Doing Business in Erie County

Aerial view of downtown Erie and the bayfront

Why Erie County?

With our convenient access to highways, rail, water and air, Erie County is an ideal spot to start or expand your business.

Our proud manufacturing heritage has created a highly skilled multigenerational workforce, and our four major universities supply partners for research and training.

We boast big-city opportunities with a small-town feel, which keeps our costs of living surprisingly low.

First Stop for Businesses

  • Choose Erie – This is is your one-stop shop for information about starting or expanding a business in Erie County. You’ll find information about our economic development entities, workforce and quality of life, as well as a portal to the Erie County Data Center.
  • Erie County Data Center – This cutting-edge online data hub operates out of the Erie County Department of Planning and Community Development. The site is a vital tool for business owners and site selectors, allowing users to drill down on data like infrastructure, real estate, demographics, transportation and more.

Focus on Entrepreneurship

Erie County has a number of initiatives to support anyone who has an idea for a product or a dream for a business:

  • Erie County Public Library’s Idea Lab – This is innovative public makerspace is located in Blasco Memorial Library. Residents can make use of specialty equipment like 3D printers and a media lab, while also taking advantage of the library’s resources to connect to further support for their fledgling business. The Idea Lab is also a member of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Innovation Beehive Network.
  • Northwestern Pennsylvania Innovation Beehive Network – This is our region’s hub for entrepreneurship. The beehive features five grant-funded centers working collaboratively to support thinkers and doers at all stages of their business development. The process starts at Erie County’s Idea Lab, before moving along to Erie County’s four major universities (Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Gannon University, Mercyhurst University and Penn State Behrend), each of which play a specialized role within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

A Greener Economy

Erie County’s economic fortunes are intertwined with its natural environment, thanks to its position along Lake Erie. Erie County is working to take advantage of these connections, which can boost the economy while protecting our valuable natural resources.

  • Lake Erie Quadrangle National Marine Sanctuary – Erie County’s proposed National Marine Sanctuary pays tribute to the unique maritime history of Lake Erie. The county’s nomination is under consideration by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for inclusion on National Marine Sanctuary list.
  • Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation – Erie County is a member of this organization, known as LEEDCo, which is working to install offshore wind turbines in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie. The project would be the first freshwater offshore wind project in North America. Erie County signed on as a member of LEEDCo both to support the development of alternative energy sources and to maintain an interest in the manufacturing needs required to produce wind turbines for the project.
  • Erie 2030 District – Erie County is a founding partner in the Erie 2030 District, a collaborative effort to create a groundbreaking, high-performance building district. District partners set realistic, achievable goals to reduce energy and water consumption, thus creating savings for property owners and increasing competitiveness in the business world.

More Resources for Businesses

  • Erie County Redevelopment Authority – The authority’s development team works to foster investment in the region by providing low-interest financing, real estate services and grant assistance to businesses and nonprofits.
  • Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership – One of Erie County’s leading economic development entities, the organization offers support for existing businesses and resources for business attraction.
  • Flagship Opportunity Zone – The single point of entry for investors interested in Erie’s Opportunity Zones, the Flagship helps to pool local capital and identify projects, investors and funds. It also helps promote the Zone and connect eligible projects with entrepreneurs.