Columbia and Montour Counties get additional space for innovative economic development
Release Date: September 29th, 2016
BLOOMSBURG, PA — Rural Business Innovation Corporation, working in conjunction with Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Geisinger Health Systems and Sekisui-SPI, has received the approval of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development to expand the geographic footprint of the Greater Susquehanna Keystone Innovation Zone (GSKIZ) program. This approval provides entrepreneurs and start-ups with more options to start and grow businesses in downtown Bloomsburg, with light industrial/manufacturing options in Bloomsburg and additional development in Danville, Pa.
“The GSKIZ program has proven to be a valuable asset to a young company by offering a financial incentive, truly based on growth and development. Companies can only take advantage of this program after they have proven themselves through revenue growth, creating jobs and being in business for three years. The GSKIZ program has accelerated company growth and development,” said Kelly O’Brien Gavin, Executive Director of RBI.
The eligibility requirements for being a KIZ program-qualified company are: business must be less than eight years old, physically operating inside the geographic boundaries and working in an approved industry sector. The industry sectors include: diversified manufacturing, information technology (IT), healthcare services, bio-medical technologies/life sciences, alternative/renewable energy, value add gas industry product development/production and wood products/wood manufacturing.
"As a manufacturer based in Central Pennsylvania, our company has an obligation to provide opportunity for our employees and for the community in which we work and live,” says Ronn Cort, COO & President of SEKISUI SPI. “Part of that responsibility is to embrace and encourage innovation. RBI is a fantastic catalyst and KIZ is the vehicle through which we can fulfill our commitment. This is a new venture for us and we’re looking forward to seeing what this program brings. As someone once said, ‘There are no old roads to new directions.’”
The KIZ program must have a University/Research Partner in order to qualify an area for a zone. The GSKIZ program is honored to be working with Bloomsburg University and Geisinger Health Systems on this expansion project.
“We are delighted to be a partner in expanding the successful GSKIZ,” said BU President David Soltz. “This expansion will not only bring more employment opportunities to our neighbors and our alumni in Northeast Pennsylvania, but it also will translate into more internships for our students and more opportunities for important faculty/student research to enhance the growth of these young businesses. In today’s entrepreneurial environment, the GSKIZ’s support for new business start-ups is vital to a healthy local economy and the futures of many of our neighbors across the region.”
“Entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses are critical to economic development and are essential for the dissemination of research and discovery. Geisinger is proud to partner with RBI and is excited to be a part of this expansion that furthers economic development growth in the region”, said James Brazeal, Geisinger Research Chief Administrative Officer.
“True economic development and growth has to occur through concerted regional efforts. RBI has that ability via the nine-county area that we service. RBI believes Central Pennsylvania can become an economic force that connects the right business with the right opportunities, both new and old. We continue to work on regionalization and developing valuable partnerships that will grow and organically create the supply chain/distribution channel with the existing infrastructure that already exists in our region,” said Kelly O’Brien Gavin, Executive Director of RBI.
The goal of the KIZ program is to not only support new company creation and development, but to create jobs that can provide a sustainable wage and truly have an impact on local economies. RBI is able to manage the GSKIZ program with the partners that provide sustainability through resources and financial support: Bloomsburg, Bucknell and Susquehanna universities; Geisinger Health Systems; Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeast Pennsylvania; Northumberland County Industrial Development Authority; First Keystone Community Bank; First Columbia Bank & Trust; M & T Bank; Mid-Penn Bank; and local state Reps. David Millard and Lynda Schlegel Culver.
Rural Business Innovation, based in Bloomsburg, Pa., is the result of a shared vision and mission by the Board of Directors from both the Greater Susquehanna KIZ and the Rural Enterprise Development Corporation. RBI creates and fosters local job growth by aiding entrepreneurs, newly formed start-up companies, and mature companies in identifying and capitalizing on new ideas and opportunities. RBI and strategic partners are creating the environment to keep and attract talent to the Central PA region. RBI manages the Keystone Innovation Zone and the Local Enterprise Assistance Programs (LEAP). There are six business incubator locations throughout nine counties. For more information, visit www.ruralbusinessinnovation.org. Follow RBI on Facebook (www.facebook.com/GSKIZ, Twitter (www.twitter.com/RBI_Corp), and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/PAGSKIZ/)