More than a decade ago, a group of business leaders in the Lehigh Valley gathered to discuss the worst crisis in the region's economic history: Bethlehem Steel, the company that defined the American economy and the Bethlehem skyline with its iconic smokestacks, would soon vanish.
With unrivaled foresight, the group started planning for the day when the region would create a host of industrial parks (there are seven today) housing New Economy businesses that provide family-sustaining jobs. In 1995, eight years before Bethlehem Steel closed, the partners formed a group that would link business, government, and civic organizations throughout the region in a common cause. Their mission was to develop a diverse and prosperous economy. Their efforts produced the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, and for the past 13 years, LVEDC has fulfilled that mission of fostering job growth and retention - helping businesses arrive and thrive.
Today, LVEDC works as a single source for consultants and corporations looking to relocate and expand in one of America's hottest markets. Located on the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border, the Lehigh Valley is rapidly gaining recognition within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries for its ability to meet the diverse needs of those businesses.
The region offers companies a strong research capacity and an economic environment that can transform research into successful commercial activity.
Since its inception, LVEDC has helped develop initiatives such as the Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ), which focuses on information technology, life sciences, nanotechnology, and financial services. With the support of a strong network of partners, the KIZ has helped foster approximately 20 startups.
Through the KIZ and other initiatives like the Ben Franklin Technology Partners incubator, old smokestacks are being replaced by established and homegrown companies, including:
• Olympus America, an innovator in the design and delivery of innovative solutions in healthcare and consumer electronics;
• B. Braun, a global supplier of products for anesthesia, intensive medicine, cardiology, extra corporeal blood treatment, and surgery;
• OraSure Technologies, the leading supplier of oral-fluid-collection devices and in-vitro diagnostic assays to the employment, criminal justice, and public-health markets;
• EMV Technologies, which uses nanotechnology to characterize materials for the renal dialysis industry;
• Digestive Care, developer of a bicarbonate buffered pancrelipase composition that helps cystic fibrosis and HIV patients digest and utilize fats.
In just 12 years, an economy dominated by heavy industry has become the leading employer in Pennsylvania, generating jobs at triple the Pennsylvania average across a wide spectrum of business that includes companies like Mack Trucks, Air Products, and Crayola.
To help others share in the prosperity, LVEDC provides a single point of contact for information on demographics, infrastructure, incentives, work force training, loans, taxes, and property. It also supplies the expertise and contacts that enable companies to acquire what they need when they need it.
To learn more about how LVEDC can help your business thrive, contact us today.
Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation
P.O. Box 21750
Lehigh Valley, PA 18002