Facts About the Erie Innovation District

Erie Innovation District

Mission: Lead a place-based urban development 501c3 initiative designed to transform the Erie region into a safety and security innovation hub that will become a destination for secure cyber and connected services.

Means: Launched in 2017 by a $4M local grant and at the consultative advice of the Brookings Institution, EID brings together governmental leadership, regional universities, startups and established Fortune 500s in a singular downtown footprint, which lies in the heart of the city's historic business district and Qualified Opportunity Zone. This public/private partnership involves collaboration on business and technology investments across entities including the City of Erie, DellEMC, Erie Insurance, MCPc, Mercyhurst and Gannon Universities, Quantela, VelocityNet, and others.

Place: Collocated at 717 State Street with the city's largest Fortune 500 employer, EID jointly operates a state-of-the-art Innovation Center of over 10,000 sqft, as part of a larger 4-block radius footprint including both coworking spaces and incubation. The center's space offers both an open floor plan and break-out rooms for both small and large working events.

Transformational Strategy for the Erie Innovation District

Establish a digital infrastructure and technology workforce that reimagines a historic test and manufacturing city into a "living laboratory" with field-testing of new security products and connected services on a community scale. In essence, build, test, and distribute to the globe out of the marketplace city of the future.

To achieve this physical and economic transformation, EID has launched an integrated revitalization plan with two primary initiatives:

  1. "Secure Smart City™" Deploying smart products across an integrated fiber and power network and managing secure city services through a single command and control center dashboard beginning with such features as smart lighting, free public access Wi-Fi, and safety and security cameras in high-traffic areas.
  2. "Secure Erie Accelerator" Attracting, supporting and further equipping a series of startups through accelerator cohorts in partnership with Silicon Valley partner - Singularity University – in order to mentor and link promising companies with investors and partners within a multi-city, regional business ecosystem.

Secure Accelerator Fund Erie (SAFE)

The SAFE program will organize and manage a venture investment fund dedicated to developing a regional technology workforce of talent and intellectual property through startups linked to the Erie's secure smart city campaign. Specifically, late-stage startups will be attracted to a companion acceleration program for this investment fund, based on proven acceleration processes of Singularly University, and will graduate with pilots, additional rounds, and/or partnerships with both local and multinational corporate sponsors.

  • Method: The startups selected to participate in the relevant accelerator will receive $100,000 (or more) in seed funding through SAFE, using a standard KISS agreement. SAFE will attract and retain late-stage startups that demonstrate a minimum viable product along with prior revenue and/or angel investment. EID plans to support two (or more) cohorts/year.
  • Focus: Candidate companies will map their existing businesses to security and/or connected services and field test them within Erie's Qualified Opportunity Zone, squarely in the center of the secure smart city. Additionally, SAFE will run vertical cohorts for industrial topics such as: fintech, insurtech, medtech, and other regionally relevant industries.

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