Success Spotlights

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Mobilizing the Workforce Across the Country, from Kansas

SSBCI Entities: Kansas Department of Commerce with NetWork Kansas
Business: WorkTorch
Location: Wichita, Kansas

Founded by sisters Deborah Gladney and Angela Muhwezi-Hall, WorkTorch is a service industry career platform dedicated to connecting industry professionals and companies. NetWork Kansas made an SSBCI-supported investment in the company through the GROWKS Equity Program, alongside $2.2 million in private financing — enabling Gladney and Muhwezi-Hall to scale WorkTorch’s platform and capabilities. 

This investment enables WorkTorch to expand into target cities with a need for service industry employees, including Kansas City, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Nashville, and Atlanta. They have also been able to broaden their offerings in recruiting tools and career resources, providing cutting edge options for hiring managers and service industry professionals overall.

Today, WorkTorch works with more than 60 corporate clients who use the platform to fill open positions across the U.S., matching them with the more than 40,000 service industry professionals on their platform. The combined SSBCI, local, and private investments have enabled them to maintain consistent growth since their founding in 2021 and to drive tangible, positive outcomes in the workforce— helping one in every three applicants find a new role and staying in that position three times longer than the average employee.



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Supporting Telehealth Innovation in Maryland

SSBCI Entities: Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development with Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO) 
Business: JuneBrain
Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore-based, woman-owned telehealth tech company JuneBrain aims to provide remote monitoring devices to help physicians and patients access care for eye and brain health. JuneBrain’s AI-based eye-scanning solution is intended to enable providers to identify and monitor disease activity in their patients without requiring in-person appointments. The technology is complemented by a mobile application for patients to communicate securely with healthcare providers.

Maryland Technology Development Corp., or TEDCO, provided an SSBCI investment of $150,000 into JuneBrain through its Social Impact Fund, matched with a further $150,000 from angel investment in the company. With this funding, JuneBrain has been able to continue its mission to support medical professionals and patients by allowing medical professionals to remotely monitor patients and allowing patients to continue to receive care from the comfort of their own home.



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Supporting Expansion of Social Services in Latino Communities in Pennsylvania

SSBCI Entities: Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development 
Business: The Latino Connection
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

The Latino Connection (TLC), based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, sees itself as a community-first organization. As a consultancy focused primarily on outreach and education initiatives to support underserved communities, the organization has a mission to educate, empower, and uplift the Latino community. The company runs its own social services initiatives and offers services to help clients deliver health and education programming in communities across Harrisburg.

In 2023, the company hit a growth milestone when it acquired another firm – a merger that will allow TLC to add marketing and communications business lines to its roster of services. This growth of services and staff required new space – a new home in which TLC will build a new culture and align to better serve its clients and their constituents, as well as attract new clients.

But, in looking for financing to fuel this expansion, TLC encountered challenges relating to obtaining loans and providing sufficient collateral. So, TLC turned to Capital Region Economic Development Corp. (CREDC), a nonprofit community economic development organization enrolled in the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s SSBCI loan participation program. Using SSBCI funds leveraged by private credit issued to purchase the real estate, CREDC was able to design a credit-enhanced deal of $250,000 to support renovation and fit out of the space, the hub of the growing TLC.

Melissa Stone, Vice President of Economic Development with the Capital Region Economic Development Corp., noted the important role that the SSBCI dollars played in this transaction, and in others: “SSBCI helps us to ‘tick’ the credit boxes on transactions that we really want to do, and otherwise, wouldn’t be able to close.”



Exercising Sovereignty by Investing in a Tribal Enterprise

SSBCI Entity: The Ninilchik Village Tribe
Business: Tuyan LLC
Location: Ninilchik Village, Alaska

Located in the remote southern part of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, the Ninilchik Village Tribe is a community of just over 1,000 members. The Tribe has long been a steward of Ninilchik's ancestral lands - today, Ninilchik also provides public services to members and works to grow the local economy for residents. Part of that work is through owning and operating Tribal enterprise Tuyan LLC, a joint venture between the Ninilchik Village and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc. (CEI), providing geophysical engineering services. As a Tribal enterprise, revenue earned by Tuyan is used to support Ninilchik's workforce development, youth education, addiction and recovery support, and family services.

When Ninilchik Village applied to Treasury for its $689,038 SSBCI allocation, the Tribe had a clear vision about the best and highest use of the funds: they wanted to invest in Tuyan-- and in turn, in their community. The Tribe's allocation will be committed to Tuyan and will be matched by private funds acquired through the Tribe and CEI's other commercial activity. The investment will be provided as an equity instrument, providing the company a repayment method that is more suitable to the business' operations and revenue cycle.

This SSBCI investment will enable Tuyan to hire staff and engineers and expand the services offered by the business, creating at least eight new engineering and project management roles. The company will also use the funds to create a new business line: they will build a commercial side to the business. With expansions across the team and their service offerings, the company is poised for growth - and has already secured extensions of existing contracts based on the additional capacity this investment will provide.