Erie Chamber Blog
Wednesday September 30, 2020 

Submitted by Cathy Szymanski, Szymanski Consulting

Microsoft Word is the go-to word processor for many businesses across all sectors. This popular tool is constantly updated with new features that make it even more useful and valuable for business use. Here are a few features that you should take advantage of to boost your productivity and efficiency at work.

Work on Word Online

Don’t have the Word app on your computer, tablet, or smartphone? Go to, sign in with your Microsoft account, and open Word Online, the web version of Word.

Collaborate on files

You and your colleagues can now edit the same Word document simultaneously in real-time. Simply save the document to your Microsoft OneDrive account, click Share, and send the link to the file to your coworkers. People with the link can access and edit the document using the Word desktop app or Word Online.

Keep editorial control

Use the Track Changes function of Word to monitor all edits made to your document. To turn on Track Changes, click on the Review tab then select Track Changes. When reviewing a colleague’s edits, click Accept or Reject as you see fit.

Do quick research using Smart Lookup

The Smart Lookup feature helps you do online research while you’re working on a document — no need to open another tab and type in a query. Simply highlight and right-click the word or phrase you want to look up, and select Smart Lookup from the menu that appears. Word uses Microsoft’s Bing search engine to conduct a search on the selected word or phrase and displays the results in a pane that appears on the right side of your screen.

Format your document

The Styles gallery contains predefined formatting options for text. You can also add your own styles or those you use frequently, to the gallery. By saving your own style preferences, you can apply them anytime without having to manually format everything. Just follow these steps:

  1. Select the text you want to format as a new style (e.g., a heading or a certain phrase).
  2. Specify the formatting you want on the mini toolbar that appears. For instance, click Bold and Red if you want the text to appear as such.
  3. Click the More arrow in the lower-right corner of the Styles gallery. Select Create a Style. This will open the Create New Style from the Formatting dialog box.
  4. Give the style a name and click OK. Your new style will appear in the Styles gallery, ready for you to use anytime.

Look for and insert images faster

With Word, there’s no need to open your browser to look for images for your document. Just place the cursor in the area where you want to insert the photo, click the Insert tab and select Online pictures (type “clip art” in the search box if that’s what you need), select an image, then click Insert.

Edit a PDF file

Word’s PDF editing function allows you to make quick changes to PDF files without having to download and use a PDF editing app or software. But before you can edit a PDF file in Word, you have to convert it to a file format that Word can display. Follow these steps:

  1. Click FileOpen > Browse.
  2. Choose the PDF file you want to edit, then click Open. Click OK to make a copy of the PDF file and convert its contents into a format that can be opened in Word. (Note: The original PDF will be preserved.)
  3. Make edits to the copy of the PDF file.
  4. When you’re done, click FileSave as > PDF.

Microsoft is constantly rolling out nifty new features for its popular word processor. To stay updated on the latest Word features and functionalities, reach out to our Microsoft experts now.


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  • productivity
  • microsoft word
  • word tips
  • word
Monday September 28, 2020 

Chamber announces the next round of investment into the Secure Erie Accelerator Program. Secure Erie Accelerator provides high-growth-potential companies access to a seven-week program designed to spark growth and diversify Erie's economy.

The Erie Regional Chamber announced today the Fall 2020 Cohort of the Secure Erie Accelerator Program. Six companies were selected to participate in this year’s cohort, including four local companies. The companies include Arlene, Glass, Leverage4Data, M3 Unmanned SystemsSafeFlightand WerkBerry. 
Accelerator programs are designed to be short-term programs that can spark immense growth for a start-up still in the early stages of business,” said Jordan Fuller, director of the Secure Erie Accelerator at the Erie Regional Chamber. “It provides cash infusion to the business, which can mean the difference between overcoming a hurdle and accelerating revenue potential versus closing up shop. Beyond the seven-week program and the investment, the ERCGP partners with each of the companies to develop the relationship and foster growth through post accelerator work and the SEA Alumni Network”  
Over the next six weeks, participating companies will undergo a rigorous analysis of their business and receive custom training and mentorship designed to connect the business with local resources. Accelerators often attract businesses to new communities and can result in job growth. Previous accelerator participates made extensive connections within Erie’s business network spurring additional investment, development, and partnership opportunities. Each company will also present during Erie Homecoming 2020: Erie’s Economic Evolution  

