PRESS RELEASE: University City Keystone Innovation Zone Expands to Old City, N3rd Street Startup Community

Eligible Startups will have Access Up to $100,000 in Sellable Tax Credits Annually

March 23, 2016 – Contact:  Ajeenah Amir ajeenah.amir@phila.gov

PHILADELPHIA– Today Mayor Jim Kenney and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, alongside The University City Keystone Innovation Zone (UC KIZ), announced that the UC KIZ has received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to expand its existing boundaries to include the growing tech community in Old City, including the area along N. 3rd Street, known as “N3rd Street.”

“The expansion of the UC KIZ is an incredibly important development for Philadelphia’s startup community,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.  “The inclusion of Old City will bolster the already exciting growth of tech companies we’ve seen on and around N3rd St. We’re committed to helping Philadelphia’s innovation community flourish throughout the City, and tools like KIZs are a big part of that equation.”

As a result of the expansion, a new swath of companies in Philadelphia’s growing innovation ecosystem will be able to access up to $100,000 annually in sellable tax credits. The DCED could award as much as $1.2 million in tax credits to newly eligible companies within the expanded zone in 2017. Many KIZ Tax Credit awardees invest those funds in new employees, while others purchase equipment to further develop and commercialize products and technologies.

“We need to nurture the talent pipeline that exists in Pennsylvania from higher education to business ownership by providing as many opportunities as possible to support their efforts,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin. “We are thrilled with the success of the KIZ program and are extremely excited with the increased opportunities available in Philadelphia through the expansion of the UC KIZ.”

Pennsylvania’s Keystone Innovation Zone Tax Credit is a fundamental component of the KIZ program. Up to $25 million in credits are available each year to eligible companies. Companies without tax liabilities can sell their tax credits themselves or secure a third-party, independent broker to sell the credits on their behalf.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are thriving all across Philadelphia – from University City and uCity Square all the way to N3rd Street,” says Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA, President & CEO of the University City Science Center, which serves as the fiscal agent of the UC KIZ. “Thanks to this expansion, the UC KIZ will be better equipped to accommodate and support the cluster of tech startups in Old City while helping to attract and retain even more early-stage companies in Philadelphia.”

Twenty-one startup companies in the UC KIZ received a collective $1.8 million in tax credits awarded by the DCED in 2015 as part of the KIZ Tax Credit Program. Over the last 10 years, 48 UC KIZ companies have benefited from almost $8 million in KIZ Tax Credits.

“Our recent KIZ Tax Credit award will help our company retain two software developers” says first-time applicant John Nosek, Founder and Vice President for Research and Product Innovation at Guiding Technologies. “Also, these tax credits meet requirements for matching National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR Phase IB funding, which enhances our chances of obtaining much larger NSF SBIR Phase II and Phase IIB funding.”

About the University City Keystone Innovation Zone

The University City Keystone Innovation Zone was established in 2004 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority as a Keystone Innovation Zone, a geographically designated zone designed to create a “knowledge neighborhood” that develops technology business communities by aligning talent and resources.  It is a partnership of BioAdvance, Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University, the University City Science Center, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and The Wistar Institute.. UC KIZ partners are committed to working together to ensure that life sciences and information technology opportunities are developed and supported to maximize the potential of university research, start-up companies and international companies seeking to locate in the region.  The Science Center serves as the administrative and fiscal agent of the UC KIZ.

For more information about the University City Keystone Innovation Zone, call (215) 966-6156 or visit https://www.sciencecenter.org/programs/university-city-keystone-innovation-zone.

Philadelphia is heading to SXSW2016!

Until now, Philadelphians have made their own ways through nine days of conferences and events at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. But this year is different. A broad public/private coalition of local companies and organizations from enterprise to nonprofit have joined together to create SXSWPhilly.

You can participate without heading to Austin. Join us for the SXSW Sendoff party here in Philly on March 3rd at 6PM at Coda, 1712 Walnut St.

Registration is FREE, with food and cash bar.

Philly anchors Independence Blue Cross and Comcast NBCUniversal have already stepped up to sponsor, as well as local companies and organizations: Guru, Zivtech, Chariot Solutions, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennovation Works, and Ben Franklin Technology Partners Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Showcasing the excitement of living and working in Philly at SXSW is a compelling proposition for the region’s businesses. It’s a great opportunity to recruit talent and create an emotional tie to our hometown. The StartupPHL booth will be surrounded by Philly startups: Cloudmine, RJ Metrics, Eventuosity, Zivtech, Chariot Solutions and Picwell. Attendees will enjoy Philadelphia-branded events, such as a concert of local talent produced by REC Philly and a VIP party.

SXSWPhilly organizers are always seeking additional funding and support from area businesses; it’s not too late to get involved. There’s an active SXSWPhilly Google Group with over 70 members, and a number of committees ready to helping make this initial effort a success. If you are already planning to go to SXSW, let us know!

“The efforts of the group really mirror the overall personality of the city,” said Yuval Yarden, who’s leading the SXSWPhilly initiative and is also program director at Philly Startup Leaders. “Startups and established companies are working to mutually support each other. For example, funding from Independence Blue Cross helps secure a place in Austin for Philly biotech startups.”

Philly is unmatched when it comes to our vibrant startup culture, our internationally renowned artists, filmmakers and musicians. A super cool city like Philadelphia deserves celebrity status at SXSW. A heaping helping of love from Philly makes a much greater impact than a performance here, and a booth there.

SXSW 2016 takes place in Austin, Texas, from March 11-20, 2016. There are multiple tracks, but the primary track for tech and startups is SXSW Interactive, from March 11-15. During that time, visitors can participate in the Trade Show (March 13-16), as well as the Job Market and Health/MedTech expo (both March 12-13). The film conference and festival runs from March 11-19, and the SXSW music conference is March 15-20.

Sue Spolan is Director of Marketing at Zivtech, a Philadelphia startup that specializes in open source app and website development.