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News Notices & Publications: New program offers businesses competitive advantage


New program offers businesses competitive advantage

Announcement Type


Date Published


Regional Spotlight


Short Description



Businesses can propel to the next level of success with the PA Engage! program, a new statewide business retention and expansion program that offers companies advantages and connections.


In a 10-county central Pennsylvania region, a network of publicly funded partners empowers businesses to stay in PA, grow and excel. With the Engage! program, the partners identify and invest in businesses that may be unaware of the host of local resources available to them.


By meeting with executives, the partners identify companies’ opportunities and challenges in order to connect them with the best local resources and offer solutions, often resulting in a personalized business action plan.


Not only can companies access resources, but they can have a business advocate, said Betsy Lockwood, SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) grants manager and coordinator of the Central Region Partners for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) program.


“What’s unique about this opportunity is that companies can have a local, available business advocate assigned specifically to that business that is focused on their needs, and can continue to help make those connections,” Lockwood said. “We are in your corner, and we have a vast amount of resources available. No matter the challenges your business faces, our diverse network of local, experienced service providers can help guide you to a solution.”


These partners are part of the Central PREP network that SEDA-COG coordinates, which has over 20 business service providers in the region. The Covation Center, a Williamsport-based organization that empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners, also has partnered on this initiative.


The Covation Center will build on these efforts and aims to invite up to 60 businesses to participate in a structured, curriculum-based program that will feature roundtable discussions and individualized sessions to help businesses achieve their goals. This innovative partnership approach combines the traditional strengths of the PREP business support services with the benefits of facilitated peer-learning supported by mentoring and coaching.


The state created the PREP program several years ago to encourage coordination of economic development efforts and enhance customer service to the business community. The result is a comprehensive and efficient economic development delivery system serving central Pennsylvania.


The local business service providers have a history of successfully partnering with businesses to help them reach their goals. From manufacturing, restaurants, gyms, orchards, farms, and more, no matter the business, the local business service providers can boost businesses to the next level.


This Engage! project was financed by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Department of Community and Economic Development.


To start the partnership and tap into the local powerhouse of expertise, contact SEDA-COG’s Betsy Lockwood at 570-524-4491 or


Your Local Engage! Team:

  • Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC): One-on-one consulting, training, resources for pre-venture, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.
  • Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC): Retain quality workforce, workforce development.
  • Central Region PA CareerLink: Job seeker and employer services.
  • Centre County Industrial Development Corporation (CCIDC): Supports existing Centre County businesses and new business attraction. Offers loan programs, financing assistance, and space at two business incubators.
  • Covation Center: Provides individualized business coaching and training, workshops, and provides a co-working space.
  • DRIVE: Collaborates with area agencies to promote business, tourism, and growth.
  • Innovative Manufacturers’ Center (IMC): Helps central Pennsylvania manufacturers tap into the most effective regional, state, and national resources in order to innovate, grow, and prosper.
  • Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC): Partners with manufacturers to improve profitability and growth by helping manufacturers respond to changing markets, new technology and the competitive pressures of today’s global economy.
  • PennTAP: Technical assistance with information technologies, energy, environment, innovation.
  • SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG): Partners with banks to invest in businesses to help them start and grow; helps companies dive into international markets; taps businesses into the nation’s largest market: sales to the government.

Expires on Website



PA Engage! program PREP business retention expansion loans procurement export financing start grow expand


Created at 7/19/2018 10:58 AM by Liz Regan
Last modified at 7/19/2018 10:58 AM by Liz Regan