A better path to Pennsylvania is being built for companies looking to relocate and expand.

Just days into his administration, Governor Josh Shapiro quickly signed two transformative executive orders, demonstrating that Pennsylvania will do what is needed to drive economic growth and ensure the state is a friendly place to do business.

The first order established the Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity and the Economic Development Strategy Group under the direction of Ben Kirshner, founder and former Chairman and CEO of Tinuiti. The second aims to streamline the Commonwealth’s licensing, permitting, and certification processes. The order establishes a date-certain for each application. If applicants don’t receive a response by that date, the agency responsible will refund their application fees.

The actions are designed to knit together existing Commonwealth of Pennsylvania agencies more comprehensively to improve the economic climate, attract companies to relocate or expand, and make Pennsylvania attractive to talent.

“We are making it clear that Pennsylvania is open for business and that we are going to be leaders in economic growth, job creation, and innovation,” Governor Shapiro said in a statement. “My administration will connect our business, our workforce, our world-class universities and research institutions, and the public sector to spur economic development.

“By helping businesses that are already here, encouraging new ones to move to Pennsylvania, and investing in our workforce, we can create real opportunity and build an economy that works for everyone,” he said.

These moves will bolster efforts by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia to attract and support companies in key areas such as the life sciences, financial services, technology, and advanced manufacturing. In the past few years, the region has attracted a range of companies, such as Idorsia, Roquette, GLG, Achilles Therapeutics, and Investment Control Systems.

“The Chamber commends Governor Shapiro for taking these swift and decisive steps so early in his administration to reinforce that the Commonwealth is open-for-business. We stand ready to partner with the administration to attract and expand businesses and talent in Pennsylvania.” said Claire Greenwood, Executive Director, CEO Council for Growth, and Senior Vice President of Economic Competitiveness at the Chamber.

The Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity is charged with cutting through red tape and making it easier for businesses looking to relocate or expand. The Office will develop an overall economic growth and development strategy while coordinating with other Commonwealth agencies in areas such as expediting permit and business reviews and approval of key incentive programs.

The Economic Development Strategy Group will be chaired by the Governor, consisting of the Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer and the Secretaries of Labor & Industry, Community and Economic Development, Transportation, Agriculture, Education, and Environmental Protection. The group will directly advise the Governor on economic development processes to focus on innovation and attract and retain employers and create good-paying jobs.

Governor Shapiro said it was essential to put a business leader in the position. Kirshner was a popular choice given his entrepreneurial experience and business acumen.  

“As a CEO, I know what it takes to entice a business to relocate and remain in the Commonwealth,” Kirshner said. “I am aware of the issues that need immediate consideration in order to attract companies and jobs to Pennsylvania.”

Under the executive order, all state agencies, boards, and commissions will compile a catalog of the licenses, certificates, and permits they issue, including the statutory authority governing the length of time in which they must process applications and the fees charged by each agency.

Governor Shapiro’s office will then analyze and establish application processing times for all occupational permits and licenses. The aim is to reduce the application and permit timeline for companies looking to move to the Commonwealth or expand here.

For more information about locating or expanding in the region, visit the Select Greater Philadelphia website.