Small businesses thriving in Erie

Stories about jobs moving out dominate the news all too often, but small businesses are actually skyrocketing across the region.  Businesses are popping up and expanding here, in Erie, playing a key role in keeping the region thriving.  

Some say it's the future for this region.  "I know how challenging it can be, but I also recognize that's where the growth for our region is."  Tom Kennedy owns the Renaissance Center.  He says 15 to 20 new businesses have started in the past couple of years, and the Renaissance Center is just a small part of the movement.  He believes small businesses are the future of North Western Pennsylvania.

"They say you don't stay static," says Kennedy.  "You're either declining or you're growing. You can't get comfortable and we can't get down. We've had some set backs in the community, but boy, the energy is just unbelievable."

Most recently, General Electric announced plans to end locomotive production in Erie and the loss of 575 jobs that are under negotiations, but small business owners who are expanding in Erie say manufacturing is still being encouraged.

Nathan Wheeler of weCreate Website Design says, "I think the manufacturing companies that are still here, we work with a lot of them, they're very stable companies. They've made it through a lot of the hard times. I think that we have a great manufacturing base, I think that we also have the opportunity to add new sectors and new types of businesses in the area."

Wheeler encouraging teamwork saying, "We got to be in the game as a region. We have to encourage small business, we got to encourage risk taking. All new businesses in the country are created by companies with 500 or fewer employees. We certainly fit the niche for that . It's a beautiful region and a great place to encourage people to come and start their business."

These small business founders say they're not in competition with each other, but with the rest of the world.  That's why they're encouraging everyone to apply for the free office space contest and take the risk.  

You never know what will be the next big thing in Erie.


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