Don’t Start Your Startup without the Ideas x Innovation Network


i2n logo Final nbgThe Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n) is a program within the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC). The mission of i2n is to support emerging growth businesses throughout their entire life cycle by leveraging the assets of our academic institutions and our partners to create a network of physical and virtual resources.

In the program, entrepreneurs are strategically connected with established professionals whose experience and knowledge become pivotal stops on an emerging company’s roadmap toward success.

The Right Stuff for Startups

Specifically, i2n can assist emerging companies with: accounting, business demographics and economic statistics, business plans, financing, human resources, international business assistance, interns, legal, market research, marketing strategies, real estate, strategic advisors, tax credits, technology, and more.

In particular, i2n and its partners created innovation centers that aid startups by providing low-cost, highly flexible facilities that include professional office space, redundant high-speed gigabit fiber Internet access, cloud computing services, and more.

The Innovation Center at Eagleview (ICE) was formed in partnership with the Hankin Group.  This location in Exton serves small life science and biotech companies by providing flexible space options.

The Innovation Center at Evolve IP is located in Wayne and was formed in partnership with GPX Realty Partners and Evolve IP.    This site serves early-stage technology, smart energy, non-lab biotechnology, and life sciences startups by providing low-cost, highly flexible facilities that include professional office space, redundant high-speed gigabit fiber Internet access, cloud computing services, and more.

A common key factor for both Innovation Centers is the fact that they are located in Keystone Innovation Zones (KIZ), an incentive program that provides tax credits to for-profit companies less than eight years old operating within specific targeted industries within its boundaries.

Recently named among the area’s Best 50 Places to work in 2016, Evolve IP, was not just a partner in making the Innovation Center a reality but also is an i2n graduate company.  According to Guy Fardone, President and Founding Partner of Evolve IP,

“i2n was a critical and sincerely appreciated asset during our formative years.  Our annual tax credit was something we relied on to help grow our business and our entire organization looked forward to training grants to help drive necessary technical skill development.

“Even today with over 230 Associates across 9 national locations, Evolve IP relies on i2n to help us network, open doors, grow our business and help us provide Chester County and the surrounding area with needed economic support such as our Innovation Center, career seminars, leadership collaboration and technology grant assistance.

“Startups, emerging growth companies and even larger organizations can benefit tremendously from i2n – the first step is getting involved.”

By the Numbers

In March 2012, the Chester County KIZ and the Delaware County KIZ consolidated to form i2n. Since the merger, i2n has provided services for an average of 50 companies per year within the KIZ Zones.  Since January 2012, the total revenues for participating companies has reached $ 526,128,359.00 and 226 jobs have been created.

Additionally, $ 6,727,368.00 in KIZ tax credits have been awarded.  A total of $ 95,266,009.00 was spent on research, development, testing and evaluation resulting in 61 patents that have been filed and 55 new products have been brought to market. 

Distinguished Alumni

Many startups have availed themselves of i2n’s services and network over the years.  A “graduation” of sorts occurs when a company is eight years old and therefore no longer eligible for KIZ tax credits.  Graduate companies include:

Often, these companies continue their involvement with i2n and serve as resources and/or mentors for other organizations.

What’s next for i2n?

This fall, i2n will once again collaborate with the Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG) – both initiatives of CCEDC, to present the second annual Tech360 event on Friday, November 11.  The event is being held at the Penn State Great Valley Conference Center.

This year’s keynote at Tech360 will be Real Tech Talk – Business, People, and Leadership,” a technology leadership panel discussion on the latest trends and observations in data security, hiring talent, change and innovation, leading technical people and organizations and the biggest opportunities and challenges.

Breakout session topics include Cyber Security; Big Data, Network and Data Security; Agile Development; Robotics; Women in Technology; and Hiring Tech Talent, featuring speakers from SEI Investments Company, U.S. Secret Service,, HomeNet Automotive, Curotec, Pegasus Technologies, NIIT Technologies, Morris Risk Management, Exelon, Layer 8 Security, LLC, NPC, Inc., and more.

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