The Office of Economic Development (OED) is a client facing business and project development activity responsible for the development of business sites that provide the opportunity to improve the Erie County tax base through business retention, attraction, and expansion. These responsibilities are delivered through the following services provided by the OED:
- Small Business Resources
- Initiatives For A Smart Economy
- Commercial Center Improvement Program (CCIP)
- Microenterprise Loan/Grant Funding
- Business Liaison & Technical Assistance
- Erie County Business Assistance Directory
- Business Retention & Expansion Program
- Broadband Internet Feasibility Study
Small Business Resources
Being a small business owner can be a daunting task, especially in the wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately there are a multitude of resources available to help shepherd business owners through the storm. The Erie County Business Task Force has compiled a comprehensive list of small business service providers that can assist with access to capital, technical trainings, networking opportunities and more!
This PDF document can be found HERE.
Initiatives For A Smart Economy
The plan shares the goal of its predecessor—to identify those sectors of the regional economy Erie County can most influence and to further identify, in the form of individual initiatives, what specifically Erie County will do to propel those sectors forward.
The plan contains 71 initiatives across the following priority sectors:
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Brownfields and Vacant Property Redevelopment
- Infrastructure and Transportation
- Municipal Smart Growth Initiatives
- An Inclusive and Prepared Workforce
- Bi-National Logistics and International Trade
- ECIDA Enhancement
- Quality of Life
- The Blue Economy
Initiatives for a Smart Economy 2.0 – Focus on Inclusion represents the Poloncarz administration’s deep commitment to a comprehensive, innovative approach to economic development that contributes to a more vibrant economy and creates shared opportunities for all.
Commercial Center Improvement Program
The Commercial Center Improvement Program (CCIP) is a 50/50 matching grant program for owners of businesses for the costs of exterior repairs made to their buildings. The objective of the program is to financially assist property owners of commercial businesses within Village and Hamlet areas of Countywide significance. The program aims to improve the physical appearance of older commercial centers by providing a consistent treatment of exterior building improvements and to improve the quality of life for surrounding low/moderate income residential neighborhoods by enhancing the appearance of frequently visited retail structures.
The funding for the program is through the Erie County Community Development Consortium from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and therefore program regulations apply. The business district serviced must be in an income eligible area as defined by HUD. The service area is relegated to one specific hamlet or village center at a time. When work in one area is complete, the program will then move on to another CDBG-eligible business district.
Please contact Paul D’Orlando at (716) 858-2194 for questions about this program.
Microenterprise Loan/Grant Funding
The Microenterprise Loan/Grant Fund provides a 60% low-interest loan / 40% grant to assist small businesses with start-up costs or the purchase of equipment. A microenterprise is a commercial business that has five or fewer full-time equivalent employees, one or more of which is the business owner. Business owners are subject to federal income eligibility requirements and the business must be located in one of the green-shaded Community Development Block Grant Communities as outlined below (effective April 2020):
Business Liaison & Technical Assistance
The Erie County Business Assistance Directory is a comprehensive compilation of business and government agencies, economic development service providers, transportation, planning and zoning information, and much more. The Directory is intended to assist businesspeople by providing a comprehensive guide to the local business and governmental landscape. The Directory will reduce the time needed to get information to start and operate a business here.
Along with inclusive alphabetical indexes for local agencies and individuals, the 2020 Business Assistance Directory has information on twenty-one potential areas of inquiry for interested business owners including utilities, workforce development resources, small business startup and technical assistance, engineering assistance and environmental resources, tourism, and more.
The Business Assistance Directory is current as of June 2020.
The Erie County Clerk's Office has additional resources for starting a business here.
Business Retention & Expansion Program
The Office of Economic Development and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) Business Development team actively reach out to small and medium-size businesses in Erie County to understand their needs and provide tangible public sector programs that can positively affect their bottom line. All federal, state, and local agencies are resource partners in the effort so that a single contact can uncover all relevant economic development programs. The outreach effort is aligned with the target industry strategies developed by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Buffalo Niagara Enterprise. A common database maintained by the ECIDA ensures that business needs are fulfilled, and provides trend information useful for setting economic development policy.
Broadband Internet Feasibility Study
The Analysis assesses existing infrastructure and examines potential methods of expanding broadband internet access to underserved markets within the County. This effort is initiative 4.10 “Pursue the Expansion of Broadband Internet Access” in the Initiatives for a Stronger Community report. ECC Technologies, Inc., a technology and communications consulting firm out of the Rochester area, conducted the feasibility study.
Last updated: November 17, 2020 2:34pm