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Peoples Bank, Legacy Foundation launch small business initiative

Munster-based Peoples Bank headquarters is shown here. 

Peoples Bank, the Legacy Foundation and Accion have launched an initiative to help develop small businesses in low-to-moderate income communities in Lake County.

The Small Business Development Pilot Project is a charitable fund dispensing Legacy Foundation grants to businesses referred by Accion. Eligible small business owners will have secured and repaid a loan from Accion, a nonprofit community lender.

“We’re excited to be included in this partnership with Peoples Bank and Accion to spark economic development in Lake County,” Legacy Foundation President and CEO Carolyn Saxton said.

The first grant went to Turon Cummings, the owner of Creative Conecepts in Whiting. His food cart sells cone-shaped bread stuffed with different fillings at street festivals. They were rated among the top 10 sandwiches in the 2014 World Food Championships. Cummings received loans from Accion to establish and then to grow his business.

Peoples Bank donated to the initiative, which aims to encourage more entrepreneurship in Lake County.

“At Peoples Bank, our mission is to make our customers and communities more successful. We understand that small businesses are the backbone of the local economy, and this partnership between Peoples Bank, Legacy Foundation, and Accion provides needed working capital to local small business who are either just starting their business or expanding,” said Greg Bracco, senior vice president, business banking manager.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.