By Aaron Gantz, Senior Director of Economic Development
The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA), formed in 2017, brought together the power of three existing business organizations serving Berks County. This strategic alignment combined numerous programs and resources under one organization. Today, the GRCA has access to, and provides tools and resources to help businesses in Greater Reading thrive.
Whether a business is seeking information to better understand its customer, looking for a property to accommodate relocation or expansion or could benefit from financing opportunities, the GRCA team has the resources to make it happen. The results bring jobs and growth to our region.
Available tools and programs include:
Through GRCA’s affiliate organization, the Greater Berks Development Fund (GBDF), the organization can access low-interest funding through a variety of sources.
- Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) provides low-interest loans for eligible businesses and is directly administered by GBDF. Different industry sectors may access PIDA financing including manufacturing, industrial, agricultural, research and development, hospitality, defense conversion, recycling, construction, child daycare, retail and service, export and computer-related service enterprises.
PIDA financing can be used for land and building acquisition, construction and renovation costs, machinery and equipment purchases and working capital. Learn more about PIDA and other funding opportunities here: greaterreading.org/financing/
- Pennsylvania Catalyst Loan Fund features fixed interest rates below prevailing bank interest rates. Loans will typically range from $50,000 to $500,000. The revolving loan funds must be matched by private funding. Learn more here: greaterreading.org/pa-loan-catalyst-fund/
- Greater Reading Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) Tax Credit Program enables young (less than 8 years) companies to grow. The KIZ Tax Credits are used to offset certain tax liabilities and to accelerate the growth of technology- based companies. The tax credit provides up to $100,000 annually to eligible companies. Learn more about the program here.
- Greater Reading Enterprise Zone Tax Credit is a state designation to address deteriorated, distressed and blighted industrial and manufacturing areas. The municipalities that comprise the Enterprise Zone include Bern Township, City of Reading, Cumru Township, Exeter Township, Muhlenberg Township and Ontelaunee Township. Learn more here.
- Foreign Trade Zone 147offersU.S.-based companies the ability to defer, reduce or even eliminate Customs duties on products admitted to the zone. For the U.S.-based companies involved in international trade, the FTZ program provides a means of improving their competitive position in relation to their counterparts abroad. Learn more about FTZ 147 at FTZ147.com.
Research and Data – the GRCA team can provide custom reports for companies seeking information on wages across occupations, workforce availability, demographics and more.
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Property Search – for companies looking for their first brick and mortar location or are ready to expand, the GRCA team can help identify available commercial and industrial properties across Berks County. GRCA maintains an extensive list of available properties at GreaterReadingsites.com.
Develop and grow your talent
- In addition to professional development and training offerings throughout the calendar year, GRCA can customize learning experiences for companies. Learn more here: greaterreading.org/business-resources/professional-development-training/
- Companies can leverage the Meet Greater Reading platform to showcase what is next and best in Berks County as part of their talent attraction efforts.
At GRCA, we know it’s hard to build your business alone. Take advantage of our numerous programs and resources – all are welcome!
Contact Aaron Gantz, Senior Director, Economic Development at firstname.lastname@example.org to get you connected to the right resources.