GREENVILLE, PA – Nov. 9, 2007 -- A regional partnership of four colleges and universities and four economic development organizations in northwest Pennsylvania recently received a grant of $250,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to establish the Northwest Pennsylvania Keystone Innovation Zone (NWPA KIZ). The partnership includes Mercer County as well as Clarion, Crawford, Venango and Warren Counties.
The local partners in the NWPA KIZ are the Greenville Area Economic Development Corporation, Greenville Neuromodulation Services, Inc., and Thiel College.
Governor Ed Rendell launched the KIZ program in early 2004 as a way to capitalize on the commonwealth’s network of quality colleges and universities. By encouraging those institutions to partner with community organizations and businesses, the program is designed to promote job growth in technology, life science, and advanced manufacturing industries. To date, more than $10.8 million has been invested in 29 KIZs across the state leading to the creation of 1,966 jobs, the retention of 2,763 jobs, and the formation of 282 companies.
The NWPA KIZ partnership also includes business support organizations, commercial lending institutions, and government and workforce development entities. Additionally, the partnership will be working to involve venture capital firms in the near future.
The NWPA KIZ will catalog and promote the collective resources of the partners to encourage and support the creation of early stage companies and existing businesses. The program will encourage the development of new business opportunities that can be aided by services, personnel, assets and intellectual property of the partners.
Serving on the NWPA KIZ Board of Directors from Mercer County are Jennifer Groleau, Managing Director of Greenville Neuromodulation Services, Inc.; James Lowry, Executive Director of Greenville Area Economic Development Corporation; Arthur Heckathorn, Commercial Lender for National City Bank; and Scott Hartle, Vice President for Finance at Thiel College.
Representatives for the Mercer County partners offered their reaction to the designation.
"This project enhances our ability to foster the creation of new companies and provides them with the resources necessary to succeed," notes Lowry. "Formalizing an extended network with our area’s institutions of higher education increases our chances of changing our economic landscape and creating a prosperous community"
"We are excited about the potential for growth in our community,” commented Groleau. “This opportunity affords Greenville the chance to expand its market and develop relationships with neighboring counties in northwest Pennsylvania. We believe the intertwining of educational institutions, local business, and economic development organizations is the key to area redevelopment."
“This is just another step in showcasing the often hidden appeal of northwestern Pennsylvania,” noted Hartle. “The colleges and universities are demonstrating that we want to work collaboratively with our communities to nurture our local economies by attracting new, clean business to the region.”
The NWPA KIZ will target clean technology, advanced manufacturing, information technology and life sciences companies and start-ups.