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Chester County Government News

Posted on: October 30, 2018

Tech Community Receives $100,000 boost from Commissioners for i21n Program


Tech startups across Chester County are about to get a $100,000 boost in support. The Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) received a $100,000 programming grant from Chester County for its Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n), which has a 10-year history of providing critical support and services directly benefiting hundreds of emerging technology companies.

The Chester County Commissioners announced the $100,000 grant at their latest sunshine public meeting on October 30th in West Chester.  

Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Michelle Kichline said: “Chester County has a strong history of taking decisive action to address critical issues impacting the future of the county, and one issue we face is how to stay competitive as a location for young, growing companies.  This funding will help to continue the important work of the Chester County Economic Development Council’s i2n program, which has already provided valuable support to many emerging growth businesses.”

CCEDC is the parent company for i2n, which will play a pivotal role in managing the $100,000 grant program to support tech startups. i2n currently has more than 40 participating companies, with a board chaired by Michael Harrington, a partner at Fox Rothschild and Guy Fardone, CEO and Founding Partner of Evolve IP. With this grant, i2n can continue to provide:

  • Entrepreneurial educational and network events including Tech360, the ‘burbs premier innovative business technology conference, TechStars Startup Weekend and the Lion Cage Pitch Competition in collaboration with its partners
  • Access to the Pennsylvania Keystone Innovation Zone tax credits for participating companies 
  • Promotion of Venture ChesCo, a partnership between the County of Chester and Ben Franklin Technology Partners that provides investment funds for new technology companies as well as existing companies looking to apply new technologies
  • An ecosystem of resources and digital tools for supporting tech entrepreneurs, include mentoring, legal, human resources, accounting, financing, training, real estate, links to university technology transfer and product commercialization opportunities, networking and industry-targeted programs
  • Relationships with educational partners including Delaware County Community College, 
  • West Chester University, Penn State University and Kutztown SBDC
  • A venue for entrepreneurs to pitch their company and receive feedback from experts and/or exposure to funders 
  • Connections between mature tech companies and startups for purposes of mentoring and investment.

“We know that the competition to get early stage growth companies to locate and stay in Chester County is increasing,” said County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone.  “This funding will continue to help the CCEDC work with tech startups through i2n to provide crucial elements needed to grow successfully - capital, technical assistance and a supportive location.”

The Commissioners have also earmarked an additional $15,000 so the CCEDC can distribute and administer year-four of its annual business retention survey “Take the Pulse,” which is focused on the business trends and business climate of Chester County and helps determine future economic policy.

“CCEDC can now continue and expand the reach of its i2n program, so that our i2n team, board and partners can build and enhance the region’s ecosystem of critical resources for our emerging tech community,” said Gary Smith, President and CEO of the Chester County Economic Development Council. “In addition, we can successfully launch our 2019 edition of the Take the Pulse business survey, which provides data that informs the future of our existing economic development programs and policies.”

Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell noted: “The County’s grants for i2n and the Take the Pulse business survey are a direct result of key components of VISTA 2025, our ten-year strategy designed to strengthen the economic health of the county.  We look forward to continuing the strong partnership with the CCEDC in these and many other initiatives.”

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