A recent Silicon Review article called Pennsylvania a place that “is quite possibly becoming the new Silicon Valley.” Best of all, Erie is listed as the # 1 most attractive destination for startups. Our Erie is making waves far beyond the shores of Presque Isle, and now is the time to ride that wave of momentum towards a more robust economy.
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It’s not hard to imagine Erie as the next home of businesses that spur new technology while retaining a unique hometown touch. In fact, it’s easy to imagine when you consider our past. Industry, productivity and innovation have defined us since the 1860s, when a young carpenter by trade, Melvin Lovell of Erie, invented the cash register.
Lovell obtained several patents for several devices and began manufacturing them in partnership with another inventor, Franklin Farrar Adams, who later became mayor of Erie. Lovell Manufacturing Co.’s products included washing machines, step stools, and box-spring beds. In the 1880s, Lovell grew from humble beginnings to one of the nation’s largest industrial manufacturers.
Today’s entrepreneurs looking for a community where the door is always open and where resources are available to help existing businesses and startups thrive don’t need to look any further than Erie.
Consider Whitethorn Games, a company that develops and publishes healthy video games. The company received a $ 1.2 million investment from Erie Insurance’s Opportunity Zone fund last year to help it thrive and grow. He’s signed 15 titles, released five, and is currently developing two games under development in Erie. In addition to creating exciting new products, the company invests in our community by renovating dilapidated downtown buildings and being a job creator, paying good salaries to approximately 35 employees.
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Whitethorn is just one example of a thriving Erie business. We recently visited another which is making waves.
Federal Resources Corp. is a mission-driven, HUBZone Certified Aggregator, implementing contracts for and with global leaders in the cybersecurity, data and intelligence industry.
The company’s reputation for excellence extends far beyond the borders of Erie County, primarily because until four years ago, it was located outside of Washington, DC, in the center of operations of Defense and Cyber Security of Northern Virginia.
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In 2018, FRC owner Jeremy Young moved the business to Erie, as a dedicated economic development room in his hometown. Since arriving here, FRC has formed an innovative partnership with Mercyhurst University, helping to create a workforce pool and offering students a chance to explore fields of their choice while attending university. The company intends to work with Mercyhurst students in the cyber building network operations center to help create internships not only for intelligence and cybersecurity, but also for marketing, business, accounting and Moreover ; create a pool of talent to be employed in the future.
FRC has a decidedly Erie model, with extraordinary commitment to the community and hard work. It offers employees a downtown living allowance and is already on track to surpass 50 employees by next year. This summer, FRC was ranked 708 on the list of Fastest Growing Inc. 5000 companies.
Erie’s wave rises and she stands out.
With technology on the rise, our city is home to two nationally accredited programs. The Mercyhurst University program is globally recognized for its intelligence, cybersecurity and international relations programs. The Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge (I-Hack) at Gannon University offers training in cyber engineering, cybersecurity and a master’s degree in information assurance and cybersecurity.
Erie County has invested significant sums and hours of planning and community time in its drive to modernize our economy, and our evolution comes at a good time. Last month, Bruce Katz, urban policy expert and co-founder of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab worked with local businesses, governments and economic development professionals to develop a ‘game guide’ to guide our search for government funding. , both from existing government assistance. programs and grants that should become available over the next few years.
Erie is unique in that our sense of community and our ability to form productive partnerships are some of our main strengths. In economic development, timing is everything – and Erie’s time is now. Our courage and determination have helped create and grow some of the most innovative and proven companies in the country. Looking ahead, we’re confident that 2022 will bring a rising tide of new economic development, and Erie’s enterprising entrepreneurs will be here to ride those waves.
Bob Merski represents Pennsylvania’s 2nd Legislative District, home to Mercyhurst and Gannon Universities and many innovative companies in our community. Tina Mengine, CEO of the Erie County Redevelopment Authority, works with these companies to help them reach their full potential.