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An Economic Development Group Celebrates 40 Years Of Fostering D.C. Region's Business And Tech Growth


From the growth of small businesses to the proliferation of tech startups, the economy of Prince George’s County has shown tremendous evolution in the past four decades.

The county and the diverse marketplace of the D.C. metro area continue to be a draw for technology companies. Also attracting business investment is the talent pipeline stemming from local academic institutions like the University of Maryland, College Park, Bowie State University and Prince George’s Community College. 

Prince George’s County Economic Development Corp., an organization dedicated to empowering and meeting the needs of the local business community, is celebrating 40 years of helping the county grow. 

PGCEDC has emerged as a strong and powerful voice for business interests in the county,” PGCEDC President and CEO David Iannucci said. “Since the inception of this EDC 40 years ago, it's developed a leading role in bringing some of the most important business wins in the county’s history.”

One victory that PGCEDC enabled through its economic development incentive fund was the expansion of the educational technology company 2U, which was recently named one of the Top 100 Public Companies by the Washington Business Journal. The expansion added 655 jobs to Prince George’s County. 

Iannucci added that the PGCEDC is focusing its energy on growing the county's tax base and creating jobs for residents. 

“Under EDC’s focus and the leadership of county officials, we’ve made significant progress creating thousands of new jobs and the percentage of commercial taxes relative to residential taxes has increased by almost 4% over the past decade, a huge milestone,” he said. 

PGCEDC is focused on other ways to grow the county's tax and employment bases.  

The group developed a strategic plan to provide economic and employment development to help diversify and guide the county’s growth over the next decade.

Iannucci said the EDC is making big steps toward expanding aerospace and life science opportunities in the county.

“We see continued growth in leading aerospace companies that serve NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, with county-built technologies operating on Mars and in Earth orbit,” he said. “Life science companies located in this county will help create cures for cancer. Cloud computing companies will lead the way in cybersecurity.”

PGCEDC held an event in June with the Prince George’s County Tech Council and the Maryland Tech Council to help more local companies become contractors with NASA. NASA-related jobs have contributed to economic growth in Maryland. 

“The NASA efforts in Maryland have an economic impact of nearly $8B, support nearly 37,000 jobs and generate an estimated $345M in tax revenues for state and local governments,” said Mayank Kapur, PGCEDC director of business development, IT and cybersecurity. “Within these totals, NASA’s climate change efforts helped generate a $1.3B economic impact in Maryland.” 

Kapur added that tech events like the NASA partnership further expand Maryland’s tech ecosystem, and are supported by local academic institutions that supply a pipeline of skilled workers.

Iannucci said Prince George’s County takes an “economic gardening” approach to help nurture and grow existing local businesses.

PGCEDC Small Business Manager Kimberlee Andrews said this approach fosters sustainable economic development by investing in the local community’s resources, talent and innovation, leading to long-term prosperity. This produces better results than the “economic hunting” approach that seeks to attract new businesses through incentives, she said. 

“There is a higher risk of those businesses leaving the area after their incentives expire,” she said. “By contrast, economic gardening builds on local strengths and fosters organic growth, making it a more sustainable and community-centered strategy.”

An example of how PGCEDC advocates for economic gardening is through its new program called Grow Prince George’s. The training program is designed to give BIPOC and women entrepreneurs an equal opportunity to succeed in their small and midsized business endeavors.

Andrews said that PGCEDC has produced several training programs that have impacted women in the BIPOC community. One is the Early Childcare Education Financial Resiliency program, providing technical training to early childcare educators.

Another program is focused on financial empowerment and offers special accounting support, balance sheet reviews and budgeting assistance that can help the BIPOC community manage its finances more effectively to create better economic stability.

Andrews added that these programs level the playing field for more DEI initiatives to help people of different backgrounds and languages.

“Inclusive education for bilingual programs and special needs can create an inclusive environment for children with diverse backgrounds,” she said. “People of color that provide these types of programs empower children, families and the community.” 

While economic growth and social impact are important aspects of PGCEDC’s mission, another important emphasis is on mental health and wellness. The group’s mental health support program has special tools and techniques to help residents manage stress and get on a daily routine for healthier lifestyle practices. 

“PGCEDC has produced enhanced technical training programs that enrich women in the BIPOC community and foster organic growth that focuses on the overall total development from career, personal growth and development, creating economic gardening,” Andrews said. 

Iannucci said PGCEDC will continue to play an active role in the county’s evolution as an economic hub.

“PGCEDC must continue to be the leading voice for the business community inside of the county government, ensuring that its voice is heard among the competing forces,” he said. “Prince George’s County’s highly educated, skilled and diverse workforce is a key asset that will draw new businesses to the county, allow existing businesses to expand and will lead it to future economic success for another 40 years.”

Join PGCEDC's 40th Anniversary Gala at the MGM National Harbor on Nov. 3 to celebrate and network with the stakeholders, deal-makers and business community on the state and local level.

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Prince George’s County Economic Development Corp. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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