Through economic development efforts, the city is working to revitalize local industry as well as attract and retain top talent. That's why Lehigh supports the business owners and entrepreneurial endeavors that bring commercial vitality to the region.
The GoldPLUS program allows students, faculty and staff members to use their Lehigh identification card as a debit card to make purchases at off-campus merchants—supporting local businesses and adding to the vibrancy of our community. Today, more than 5,000 students, faculty and staff members are active GoldPLUS account holders and have generated more than $800,000 in GoldPLUS revenue for local businesses.
Located at the intersection of Morton and New Streets in South Side Bethlehem, Farrington Square is a great place for students and city residents to gather for live outdoor music, shopping and a bite to eat. The businesses in Farrington Square are part of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. Farrington Square, Lehigh's gateway to the South Side, houses the Barnes and Noble Lehigh University Bookstore, The Cup, Johnny's Bagels and Deli, The Mail Center and the Bethlehem Farmers' Market.
Countless business ideas are hatched by undergraduates and graduate students while attending Lehigh, in particular through The Dexter F. Baker Center for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation. Lehigh and Bethlehem are thrilled when those business owners decide to stick around, establish their business in our community and contribute to the local economy. Businesses range from the globally distributed EcoTech Marine aquarium equipment company in the South Side to Viddler, an interactive "online" video platform located right here in Bethlehem. Together these businesses employ 50+ people and add to the commercial vitality of the region.
Lehigh University has partnered with the Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation to support the The Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) established in 2004. The KIZ has had a profound impact on innovation and entrepreneurship in Bethlehem by offering critical financial resources and assistance to early-stage startup companies. To date, the KIZ has invested over $7 million dollars in 90 companies since the program’s inception. Many of those companies are started by Lehigh University students.
Students and faculty involved in the South Side Initiative are improving access to fresh fruits and vegetables by providing local residents and members of the Lehigh community with convenient, inexpensive plots of land for gardening. One example is the Esperanza Garden along the Greenway, which is a student-driven project planned by the Community Leaders Initiative for Permaculture to celebrate the importance of fresh, local food.
business owners starting or growing a business who are provided free consulting services by Lehigh's Small Business Development Center each year
number of Lehigh students receiving internship grants to support KIZ between 2011-2015