Federal, state and local governments have joined forces to create a combination of business incentive programs designed to stimulate job creation and business development to boost the city's economy.
With unique programs such as the Keystone Opportunity Zone, the Small Business Loan Program, the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA) and the Micro Enterprise Partnership, starting up, relocating or expanding a business within the City of Chester is easier than ever.
Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ)
The City of Chester is the only municipality in Delaware County that has been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for designation of parts of the city as Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ) creating state and local tax exemption through the year 2013.
Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ)
The Delaware County KIZ is a state-designated area for the encouragement of innovative thinking, creativity and technology transfer through strong local partnerships and resources. The KIZ facilitates partnerships between community players, economic development organizations and education institutions which provide clients with local resources and services for development, innovation, and growth that will enable emerging companies to move forward with developing and commercializing their products and processes. Equally as important, the Delaware County KIZ is a catalyst to partner emerging tech-based companies with Widener University and Villanova University.
Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
The Widener University SBDC is one of a number of centers in Pennsylvania and is an accredited affiliate of the national network of Small Business Development Centers. Professional consultants work confidentially with entrepreneurs in Delaware County to help their businesses maintain a competitive edge. Consulting services are offered free of charge and information is always confidential.
Small Business Loan Program
The Chester Economic Development Authority (CEDA) administers the Chester Small Business Loan Program in an effort to assist small businesses in expanding their operations and creating economic opportunities for low to moderate-income persons. Eligible businesses can apply for up to 50% of their project costs, up to a maximum of $100,000, at an interest rate of 4% with terms that can range between one and fifteen years.
Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act (LERTA)
Under the LERTA program, a company interested in expanding or constructing a new facility can defer the increase in real estate taxes on the value of the construction over a period of ten years.
Chester Micro Enterprise Partnership
A non-profit organization that provides a full range of business support services, customized training sessions and financing tools to micro enterprises in the City of Chester.
Home Buying Programs
Low Income Home Buyer Assistance Program
The Homebuyer Assistance Program is designed to help those who have the financial capability to handle a mortgage and who are ready to accept the responsibilities of owning a home, but who have had difficulty in assembling the significant lump sum of cash that is necessary to cover the down payment and closing costs associated with buying a home.
Officer Next Door Program
If you are a law enforcement officer looking to purchase a home in Chester, you may want to consider the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Officer Next Door (OND) Program. OND allows law enforcement officers to buy FHA foreclosed homes at 50% of the list price. To qualify, you must provide proof of your employment and agree to live in the home for three years. Every week, HUD issues a list of FHA properties. You must act quickly. Offers must be submitted within five days of the property listing. If certain conditions are met, the OND program may be combined with Chester's Homebuyer Assistance Program and Moderate Income Homebuyer Assistance Program.
Teacher Next Door Program
If you are a State-certified teacher in the Chester-Upland School District, you may want to consider the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Teacher Next Door Program (TND). TND offers teachers a 50 percent discount on FHA foreclosed homes. While you must be a State-Certified teacher in the Chester-Upland School District, you can work for a private or charter school as long as the school is physically located within the Chester-Upland Revitalization Area. You must act quickly; offers must be submitted online within the 5-day TND period. If certain conditions are met, the TND may be combined with Chester's Homebuyer Assistance or Moderate Income Homebuyer Assistance programs.