Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

Tom Wolf, Governor
Dennis M. Davin, Secretary

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Keystone Innovation Zones (KIZs)

Currently Inactive

This program is currently inactive. The page is only up for archival purposes. Visit to search the list of all active programs.

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Download the guidelines for a complete understanding of the program and the requirements.

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Provide grant funds to community/university partnerships to generate job growth through tech transfer and entrepreneurship. Focused around campuses and property around college and universities.


Grant funds will be used for Zone coordination, strategic planning, personnel costs, hiring of consultants and administration of the zone. Companies located in tax zones, in operation less than 8 years and fall under the industry sector focus are eligible to apply for state tax credits


Maximum for the first year of $250,000. Declining funding in following years, operations required without state funds after three years. Projects and companies in the KIZ are given priority reviews under various DCED Programs.


Partnerships must include: institution of higher education, economic development organizations, private sector businesses, business support organizations, commercial lending institutions, venture capital, and foundations. Recommended partners include: local government organizations and workforce development organizations. Zone must be geographically identified with links to institutions of higher education.


Partnership must meet definition and required members; Zone must define industry sector focus; Zone must be geographically identified and should include an institution of higher education with research capabilities. Institution does not have to be located in zone boundaries, but must be formally linked to zone activities; 1:1 cash match required; Refer to Program Guidelines; Program ends July 2007


What are Keystone Innovation Zones?

Keystone Innovation Zones (KIZs) are designated zones that may be established in communities that host institutions of higher education – colleges, universities, and associate degree technical schools. These zones are designed to foster innovation and create entrepreneurial opportunities. They do this by gathering and aligning the combined resources of educational institutions, private businesses, business support organizations, commercial lending institutions, venture capital networks (including angel investors), and foundations (KIZ partners) In other words, where a partnership of these organizations is formed, a KIZ is possible.

How many Keystone Innovation Zones will there be?

While there is no limit to the number of KIZs that can be established, all KIZs must be established on or before July 1, 2007. Funding availability will also impact the number of KIZs that are established.

Why is Pennsylvania Creating the Keystone Innovation Zones?

This program creates a "knowledge neighborhood" in which educational institutions, economic developers, businesses, capital sources and community leaders can connect with one another quickly and effectively to provide a network of support and resources. It ensures that Pennsylvania's ideas are effectively developed into positive economic activity.

Why would my community want to establish a Keystone Innovation Zone?

KIZs will allow Pennsylvania to make far more effective use of one of its greatest assets – its colleges, universities and research institutions. They will help to support new entrepreneurial opportunities that lead to new companies and new jobs. They will create significant economic and entrepreneurial activity. Any community that is home to that activity and innovation will benefit both economically and socially.

How will these Keystone Innovation Zones be formed?

The zone partners, as mentioned above, must all be included in the planning and execution of the KIZ plan in order for this to work. The zone partners should establish the objectives, goals, benchmarks and the identification of resources to be leveraged.

What will be the focus of the Keystone Innovation Zones?

KIZs will focus on the four key areas that entrepreneurs, new companies and mature companies need to grow and expand - capital, facilities, technology innovation and workforce. KIZs will support technology innovation through the facilitation of technology transfer – the ability to leverage research and development occurring at the universities and research institutions – and the ability to commercialize the technologies, new products and processes evolving from R and D. The KIZs will align the Commonwealth's existing entrepreneurial and business development support programs and components of the stimulus package to ensure that existing companies and entrepreneurs have the support they need to build and grow their companies.

Who will administer the Keystone Innovation Zone program at
the state level?

The Department of Community and Economic Development, Technology Investment Office, will administer the program.

Are guidelines available for becoming a Keystone Innovation Zone?

Program Guidelines can be found on the DCED website.

When can my partnership apply for designation as a Keystone Innovation Zone?

Applications seeking KIZ designation must be received at DCED on or before July 1, 2007. Applications received after this date will not be accepted. Please coordinate with DCED's Technology Investment Office on the submission of an applicaiton for KIZ designation.

What is a Keystone Innovation Zone Coordinator?

This is a non-profit organization chosen by the zone partners and agreed to by DCED to administer the activities of the KIZ. Legislation prohibits an institution of higher education from being the KIZ Coordinator.

Is the Fiscal Agent the same as the Keystone Innovation Zone Coordinator?

The Fiscal Agent will manage the contracting requirements and act as the point of contact for fiscal matters within the Technology Investment Office. As with the KIZ Coordinator, DCED must approve the selection of the Fiscal Agent. The KIZ Coordinator may also serve as the Fiscal Agent.

What is the Keystone Innovation Zone Tax Credit?

As part of the program, $25 million per year in tax credits will be available for KIZ companies. These are companies less than 8 years old that are in an industry segment that is a priority of the zone partnership and located within the boundaries of the Zone. These credits will first become available during 2006; guidelines will be issued and posted on the DCED website once they are available.

Are Keystone Innovation Zones Similar to Keystone Opportunity Zones?

Although they have similar names, they are very different. Keystone Opportunity Zones strive to improve the economy of blighted areas through tax benefits. Companies that are established as a direct result of the formation of a KIZ are not likely to have tax liabilities to the Commonwealth because of the lack of profits that are characteristic of early stage companies.

Purpose of Funding

  • Research & Development

Additional Information

Contact Information

KIZ Tax Credot Awards

KIZ Tax Credit Sales

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The page was last modified: 01/22/2014