What is a Keystone Innovation Zone?

A Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) is a designated zone that may be established in communities that host institutions of higher education - colleges, universities, junior colleges and technical schools. These zones are designed to foster innovation and create entrepreneurial opportunities. They do this by gathering and aligning the combined resources of educational institutions, private businesses, business support organizations, commercial lending institutions, venture capital networks (including angel investors) and foundations. Visit NewPA.com for more information.
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What are the benefits of building my facility in a KIZ?

Incubator, multi-tenant facility, research & development, workforce education and design center projects are eligible for special priority financing from PIDA, up to 75% of the project cost (traditionally only up to 40%), at a low interest rate. KIZ companies and developers are also able to take advantage of the State's land acquisition and site preparation programs such as the proposed Business in Our Sites program, to ensure space needs are met.
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Are tax credits available?

Yes. Targeted training and education on opportunities provided by the Research and Development Tax Credit (to $25 million) are available for 2007-2008. Companies without a tax liability will have the option to sell their tax credits. In addition, the Keystone Innovation Zone Tax Credit will be offered beginning in the 2006 tax year, making $25 million per year in tax credits available for KIZ companies that are less than eight years old. Businesses can also sell their tax credits if they prefer.
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What are the Pittsburgh Central KIZ boundaries?

The geographic boundaries of the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone include commercially zoned areas in the Hill District, Uptown, and Downtown neighborhoods of the City of Pittsburgh. The zone extends across the Allegheny River to include commercial areas on the North Shore surrounding CCAC and Riverside Center for Innovation. The zone includes an area south of the Duquesne campus surrounding the River Walk Corporate Center. Detailed street by street information is available from the PCKIZ Coordinator.


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What are the target KIZ industries?

The target industries are:

  • Information Technology
  • Bio-medical / Nanotechnology
  • Advanced Materials

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Do KIZ companies have priority for state-supported assistance?

Yes. The Commonwealth ensures that state-supported companies and economic development organizations such as Small Business Development Centers, Ben Franklin Technology Partners and the Life Sciences Greenhouse are active partners and prioritize their programs and enterprise support services to aid in the success of KIZ companies.

Also, KIZ companies have priority consideration for investments from state-funded seed capital or early stage funds. These include the Health Venture Investment Account (Tobacco Settlement), the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority and other proposed venture capital programs.
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Is additional assistance available for small businesses and start-ups?

A number of regional economic development organizations such as Innovation Works, Idea Foundry, and the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse all have programs to provide additional support for technology companies. The PCKIZ has its own loan program to provide loans to companies for capital purchases. Also, KIZ partnerships will provide companies with information regarding access to the best space in the zone.
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Is special funding for equipment available for companies located in a KIZ?

Yes. The Commonwealth may provide funding for eligible equipment to be used in design centers and workforce and education training programs.
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How does a developer benefit from working with a KIZ company?

Developers working with KIZs will receive priority review of applications for financing from the proposed Real Estate and Acquisition Development Fund.
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How does being in a KIZ help me train qualified employees?

The Commonwealth assists in funding curricula development and related equipment to train workers needed for the new technology being developed and applied by KIZ companies or design centers.

Also, KIZ companies will have preferential status for Customized Job Training funds, online training offered through the Guaranteed Free Training program, or other forms of workforce development and assistance.
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Does the KIZ help train students to enter the workforce?

Yes. Secondary institutions and institutions of higher education can receive funding to develop, implement or enhance 2+2+2 workforce cycle programs or innovative education programs with internship components, aimed at training young people within a community for the jobs of tomorrow.
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Does the KIZ foster internship programs?

Yes. The Commonwealth will provide seed funding to launch the coordination of internship programs in KIZs. Any efforts must be in coordination with existing programs at the educational institution, private industry or the community.
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What about budding entrepreneurs?

The PCKIZ is fully supported by regional Small Business Development Centers including the Duquesne University SBDC.
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What about budding entrepreneurs?

Yes. Where appropriate the KIZ programs could access funding and services contained in the Main Street and Elm Street Program to upgrade the business and retail corridor of the Zone.
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What is a Keystone Innovation Zone Grant?

The Keystone Innovation Zone grants were created as an incentive to universities that are involved in a KIZ partnership. For the benefit of entrepreneurs, $10 million in grants will be available over the next three years to create or enhance technology transfer programs at the universities.
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Who are the primary partners and supporters of the Pittsburgh Central KIZ?

The Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone partners include:

  • Allegheny Conference
  • Allegheny County Department of Economic Development
  • Carlow University
  • Community College of Allegheny County
  • Duquesne University
  • Heinz Endowments
  • Hill House Economic Development Corporation
  • Idea Foundry, Inc.
  • Innovation Works
  • Institute for Transfusion Medicine
  • PNC Bank
  • Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse
  • Point Park University
  • Richard King Mellon Foundation
  • UPMC Health Plan
  • Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh

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What does the KIZ Coordinator do?

The KIZ coordinator is an organization chosen by a Keystone Innovation Zone Partnership and agreed to by DCED to administer the activities of the KIZ, providing office, staff support and employment of a head coordinator.
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