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$2.5M in tax credits awarded to businesses in Pittsburgh's Keystone Innovation Zones

Jamie Martines
| Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, 11:03 a.m.
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, talks with Tribune-Review editors and reporters in 2015.
Andrew Russell | Trib Total Media
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, talks with Tribune-Review editors and reporters in 2015.

Businesses in Pittsburgh's Keystone Innovation Zones will receive more than $2.5 million in tax credits, state Sen. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, said Friday.

More than $1 million in tax credits went to 18 businesses in the Greater Oakland zone and about $1.5 million was awarded to 25 businesses in the Pittsburgh Central zone.

Recipients include Gecko Robotics Inc. in Point Breeze, mapping software company Mine Vision Systems Inc. in East Liberty, restaurant reservation app NoWait in Oakland, education technology company Birdbrain Technologies LLC in Uptown and Downtown ticketing software company Showclix Inc.

The Keystone Innovation Zone program, established in 2004, is intended to promote economic growth by supporting entrepreneurial projects. The state's 29 innovation zones are clustered around institutions of higher education in an effort to retain the students who are educated there.

Allegheny County is home to two Keystone Innovation Zones, Pittsburgh Central and Greater Oakland. Together, they serve industries such as information technology, robotics, nanotech and advanced materials. Nearby educational institutions include Community College of Allegheny County, Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Point Park University and the University of Pittsburgh.

The Westmoreland County Keystone Innovation Zone, based in Greensburg, supports industries such as advanced materials and diversified manufacturing, life sciences, biomedical and information technology. Nearby educational institutions include Saint Vincent College, Seton Hill University, Penn State University New Kensington, University of Pittsburgh in Greensburg and Westmoreland Community College.

"We need to retain the bright, young college students who are educated in Pennsylvania, and one way to do this is by boosting the businesses that will hire them," Costa said in a statement. "Keystone Innovation Zones support burgeoning businesses on the cutting edges of their fields. The tax credits they get from the state allow them to hire our local college graduates and cover their business expenses."

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at, 724-850-2867 or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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