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HARRISBURG, PA-Gov. Ed Rendell has provided an aggregate of $3.4 million in state funding to 11 Keystone Innovation Zones and has added four new KIZs, taking the number in the commonwealth to 25. Like Keystone Opportunity Zones, which provide tax credits and other benefits to lure traditional business to the state, KIZs provide similar incentives to draw entrepreneurial companies in life sciences, defense, information technology and related businesses to university and college communities, either in existing space or for new construction on surrounding land.

The newly designated KIZs are in Allegheny, Chester, Greene and Indiana counties. Each is designed to obtain real estate for projects already targeted by institutions of higher learning in their respective communities.

With $200,000 in funding, the Indiana County Office of Planning and Development is working with the John P. Murtha Institute of Homeland Security at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania to target the national defense industry. The university conducts work in domestic preparedness and weapons of mass destruction, emergency response and cyber-security.

The Greene County Industrial Development Corp. has obtained $200,000 to launch a KIZ at the Center for Research and Economic Development at Waynesburg College targeted to businesses that work in environmental technology and homeland security. A $237,300 grant to the Hill House Economic Development Corp. will expand Pittsburgh KIZ operations surrounding Duquesne, Point Park and Carlow universities and Community College of Allegheny.

Penn State University-Great Valley in Chester County has obtained $225,000 as lead educational partner with Drexel and Kutztown universities in targeting life science and information technology industries. The additional funding was granted to seven existing KIZs throughout the state.KIZs are designed “to place new business ideas in real estate space where they align with educational institutions in order to launch new companies,” says a spokesperson at the governor’s office. In addition to tax credits, the companies can apply for priority low-interest financing from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.

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