Business report

Chester County has seen growth despite economic challenges, report says

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The Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) said the county had experienced “incredible growth” despite economic uncertainty, inflation and the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, during its small- annual stakeholder luncheon on Friday 18 November.

According to the council, the county achieved five milestones in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, including growing opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses, launching an agricultural economic strategy and supporting start-ups. -up.

“Some people hear the term ‘economic development’ and imagine construction sites and loan closings. It’s really about serving people by preserving and improving the quality of life in our communities,” CCEDC President and CEO Gary W. Smith told a crowd of about 150 chief executives. local businesses and communities. “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 derelict land for better use by neighborhoods and enable young people to explore quality career options.”

CCEDC has approved its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, paving the way for a business resource center in Coatesville with free access to business coaching. The council also launched a grant program that provided financial support to 51 minority and women-owned businesses. The council also relaunched an agricultural program, AgConnect, which created an agricultural economic development strategic plan and an agricultural training program for youth career development.

The council said growth in its lending exceeded last year’s levels by more than 33% and was five times higher than four years ago. The CCEDC has also worked with Hankin Group to finance the Brandywine Station LP, which will be a mixed-use project featuring 400 luxury apartments, 10,000 square feet of retail space and a new pedestrian bridge to Johnsontown Park, in anticipation of the new Downingtown AMTRAK / SEPTA station. And the CCEDC said it provided start-up support for its I2N (Ideas x Innovation Network) program, helping to create more than 2,000 jobs to date and contributing some $307 million back into the community.