EAST WHITELAND – The Chester County Economic Development Council briefed its stakeholders and investors on the organization’s milestones starting in fiscal 2021 at their annual breakfast on November 19.
The event marked a return to an in-person format for the popular event, with around 150 business and community leaders attending breakfast at the Desmond Hotel in East Whiteland. 2020 breakfast was held virtually due to the pandemic coronavirus.
The annual meeting aims to inform the agency’s stakeholders of its achievements in developing the county’s economy and workforce development in its four key areas: financing solutions, location services, development workforce and culture of innovation.
The meeting also provides an opportunity for the Chester County Economic Development Board to say “thank you” to its stakeholders and partners.
“As we celebrate today’s discussion, the staff and the stories you are going to hear – you are a part of it,” said Gary Smith, President and CEO of the Chester County Economic Development Council, in his remarks welcome. “We couldn’t do it without your support. “
Mike Grigalonis, COO of CCEDC, echoed Smith’s comments, adding that “everything you do is really the lifeblood of the organization”.
As they did last year, Smith and Grigalonis thanked the organization staff.
“These people come to work with a smile on their face, passion in their hearts and they provide good work and services to meet this diverse economy that we have. They are friendly, they are caring and they take care of people. And that’s the most important thing we can do in our lives, “said Smith.
Grigalonis added that when he thought about what the high point of 2021 was, it was the staff at the Chester County Economic Development Board.
“I think the staff have always been great, but this year I think it was exceptional,” he said, adding that they “did what was asked, often outside of their description of post and things they had never done before “.
Some of the highlights of the 2020-2021 Council year economic development Chester County include:
• $ 86,634,534 in aid Covid-19 companies in the region
• $ 9,959,500 in grants from Chester County Main Street
• $ 5,845,000 in COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) grants
• $ 78,891,964 in total funding for 76 economic development projects, including 29 in Chester County and 47 others across the Commonwealth
• Record year in lending volume, with 61 SBA 504 loans totaling over $ 56 million
• 4,573 participants in workforce development programs through industry partnerships and CCEDC STEM initiatives, 904 companies engaged in workforce programs
• The creation of a working group on diversity, equity and inclusion made up of 17 opinion leaders from across the region.
The board’s new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group began an exploratory process that included surveys and interviews with board staff, the board of directors, and minority and minority-owned businesses. women. Execution of the organization’s DE&I plan is expected to begin in 2021-2022.
“This year and moving forward is dedicated to building a strong, inclusive and prosperous Chester County,” said Smith. “As the global pandemic spanned a second year with widespread health and economic impacts, there was renewed interest and urgency in our nation’s ongoing dialogues on race, justice and justice. equality. Throughout this time, CCEDC has strived to serve and make a difference on these issues and more, while advancing the economic health and prosperity of Chester County and the region.
The breakfast included a discussion on the four main service areas of the Chester County Economic Development Board.
Financing solutions: Seedcopa, the council’s regional finance arm, was able to support even more borrowers in fiscal year 2020-2021 with a 53% increase over last year’s lending volume. For the second year in a row, Seedcopa has been named No.1 SBA 504 Lender in Eastern Pennsylvania by the US Small Business Administration.
Highlighting a story, Marie Shires, Vice President and Head of Relations, Seedcopa, spoke with Jim Grissillo, owner of Creative Kids of Downingtown, who said his business has been hit hard by the pandemic. Working with Seedcopa, he said he was able to get a Main Street grant and then $ 100,000 in funding in the form of loans “that really kept our doors open.” He was then able to obtain new funding of approximately $ 1.6 million to refinance the entire system.
Workforce Development: In Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT) 20th anniversary year, the one-day program was redesigned during the pandemic into an eight-month virtual experience with hands-on activities for a global audience. Patti VanCleave, vice president of workforce development and STEM for the Chester County Economic Development Council, said 25 videos are posted once a week on YouTube. The platform has broadened the scope of the program, with views of the series across the United States and seven countries.
Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Chester County Economic Development Council initiatives and programs have supported 105 local startups, hosted 15 events including entrepreneur roundtables and Open Pitch coaching sessions, and invested $ 867,938 in funding Keystone Innovation Zoned.
Rental services: The Chester County Economic Development Council has worked with Cheyney University and Mosaic Development for three years on a public-private partnership that helps identify opportunities for businesses to locate on the Cheyney campus and provides students with opportunities to ‘career exploration, training and internships on campus.
At breakfast Friday the Cheyney University announced a new innovation called thinkUbator. This co-action space will be located in the redeveloped Duckrey building and will provide laboratory space and infrastructure for emerging companies, researchers, academics and students.
A full copy of the Annual Report 2020-2021 of the Chester County Economic Development Council is available at http://annual.ccedcpa.com/