"Accelerator programs drive innovation in new and existing industries, often exposing niche opportunities for high-growth companies to scale quickly and dramatically increase its potential impact on a community,” said Jake Rouch, vice president of economic development at the Erie Regional Chamber. “Programs like this are integral to the success of Erie Forward and are a fantastic way for our region to attract interest from outside companies as well as create a more dynamic and diversified economy.”  
The Secure Erie Accelerator works with early-stage businesses that have an innovative concept, high potential to scale, and a dedicated team or founder that can execute. Those interested in learning more about the progress of this year’s Secure Erie Accelerator cohort can sign up here. We'll be featuring a company each week throughout the duration of the program and invite you to follow along and learn about exciting work happening here in Erie. 

A New-York-based startup founded by Erie natives that connects people and brands in immersive environments.

An Erie-based innovative startup that is accelerating the pace of IoT implementation with a platform software solution that simplifies the embedded engineering process.

An Erie-based startup that provides small manufacturing companies with web-based applications to ensure that new parts are made successfully and meet customer expectations.

M3 Unmanned Systems
An Erie-based startup that brings together the latest in IoT, machine learning, and cloud computing into an integrated solution that allows the agriculture community to deploy a multitude of sensors across their fields to allow for real-time tracking of critical data.

A Nevada-based startup near Incline Village that brings together software and hardware to provide identification, validation, response, investigation, and reporting for drone misuse, laser illuminations, and other low altitude airspace violations. 

An Erie-based startup that provides an all-in-one, cloud-based, job advertising platform for small and medium employers, which reaches both active and passively seeking candidates. Werkbery is also a Ben Franklin Technology Partners portfolio company. 










Wednesday July 22, 2020 

(And You Don't Even Have to Leave Your Couch)

We can all agree that 2020 is not what any of us hoped (or expected) it would be.

But—despite an ongoing pandemic—there have been some bright spots. While Erie County must overcome the same health and economic challenges every county in America currently faces, there are still positive things happening in our regional economy. In the 12 months since the Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership (ERCGP) hosted Erie Homecoming 2019, we have experienced quite a few highlights: 

  • Last December, the ERCGP announced the $5.2M “Erie Forward” initiative. The regional economic development strategy is focused on five pillars: existing industry support and entrepreneurship, workforce development and talent attraction, new business attraction and investment, quality of place, and regional competitiveness and collaboration. The initiative is projected to have an annual regional economic impact of $465 million by 2024.
  • In February the Flagship Opportunity Zone (a division of ERCGP) won the Grand Prize for the nation’s “Top Urban Opportunity Zone” by Forbes at a ceremony held at The Sorensen Impact Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Boston-based Arctaris Impact Investors announced they will invest $40M in Erie’s Opportunity Zones, which included both funding for real estate projects and investment capital for Erie’s high potential startups and existing businesses.
  • Local institutions like Erie Insurance, the Erie Community Foundation, the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, and so many others continued to provide unwavering leadership and a steady hand throughout the series of emergencies our region has faced since March—which is no surprise, given the level of leadership they have always provided to our community.
  • The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approved the creation of a new Community college for the first time since 1994 – right here in Erie, Pennsylvania.
  • People like you—people who continue to believe in Erie’s future—who didn’t give up the ship, no matter how unsteady the waters seem. You, for the record, are the inspiration that motivates ERCGP and the region’s other businesses and community-based organizations to come to work every day to find paths out of this darkness.

The collection of achievements, hard work, investment, and leadership have helped Erie start to shed the shadow of our hard-luck past and increasingly become of an example of economic development strategies that attract actual investment and lead to real change.

Despite our current challenges, we need to do everything we can to keep Erie’s Economic Evolution on track.

This October 29th and 30th the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership will host “Erie Homecoming 2020: Erie’s Economic Evolution,” a two-day virtual event that will help ensure Erie County keeps the region’s bright horizon in mind, even as we face immediate challenges.

The event itself will engage attendees in thought-provoking presentations on Erie's unprecedented market momentum, along with virtual tours of exciting investment opportunities in the market, including real estate development projects and investment-grade start-up and operating businesses. Attendees will also discover a broad variety of ways to invest in the Erie regional economic evolution, ranging from community leadership and mentorship to direct investment in Erie’s high-potential companies. 

