CCEDC Hosts Annual Stakeholder’s Breakfast

From the Daily Local News:

IMG_0256Chester County economic development officials believe it’s time for the county to step out of the shadows of its neighbors and to be recognized on its own merits.

That was a major theme of the Chester County Economic Development Council’s stakeholders breakfast held Friday at the Desmond Hotel near Malvern with about 200 attending.

Speakers touted the county’s performance in the areas of business, education and quality of life issues in making the argument for creating an identity for the county separate from being a Philadelphia suburb.

“We don’t often toot our own horns,” said County Commissioner Michelle Kichline, suggesting it was time that changed. “It’s one of the healthiest and best-educated populations in the country.”

Kichline said the county has succeeded because it has a history of the private and public sectors working together. “That will be the secret of success in the future,” she said.

The county’s latest marketing campaign, developed through its ongoing VISTA 2025 economic development plan, asks a series of questions designed to point out Chester County’s assets.

Among them, it asks, Did You Know:

• Chester County was named the #1 tech hub in Pennsylvania?

“This gives us a foundation on which to build a culture of innovation that will support the growth of our emerging tech community,” the development council said. “We’ll continue the work of our own Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n) and leverage collaborative support systems like Liberty Valley Initiative, Ben Franklin Technology Partners and the expansion of our county’s three major incubators.”

• Seedcopa, the council’s SBA lending affiliate, was named the #1 Certified Development Company in loan processing efficiency in the nation? “We are proud of this recognition and applaud the efforts of our dedicated and experienced team,” the council said.

• Downingtown Stem Academy was again named the #1 school in Pennsylvania in 2014-15? “Chester County has some of the finest schools in the nation,” the council said. One traveling placard points out the five Chester County high schools were rated in the Top 500 nationally by Newsweek magazine.

• Chester County was named the fourth healthiest county in Pennsylvania? “We think this ranking is a direct result of the commitment of business, education and community organizations working collectively to enhance the quality of life for all county residents,” the council said.

• Chester County was also ranked the fifth best county in the nation by the Fourth Economy Index? “This ranking was based on demonstrated vision, leadership and regionalism in five specific areas: investment, talent, sustainability, place, and diversity,” the council said.

The Development Council also touted some of the numbers from its 2014-15 year:

• $188 million, in public financing secured for local projects;

• $141.5 million, in tax exempt financing provided by its financing arm, the Industrial Development Authority to 18 projects;

• $9.3 million, in grant funding administered by the Development Council, for 22 separate projects;

• 1,275, volunteers who supported the council’s programs and initiatives;

• 2,252, employees trained from 293 companies at an average cost of $167 per person;

• 3,380, youth who participated in career exploration programs;

• 2,145, pounds of food donated by Development Council staff to local food banks.

One of the attendees at Friday’s breakfast, state Rep. Duane Milne, R-167th of Willistown, endorsed the strategy of the county stepping out of the shadow of its larger neighbors.

“To brand us as a standalone entity, to give us some separation from the rest of the Philadelphia region as a destination with our own arts and culture, I think that’s smart,” he said. “We are probably losing some opportunities because people think they have to go downtown. It’s a good idea to try not to lose those opportunities.”

Read more at DailyLocalNews.com

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