The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) is positioning our community for economic development growth in 2022 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 Retention and Growth
- Business Attraction
- Community and Economic Development
Business Retention and Growth
The retention of businesses in Berks County and the provision of resources to allow for continued growth will be the highest priority for 2022. As businesses continue to struggle with the effects of COVID-19, supply chain disruption and unprecedented labor shortages, GRCA will offer support through:
- 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
GRCA will continue its marketing efforts to highlight Berks County as an attractive place to locate or grow your business, in addition to being an attractive place to live and work. These efforts include maintaining an up-to-date commercial and industrial property inventory as well as current data on our community in order to respond to inquiries and prospects in a timely manner.
In January 2021, a business attraction marketing campaign entitled “Select Greater Reading” was unveiled. This has been the vehicle to provide timely information to site selectors, real estate brokers, state officials and other parties who are potentially interested in Berks County. In 2022, the Select Greater Reading (business attraction) and Meet Greater Reading (talent attraction) brands will be aligned and merged for consistent messaging and stronger impact across all platforms digitally and in print.
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. 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
- Through the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) administered $4,680,000 in grants disbursed to 177 Berks County businesses
- Administered over $3 million in funding through Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) + CFDI Rapid Response Program
- Throughout 2021, GRCA worked with 134 companies — 34% were in the advanced manufacturing industry
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 quarterly Economic Development Council meetings
- Regular Council reports and updates on Economic Development programs and projects
Gold Investor Level: $5,000-$9,999 Benefits (All Silver Investor benefits plus)
- Membership on Economic Development Council Leadership Roundtable
- Invitation to two additional (Spring and Fall) Leadership Roundtable Meetings to review and discuss top County projects and priorities and 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 Economic Development Council Leadership Roundtable and main website
- Company recognition/signage on Economic Development Council Leadership Roundtable-funded community projects*
* In addition to supporting the various programs and initiatives outlined in this publication, for all Investor funds raised over $200,000 those additional funds will also be used to support such other community projects as recommended by the Council’s Roundtable.