Every person who attends this virtual event will learn more about how they can invest time, talent, or financial resources (or—even better—all three) in our region. Erie Homecoming 2020 is an opportunity for investors with resources as large as Arctaris Impact Investors to learn more about projects and startups in Erie—but it is also an opportunity for everyday people who love this region to learn more about how they can support Erie’s economic evolution. 

For Erie Insurance, supporting Erie’s evolution might look like serving as the Presenting Sponsor of this event—along with their continued support of several organizations and initiatives that move Erie forward. 

If you left home to get your degree, supporting Erie’s Economic Evolution may look like returning to your hometown and using the knowledge you gained to make it better.

(Kind of like Batman.) 

If you retired to Scottsdale, moving Erie Forward might look like investing in one of the many startups that are now headquartered in the community you still love. 

(Kind of like an older, more distinguished-looking Batman.) 

If you are an executive at one of the region’s growing companies, moving Erie Forward might look like mentoring a future Erie leader. 

(Kind of like Wonder Woman, training her tribe of fierce future warriors.)

Bringing Erie this far has required a heroic effort by more people than we can count, much less thank. Continuing that momentum will require new heroes to roll up their sleeves and join us in doing the work. Grab your shirt cuffs, start rolling, and learn more about all the ways you can invest in your Erie on October 29th and 30th at Erie Homecoming 2020: Erie’s Economic Evolution!


To subscribe to our newsletter for up-to-date information about Erie Homecoming 2020 please visit

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  • erie homecoming
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Monday July 13, 2020 

Submitted by Matt Flowers, Ethos Copywriting

You already know that you need high-quality products and services to stay in business, but long-term success demands more than just great products and services. You need current and potential customers to keep your brand top of mind. 

From real estate to retail to restaurants, just about every industry benefits from word of mouth marketing (WOMM). Through WOMM, satisfied customers can become quasi brand ambassadors as they talk positively about your business.

In our increasingly digital society, word of mouth has expanded beyond in-person communication. People might post on their social accounts to broadly share their satisfaction with your work or product, or they might “like” someone else’s post to affirm that they also had a positive experience with your business. Alternatively, they might engage on a more direct, one-to-one level with their friends, family, and colleagues through direct messages. Or, they might even leave a glowing review on your Google My Business page. 

Whether in-person or online, WOMM is a powerful tool to have in the tool chest. McKinsey reports that word of mouth is the primary driver behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. To help you start generating a buzz around your business, we’ve provided four tips to help you get people talking and boost your bottom line. 

1. Capitalize on Micro-Moments

A micro-moment is when a person uses the internet to take action at the precise moment he or she has a need. There are four basic kinds of micro-moments based on a consumer’s intent:

  1. I-want-to-know moments (e.g., How do I keep my puppy from chewing my furniture?)
  2. I-want-to-go moments (e.g., Where is the closest coffee shop?)
  3. I want-to-do moments (e.g., Where can I get my car’s oil changed quickly?)
  4. I-want-to-buy moments (e.g., “What is the best vacuum cleaner?”)

Capitalizing on micro-moments, especially in a mobile-first world, gets people thinking and talking about your business, products, services, or information as a possible solution to their needs. According to Think with Google, 75% of smartphone owners first search online before making a purchase.    

Use Google’s suite of webmaster tools to help you discover potential micro-moments:

  • Google Search Console will help you determine the exact queries someone used to find your site.
  • Google Analytics will help you see what people do once they’re on your site.
  • Google Ads allows you to advertise with Google, affording businesses the opportunity to appear at the top of Google’s search results for selected keywords.

A Think with Google report found that 76% of people who search on their smartphones for a product or service visit a related business within a day, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase. To ensure you’re taking up more real estate in Google search results, be sure you have your Google My Business set up.

2. Find Out Who Your Best Customers Are

Let your most frequent customers know that you appreciate them. Also, let them know how much it helps when they tell their friends and family about your products and services. The majority of people want to support local businesses, but they’re not always sure how to. So, don’t be afraid to lay it out for them.

Tell them how valuable a positive review is on Google My Business. Create a user-friendly loyalty and/or referral program to encourage customers to tell their friends and family about their great interaction with your company.

