Local Business Assistance
Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) is PA’s network of business assistance partners designed to help companies start, grow and prosper.
Our local and regional PREP partners have the experience and know-how to assist individuals who have an idea and need help with the basics of starting a new venture. PREP also meets the demands of existing companies that seek assistance in all aspects of successful business development and growth.
Advice and Resources
The PREP network consists of hundreds of trained and experienced experts who can offer assistance and resources. PREP’s one-on-one counseling, specialized workshops, online training and financial incentives make it one of the most coordinated and respected networks in the nation designed specifically to meet the needs of our job creators — the men and women who start and grow our businesses.
Regional Industry Outreach
To complement our PREP network, our specialized Engage! program is a statewide, industry-driven initiative featuring a robust team of professionals who connect with, proactively listen to, and assist businesses across the state. Engage! prioritizes meaningful dialogue with businesses to deliver planning, technical, and next-step resources. Working together, the Engage! team creates personalized, effective action plans that businesses can act on to take advantage of industry opportunities while addressing and resolving any challenges.
PREP helps to answer the following questions and more:
- How do I start a new business?
- How do I write a business plan?
- Where can I get necessary financing?
- Where is the best place to locate my business?
- How can I expand into new markets?
- Who can help me re-organize my shop floor?
- Should I invest in new equipment?
- Can I get training for my employees?
Local Assistance Contacts
Click on a PREP region below to view the regional contact information and region overviews.
PREP Region Information
The economic development partners in the Northwest PREP region, which include eight county economic development corporations, an incubator association, two industrial resource centers, three small business development centers, a local development district, a PennTAP office, one Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP) office and two Workforce Investment Boards, have a long history of collaboration and allow easy access to services for the small businesses that dominate and drive the region’s economy. Eighty four percent of businesses in the area have fewer than 10 employees, and 94 percent have fewer than 100 employees. The partners are working more closely than ever through an effective information- and referral-sharing process, as well as other collaborative initiatives for relocating businesses.
Counties Represented: Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Warren
The communities, employers and workforce of the North Central region collaborate to streamline state, federal and regional services — including community, economic and workforce development as well as transportation planning. Manufacturing has always been a strong employer in the region, and it maintains the largest percentage of employment. The biggest growth potential for the region lies in the area of oil and gas exploration. With the discovery and exploration of the Marcellus and Utica Shale, many opportunities are being presented to the region’s landowners, businesses and workforce.
Counties Represented: Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter
The Northern Tier region covers more than 4,000 square miles in rural Pennsylvania, consisting of Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga and Wyoming counties along the border of New York State. The region continues to exemplify a diverse economy with both challenges and opportunities. While still one of the most important sectors, manufacturing units have remained consistent, while health care employment has continued to increase and is now the largest and highest-paying employer in the region.
Counties Represented: Tioga, Bradford, Susquehanna, Sullivan, Wyoming
The Central region is located within a 360-mile radius of all major population centers in the Northeastern United States, a radius that encompasses about 50 percent of the nation’s population. The area also has an abundance of land potentially available for development, seven institutions of higher education, a large amount of recoverable anthracite coal, and significant deposits of other mineral resources. Additionally, portions of the SEDA-COG region are home to the Marcellus and Utica Shale, and forest resources are extensive and increasing, providing timber for an expanding wood industry as well as a natural setting that favors the increasingly important tourism and recreation sectors of the economy.
Counties Represented: Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union
The seven-county Northeast region counts a low cost of doing business as well as proximity to New York City, New England, and other major markets, and a location near the world’s second-largest natural gas resource among its strengths. Downtown development is occurring in Scranton, Hazleton, Pittston, Wilkes-Barre and Carbondale, where millions of dollars in private capital have been invested, resulting in thousands of new and planned jobs. Recently, priority has been given to entrepreneurial projects to help new-to-market businesses and to establish knowledge-based, technology-led economic development.
Counties Represented: Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill, Wayne
The valley is the fastest-growing and third-most populated region in Pennsylvania. Its infrastructure base allows for continued growth and development. Tremendous natural and recreational resources make for a high quality of life, and a broad and ever-expanding commercial and industrial base offers a diversity of high-quality employment opportunities. The region was recognized by business publication Site Selection magazine in March 2014 as the second-best performing region of its size for economic development in the entire United States.
Counties Represented: Lehigh, Northampton
Though not as large geographically as other regions of the state, Southeast Pennsylvania is the most compact region in terms of businesses, employment and population, and it has a mature and diverse commercial and industrial base. The region includes urban, suburban and rural communities, as well as businesses in industrial and highly advanced manufacturing, professional services, technology and life sciences, energy, agriculture, higher education, and medicine. Assets like access to major markets and an extensive transportation infrastructure enable the region to serve as a large and substantial contributor to the economic prosperity of the commonwealth.
Counties Represented: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia
- Health Care & Social Assistance
- Retail Trade
- Accommodations & Food Services
- Transportation & Warehousing
South Central Pennsylvania is the third-largest region in the state by both population and number of businesses, consisting of eight counties along Pennsylvania’s southern border with Maryland. Anchored by Lancaster, York, Gettysburg, Hershey and Harrisburg, the region boasts a population of nearly 2 million people. Its strengths are similar to those of Pennsylvania as a whole: a location convenient to markets and a quality workforce. Strategically located on a network of interstate highways, rail lines with intermodal facilities, and a growing air freight industry — with convenient passenger flights at Harrisburg International Airport — the region serves as the transportation crossroads of the Mid-Atlantic.
Counties Represented: Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, York
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Agriculture & Food Processing
- Business and Financial Services
- Education & Health Care
Although the Southern Alleghenies is a relatively rural region, it benefits from a proximity to the major business and government hubs of Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Washington, D.C. Two interstate highways intersect the region, and it has been gradually transforming from one reliant on heavy manufacturing and mining to one more diversified in agriculture, health care, tourism, warehousing distribution, retail, defense and professional and technical services, as well as a variety of industrial companies.
Counties Represented: Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Somerset
Southwestern Pennsylvania lies in the center of the nation’s business engine and has nearly half of the United States buying power located within 500 miles. Labor costs remain below the national average, and instances of reshoring are becoming more commonplace. Business remains strong in the greater Pittsburgh area, and the rest of the world has taken notice of the area’s high quality of life. More than 83 percent of firms in the Pittsburgh region are categorized as small or medium-sized, and are responsible for more than 17 percent of regional employment.
Counties Represented: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Washington, Westmoreland
- Education and Health Services
- Professional and Business Services