TechBelt Initiative receives $130,000 for tri-state development

PITTSBURGH –  The TechBelt Initiative, comprised of technology stakeholders in northeastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and northern West Virginia, recently recieved $100,000 from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, $25,000 from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, and $5,000 from the Raymond John Wean Foundation.

The support will enable TechBelt to organize collaborative economic development and identify new investment opportunities.

TechBelt members represent economic-development organizations, foundations, researchers, and chambers of commerce in the tri-state area. Since its formation in 2008, TechBelt has expanded from life sciences to include energy and advanced manufacturing. TechBelt has been working to create new industry and university partnerships, responding to competitive grant opportunities and connecting cross-state resources to attract new investment.

The goal of TechBelt is to establish the region as a global center for public and private investment, research, and manufacturing. The Initiative has brought more than $74 million in funding and research to the area. Of particular note is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), which brought $30 million in federal investment, as well as $39 million in additional matching dollars to the Youngstown-Warren area. NAMII provides a method for TechBelt to reinvigorate manufacturing in the region.

“In 2013 we plan to use this foundation funding to leverage the momentum being generated by NAMII, “ said Eric Planey, vice president, International Business Attraction for the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, and co-chairman of the TechBelt Initiative. ‘”We have identified advanced manufacturing as a sector that will have a lasting, positive economic development impact on the region.”

The energy sector is another focus of TechBelt. In addition, 2013 will focus on combining the respective strengths of southwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio in biomaterials and medical devices.

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