Susan Wild Attends Entrepreneurship Council of the Lehigh Valley Meeting

By Colin McEvoy on August 13, 2021

A screenshot of U.S. Rep. Susan Wild attending a virtual meeting via Zoom of the Entrepreneurship Council of the Lehigh Valley.

U.S. Rep Susan Wild attended an online gathering held by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), during which she receive updates from members of the region’s entrepreneurial community, and provided her own insights about both the regional and national economy.

Wild was the guest of a virtual meeting on Aug. 12 of the Entrepreneurship Council of the Lehigh Valley (ECLV), an LVEDC council which is committed to listening to the region’s entrepreneurial community and identifying its unmet needs.

“This kind of meeting is a really great opportunity to bring together businesses, higher education institutions, and non-profit organizations around a shared agenda of building a more prosperous, dynamic, and forward-looking Lehigh Valley,” Wild said. “It’s also a really great opportunity for me and members of my team to hear about what’s happening on these fronts.”

Wild discussed her work on various U.S. House committees. This includes the House Education and Labor Committee, where she has been concentrating on issues of infrastructure, education, and workforce, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she has been focused on trade-related issues.

Wild also serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, where she introduced the Regional Innovation Act of 2021, bipartisan legislation to bolster American technology leadership by creating new regional hubs of innovation. She said the Lehigh Valley would be a perfect place for such a hub.

“I believe one of the things really unique about the Lehigh Valley is there is a real sense of community across the Valley, a real sense that we’re all going to succeed or fail together, and I’m really proud of that,” she said. “It makes it wonderful to represent this district and know there’s this common bond and support.”

LVEDC officials provide Wild updates on some of the organization’s ongoing efforts, including the creation of a new strategic plan, the release of a new employer survey, LVEDC’s talent supply initiative, and the upcoming Lehigh Valley internship summit.

Karianne Gelinas, LVEDC Vice President of Business Development and Talent Supply, noted there has been continued interest in the Lehigh Valley for industrial development, manufacturing, and life sciences, as well as an increase in foreign direct investment.

Members of the Entrepreneurship Council of the Lehigh Valley also gave presentations about the initiatives from their own individual organizations. Dana Yurgosky, Business Development Liaison for Allentown, discussed the city’s newly-unveiled “All Inspiring” branding.

Erin Hudson, Marketing and Communications Specialist of the Allentown Economic Development Corporation, noted that the organization had received a $2,500 grant from PPL to help support minority business owners in the Lehigh Valley.

Asher Schiavone, Economic Development Coordinator with the city of Bethlehem, brought attention to the ECLV Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Map, which provides a breakdown of different resources for entrepreneurs throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Chris Hudock, Director of the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, said there is plenty of money available in the form of loans to help small business owners, and that his organization is actively seeking applicants. This sentiment was echoed by Hudson and Yurgosky.

“I know that this has been a really tough time for entrepreneurs and local small businesses,” Wild said. “I hope that you have all used our office as a resource for understanding how to obtain federal assistance. I am doing everything that I can within my power to get us on track toward a broad-based recovery.”

Wild also advocated for increased spending in registered apprenticeship programs, which she said provide a return of $28 for every $1 invested. The U.S. invests $195 in public funding per apprentice, she said compared to $1,300 per apprentice in Canada.

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