Whitney Westry saw an opportunity to help others by launching her own business. It all started many years ago, when a family member was undergoing dialysis. Whitney witnessed the struggle her family had in coordinating transportation for numerous medical appointments. She saw a need for specialized services to support others experiencing similar challenges and launched WyWest Transport, LLC., a non-emergency, medical paratransit company providing transportation services to individuals throughout three counties in Central Pennsylvania.
The company works with hospitals, rehabilitation, nursing, senior, and other civic centers to transport individuals with limited physical and mental capabilities and to and from their medical appointments and other destinations.
Whitney invested more than $75,000 in starting WyWest Transport. With support from family and friends, she purchased 13 handicapped-accessible paratransit buses, secured insurances and licenses, leased an office location, and purchased office equipment, supplies and computers. She negotiated contracts with companies to provide non-emergency medical transportation in York, Lancaster, and Dauphin counties. Unfortunately, she ran out of money before opening her doors and came to Community First Fund for help. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania based CDFI creates sustainable prosperity for low wealth communities and individuals, especially persons of color and women, by aligning capital, knowledge and advocacy to advance business ownership, housing and community development in the communities its serve.
A DCC recipient, Community First provided Whitney with a $50,000 SBA guaranteed loan for working capital to cover the first three and a half months of operating expenses. Once Whitney secured this funding, she hired six part-time drivers to transport clients to and from their appointments. She plans on hiring more drivers as the business grows.
(Date of loan: 2017. Date of story publication: 2017)