Gary W. Smith, president and chief executive officer of the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC), attended the Chester County Planning Commission’s board meeting on May 8th and discussed the role of his organization and its partnership with the county.
Smith said the CCEDC has a longstanding relationship of cooperation with the county.
“We really value our partnership and that relationship,” he added.
Established in 1960, the private, nonprofit, non-governmental entity promotes a competitive edge for existing and new businesses. The economic development organization has a mission of providing services that “improve the business community and enhance the quality of life in Chester County and the region in five main areas: injecting capital, impacting workforce, incubating business, igniting growth and imagining opportunities.”
The organization has about 35 employees and is governed by a 35-member Board of Directors consisting of business and community leaders. The CCEDC is affiliated with the Chester County Economic Development Foundation (CCEDF), South Eastern Economic Development Company of Pennsylvania (Seedcopa), South Eastern Economic Development Company of Delaware (Seedco DE), Chester County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), Central and Western Chester County IDA, Uwchlan Township IDA, and the Chester County Public Safety Training Foundation. The agency also manages and administers the following affiliated organizations, industry partnerships, and related initiatives: AgConnect, Health Care Connect, Hire One, ideas x innovation network (i2n), Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG), Smart Energy Initiative (SEI), and the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware Counties.
The CCEDC’s core services include commercial loan and financing services; community revitalization and brownfield redevelopment; technology development services; workforce retention, expansion, and training; agricultural economic development; tax credits; business retention, expansion, and site selection services; grant management and support; and international business assistance.
“The CCEDC grows and nurtures businesses,” said Smith, who manages his family farm in his spare time.
The CCEDC has collaborated on many projects with the Planning Commission, including opportunity site maps that help local businesses connect to regional employment centers and other major transportation routes. CCEDC representatives were members of the Landscapes3 Working Group on commercial development, and they will be involved with the Chester County Housing Choices Committee.
Additionally, the CCEDC – in conjunction with the county – leads VISTA2025, a public-private partnership effort that is focused on creating and implementing an economic development strategy for the county.