Finally, consider writing customers a personalized email (or even hand-written note) to tell them how much you value their business. The power of a thank you note should never be underestimated.

 3. Craft Content Worth Sharing

Be the go-to resource for your customers and people looking for advice on the products and services you provide. Create blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, and other compelling content to position your brand as an authority in the field and build trust with your audience. Update your website with fresh material provides a wide array of benefits, including:

  • Increased Search Authority
  • Increased Conversion Opportunities
  • Increased Search Traffic
  • Improved Brand Loyalty and Trust

4. Take a Stand

In the eyes of the consumer, businesses have a social responsibility to take a stand. Cone Communications found that "Communicating strong corporate social responsibility consistently reaps reputational and bottom-line benefits year-over-year." Cone also found that 87% of people said that they'd purchase a product if the company advocated for an issue they cared about and share positive opinions about companies doing good.

In today's tumultuous economic, political, and social climate, people are increasingly looking at businesses to be a force for positive change, especially on issues such as:

  • Climate change
  • Domestic job growth
  • Economic development
  • Gender & racial equality
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Poverty and hunger

When people align with a brand, the brand's content can become part of their identity. In a study published by the New York Times, 68% of people who share content reported that they did so to give other people a better sense of who they are and what they care about.

Learning More

If you’re interested in learning more about how content can help you increase your WOMM, reach out to Ethos Copywriting. Remember to support the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership and share the exceptional content on its blog!

  • marketing
  • word of mouth
  • business assistance
  • womm
Monday July 6, 2020 

The first half of 2020 feels like the beginning of a horror movie so scary you have to leave long before the credits roll—but beneath its Freddy Krueger exterior, the troubled beginning of a brand-new decade has also revealed an opportunity to build a new and better world.   

Our future will not be defined by modifications to the world we knew before spring 2020. Our future will be defined by our ability to build something entirely different. It’s creating a more resilient healthcare system in a globalized world. It’s truly diving into racial equity issues so that huge portions of our cities, region, and nation feel engaged and integrated – not expendable. It’s rebuilding an economic development system that empowers people to exert measured control over business and their future.   

Erie is embracing this moment with hope for the future, deeply rooted in its legacy of perseverance and grit. Earlier on, Erie emerged as a leader in Opportunity Zones with a portfolio guided by principles to ensure socially impactful projects are at the forefront of the community’s revitalization.   

Erie’s civic leaders, business visionaries, and economic developers see the events of the last few months as yet another opportunity for this community on the rise. Building an entirely new world in an era of pandemics and economic downturns will require the builders of that world to work their magic on a shoestring budget. Communities face the simultaneous need to implement systemic change and the reality that there aren’t as many resources to do that as there were just a few months ago. Throwing money at a problem can be an effective strategy—when you have money to throw. It’s much harder when every dollar counts. The innovators and entrepreneurs who will build our new world need to stretch their dollars as far as they will go.  

And a dollar can go a lot further in Erie that it can almost anywhere else.  

If you want to build a company that will show the world how equity and inclusion can be a competitive advantage, Erie welcomes you with a network of supporters and investors ready to help launch your vision. If you want to roll up your sleeves and get involved in a school district striving to create more equitable outcomes for all students, Erie Public Schools is waiting for you. If you want to come to a community where you can immediately make a difference—where you truly can be the change you wish to see—Erie is a community like no other.   

In an age where the appeal of densely packed urban areas may decline because of pandemic concerns, Erie can become the model of a community where dreamers and builders can create a local economy that works for everyone. The list of people that have moved here, made their mark, and made Erie better is growing by the day.  

Erie is done being defined by our past. Erie will be defined by our collective future.   

We will define ourselves by the value we can provide to people who want to channel the anger, frustration, and fear we all feel into something positive.   

Building a better world is never easy—but it has to start somewhere, and (frankly) it is much easier to do that when you aren’t spending all of your resources on expensive office locations and million-dollar mortgages. The promise of Erie’s next economy has always focused on low costs and high value. Our civic and business leaders have spent the past several years making the case that it is easier to start a business in Erie than it is to start a business on the coasts.   

The events of the last several months have made that argument more than just a marketing pitch.   

Our world has changed.We need leaders, and those leaders need a high-value, low-cost community.   

And there is no better high-value, low-cost community—and no better place to reimagine a better world—than Erie, PA.  

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