ERIE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Erie Wins Grand Prize for Opportunity Zones Challenge from Forbes Magazine

Erie Chamber of Commerce issued the following announcement on Feb. 5.

The Erie Regional Chamber is proud to announce that The Flagship Opportunity Zone was recognized as the grand prize winner for the Forbes OZ Catalyst Challenge at the Winter Innovation Summit held at the Sorenson Impact Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The award recognized the Flagship Opportunity Zone as a market leader for capitalizing on the federal legislation, citing Erie as the first city in the country to launch an investment prospectus. It also noted the success of the Erie Regional Chamber’s annual investor conference – Erie Homecoming – where $60M of downtown investment was announced. The EDDC was also recognized for their efforts in fostering meaningful partnerships that have continued cultivating successful opportunities for the community.

Forbes, one of the nation’s premier business publications, recently listed the top 20 Opportunity Zone Catalysts, noting the importance of the bipartisan legislation in creating economic opportunity in communities across the country. Erie was honored to be included on that list, which included Baltimore, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and the State of Colorado.

“We are incredibly proud of the work being done by the Flagship Opportunity Zone and the EDDC,” said James Grunke, President and CEO of the Erie Regional Chamber. “This award is a testament to what can happen when the private and public sectors and our community believe its best days are ahead. This is a major achievement for this entire region.”

“Opportunity Zones provide incredible possibilities for U. S. cities,” said Mayor Joe Schember from the City of Erie. “We are excited to be taking the lead on investing private dollars for social impact within the city. As Mayor of Erie, my top priority is to eliminate racism and prejudice so that every individual is accepted and valued for the unique talents that each possesses. Our community is committed to carrying this out through the Flagship Opportunity Zone Guiding Principles.”

The award is the first of its kind, and Forbes is the first major publication to recognize the work being done across the nation to attract investment capital to talented, underserved communities.

“Economic revitalization is not a zero-sum game and creating the Erie of tomorrow cannot be done without great partners like the ones we have in the EDDC, the Schember Administration, and so many other community institutions,” said Grunke. “In the coming year, the Erie Regional Chamber will continue leading our community’s economic development effort, and aggressively seek investment in the Flagship Opportunity Zone and the entire Erie region.”


The Erie Regional Chamber serves as the lead economic development agency in the Erie region. The organization also serves the voice of the business community, providing awareness, advocacy, and access to people, information, and education. Visit to learn more.

The Flagship Opportunity Zone Development Company was created under the umbrella of the Erie Regional Chamber to cultivate a robust portfolio, promote viable and socially impactful projects, and unlock local capital to transform Erie. Visit for more information.

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