The Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) has released its top milestones for Chester County in fiscal year 2021-2022, after a year of incredible growth despite economic uncertainty, inflation, and the remnants of a global pandemic.
CCEDC showcased the end-of-year milestones at its 12th Annual Stakeholders’ Breakfast held at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. More than 150 local business and community leaders attended the event, including partners, investors, and volunteers spanning every major county industry.
“Some hear the term ‘economic development’ and picture construction sites and loan closings. It’s really about serving people by preserving and enhancing the quality of life in our communities,” said CCEDC President and CEO Gary W. Smith. “We train people with the skills they need to support their families, advise small businesses so they can add to the fabric of Chester County, revitalize abandoned lots for better use by neighborhoods, and enable young people to explore quality career options.”
CCEDC’s 20221-2022 milestones in the areas of workforce development, business financing, location services and innovation include:
Opportunities for All
CCEDC approved its Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Strategic Plan, which paved the way for a new Business Resource Center in Coatesville with free access to business coaching. CCEDC also launched a first-of-its-kind grant program to support minority- and women-owned businesses that served 51 businesses: 26 minority-owned, 23 women-owned, 7 without a college degree and 7 returning from prolonged un-employment.
CCEDC relaunched AgConnect, an in-demand agriculture industry partnership, which partnered with Chester County to launch its first agriculture economic development strategic plan and also began training to support worker and youth career development experiences in agriculture and manufacturing. In 2021-2022, CCEDC’s workforce development initiatives impacted 1,632 youth, 1,556 participating organizations and 986 volunteers.
Financing Chesco’s Future
The Chester County Industrial Development Authority (CCIDA) and CCEDC are thrilled to finance Longwood Gardens’ most ambitious expansion of its Conservatory and surrounding landscape in a century. Seventeen acres of Longwood’s Conservatory and grounds will be transformed by 2024 using a tax-exempt loan through CCIDA. Longwood is one of thousands of projects the CCIDA and CCEDC have financed over their nearly 50 years of partnership
Loan growth in CCEDC’s Fiscal Year 2021-2022 was record breaking, with loan volume more than five times higher than just four years ago and more than 33 percent higher compared to the previous fiscal year. Loans included SBA 504 and 7(a), Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA), and CCEDC’s internal revolving loan fund.
Location, Location, Location
In the heart of Downingtown Borough, construction is underway on the Hankin Group’s new Brandywine Station LP (River Station). This mixed-use project includes 400 luxury apartments, 10,000 square feet of retail space, a new pedestrian bridge to Johnsontown Park, and will include the future site of the new Downingtown AMTRAK/SEPTA train station. With assistance from CCEDC, the project received an ISRP award of $1,280,505 through the Central and Western Industrial Development Authority to help with the environmental site remediation and Act 2 clean-up of the site.
With help from CCEDC’s site selection team, Habitat for Humanity of Chester County found a new location for its corporate headquarters in Phoenixville, as well as a new location for Restore, a home improvement store and donation center.
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
CCEDC’s startup support program Ideas x Innovation Network celebrated its 10th anniversary. In that decade, i2n has provided $17 million in direct tax credits and grants to local startups. More than 2,000 jobs were created by i2n companies with $307 million invested back into the local economy. 203 patents have been filed, with hundreds of clients served.
More details on these top milestones for Chester County can be found in CCEDC’s 2021-2022 Annual Report available at annual.ccedcpa.com.