The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) is positioning our community for economic development growth in 2024 and beyond.
The economic development team works to bring the necessary tools and resources to the table to help companies locate or grow their business in our community. Whether a company is seeking information to better understand its customer, looking for a property to accommodate relocation or expansion or requires assistance with financing, our team has the resources to make it happen. The results bring jobs and growth to our region.
Our economic development team is strategically focused on the following areas:
- Business and Industry Growth, Retention + Attraction
- Community and Economic Development
Business and Industry Growth, Retention + Attraction
Berks County companies are growing and expanding because they have access to information and resources.
People and companies new to Berks County are able to make informed decisions on why and how they can grow and thrive in the community.
- Business visits to identify challenges and opportunities and match appropriate resources
- Real estate development of available sites for future use
- Talent attraction and retention
- Targeted industry support for the manufacturing and agricultural sectors specifically
COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
GRCA will provide continued support and partnership with Berks County municipalities as they undertake economic and community development projects. Examples of this support includes working with the Main Street communities, technical assistance and partnership on DCED applications.
Lead local efforts to prepare for restoration of passenger rail service. This will not only provide additional travel options to alleviate congestion of the US 422 corridor and the regional road system, but will also have significant economic and community development opportunities. It will help revitalize the communities along the corridor, including the Greater Reading region. Read more here.
Lead local efforts to prepare for the return of passenger rail to City of Reading, supplementing the train related activity taking place under the auspices of the Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority.
As the designated coordinator or grantee, GRCA will continue to manage and promote several economic development programs:
- Keystone Enterprise Zone
- Keystone Opportunity Zone
- Keystone Innovation Zone
- Foreign Trade Zone 147
Top GRCA Economic Development Accomplishments of 2023
- Launched a national talent attraction and retention campaign through the Meet Greater Reading brand
- Collaborated with 75+ companies and partners across Industry Partnerships to make connections, identify common issues & offer resources.
- Hosted 70 personalized development trainings and industry roundtable discussions to:
- 500+ attendees
- 110+ individual companies
- In partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services, launched $430,000 small business loan fund.
- Over $1.4 million in grant applications submitted to support local non-profits and development projects.
- $925,000 submitted through the Small Business Credit Initiative (Pennsylvania Loan Catalyst Fund) on behalf of Berks County companies.
- Hosted the bi-annual Building Berks Awards & Expo which featured 30 nominated projects and represented:
- $148 million in investment
- 1.2 million square feet of development
- 2,100 jobs created
- In partnership with the County of Berks Department of Agriculture, launched an interactive, local food directory and map featuring over 230 producers and farmers. See it on GrowTogetherBerks.com
- Hosted over 150 economic development professionals at the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association (PEDA) Fall Conference in Downtown Reading.
Become an Economic Development Investor!
GRCA has a $1M annual budget to fund the important economic development activities cited above. However, while the Berks County Commissioners provide substantial financial support to help fund this important work, we also rely heavily on Berks business “Investors” to provide critical support for our team and programs. If you would like to support this ongoing work to build our Berks economy, become an “Investor” at one of the following levels:
Silver Investor Level: $1,000-$4,999 Benefits
- Invitation to bi-annual Economic Development Council meetings
- Quarterly digital reports and updates on Economic Development programs and projects
- Quarterly Intelligence Reports featuring economic data and analysis at the local, state and federal levels
- Monthly Economic Development news
Gold Investor Level: $5,000-$9,999 Benefits (All Silver Investor benefits plus)
- Invitation to one annual meeting with GRCA economic development staff to advise on future GRCA economic development programming and community investment projects.
Platinum Investor: $10,000+ Benefits (All Gold Investor benefits plus)
- Company logo recognition on GRCA website GreaterReading.org