse does not always have to sign off on a loan. It will depend upon a few factors that your loan office can discuss with you.

How do I determine which loan program best fits my needs?

Valley Partners will determine the program that best fits. Simply give us a call and we will discuss your options and find the right program for you and your business.

I have a minority owned business, do you have loan programs geared toward me?

Yes we do. Feel free to gather all of the required information and apply.  We will fit you into the right program.

What organizations can I work with to help me prepare my business plan and/or projections?

We recommend several organizations; the Small Business Development Center at 330-941-2140, the Public Library of Mahoning County – Main Branch at 330-744-8636, the Minority Business Assistance Center at 330-884-6053 and SCORE Youngstown at 330-941-2948.

I’d like more information on locating my business to the Mahoning Valley, where can I find statistics and demographic data on the area?

Please contact our local Chamber of Commerce at (330) 744-2131 to help you with that.

Can Valley Partners help me take advantage of other economic development tools such as opportunity zones, tax credits, etc.?

Not at this time, but we are always looking into new ways to expand and develop to utilize new tools such as these. Please contact our local Port Authority at (330) 856-1537 for more information.

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