History

The Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem, CADCB, was incorporated on October 6, 1997 and opened offices to the public on March 19, 1998 at 705 East 4th Street in south Bethlehem.  The organization is now located  at 409 East 4th Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015. The mission of Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem is to promote social and economic change by fostering business and other economic opportunities within the community of south Bethlehem.

CADCB is a subsidiary of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley located at 1337 East 5th Street in south Bethlehem.  CACLV was established in 1965 as a non-profit organization targeting low-income persons in the Lehigh and Northampton County areas.  The current mission of CACLV is to improve the quality of life in the Lehigh Valley by building a community which all people have access to economic opportunity, the ability to pursue that opportunity, and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.  The staff of CADCB have been working with the residents and merchants on the Southside to create sustainable economic development and community revitalization since 1998.

The CADCB uses a two-pronged strategy to pursue neighborhood community and economic development – coupling small business development with community organizing and revitalization projects to create sustainable communities.

Since the beginning, CADCB staff have worked to generate new business development in south Bethlehem by training and encouraging entrepreneurs in the process of creating and improving their businesses. The staff have extensive experience in developing and reviewing business plans, as well as recommending strategies that will help the businesses to grow and develop. The business plans and growth stretegies are developed by the business owners with support of CADCB staff through two types of assistance:

1). Start Your Business Class

The Start Your Business Class is  an 18-week entrepreneurial program featuring a range of business topics including : legal considerations; record keeping; understanding insurance coverage; developing a marketing plan; understanding financial statements; obtaining financing; spreadsheet analysis; borrowing and saving; and more. Guest experts from the local business community assist in presenting and strengthening course material. Individualized assistance is provided, and students are guided through the process of developing a business plan.

2). Technical Assistance

Prospective and existing business owners are provided tehnical assistance to develop their skills as business owners. An array of help is available, including: assessing competition; developing marketing strategies; refining sales techniques and production cycles; creating cash flow projections; researching funding opportunities; understanding and managing risks; assessing community resources; and preparing for loans.

Neighborhood community development is accomplished through implementation of a 12-year master revitalization plan for south Bethlehem neighborhoods. This plan, Southside Vision 2014, prioritizes the creation of an open space network, revitalization of the commercial core along East Fourth Street, enhancing the Eastern Gateway  neighborhood, improving the quality of the housing stock, generating new business opportunities in south Bethlehem, and building recreational activities for youth.

A Steering Committee of community residents, business owners, clergy, non-profit organizations, city government, and community leaders is responsible for implementation of Southside Vision 2014.  This revitalization project is a state-approved Neighborhood Partnership Program that was funded in part by M & T Bank, Spectrum Health Ventures, Inc. of Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, PPL Corporation, and Just Born, Inc.