Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone

From Cori Shropshire this AM:
Duquesne University biotech economic development chief Dr. Alan Seadler has big plans for the planned Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone, should it be approved by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority in October.

One of the 15 board seats for the planned economic development zone that will encompass Downtown, Uptown, parts of the Hill District, the North Side and the South Side will be occupied by PNC Bank.

The bank will manage a small loan guarantee fund of about $100,000 a year, Dr. Seadler said, for companies settled in the KIZ that are good risks. The fund will help the firms build credit histories and have cash for equipment and other capital intensive needs.

PNC will join other board members, including the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, in providing a $225,000 matching grant in the first year to get the KIZ up and running -- tackling projects such as launching a mixed-use technology company incubator. Dr. Seadler said he hopes to "have the site nailed" by October or November.

"We can take some of the things that Oakland has already started -- and add some more muscle to it -- move it faster," Dr. Seadler said.

He doesn't explain exactly how two KIZ's will be more muscular than one. (Pause here to reflect on the ironies involved in the fact that a biotech-oriented economic development proposal emphasizes "better, faster, stronger.") But more money is nice, I like the fact that Duquesne University wants to be a public player in the region's tech development landscape, and involving the Hill -- the PG story doesn't mention the fact that the Hill House Economic Development Corporation is part of the proposal -- is a good thing. GO KIZ, meet PCKIZ.

Related coverage:
Duquesne press release
Pgh Business Times
Tribune Review

Comments

1 Response to "Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone"

John Morris said... 8/27/2006 9:13 PM

I am definately not an expert, but in terms of general concept and location it seems promising. A downtown location/ inner city location seems right for start ups/ incubator stage stuff.

One key flaw that seems to glre out is that the narowly targeted investment areas don't fully take advantage of location synergy. Given the location close to the corporate headquarters, It might be a good place for a software startup involving banking/trading/portfolio management or perhaps legal services. Other obvious synergies could be collaborations with Point Park, The Art Institute involving graphics or gaming technology.

It just seems like some of the people involved may not see the cities cultural capital as much more than frivolous entertainment.

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