City to bankroll internships, workshops to boost Philly tech scene

March 20th, 2014 | WHYY Newsworks by Zack Seward

The city of Philadelphia is bankrolling tech internships and workshops, using a series of grants to local firms.

“What we wanted to do was really look carefully at the integration of students and universities with the startup community,” said Alan Greenberger, Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for economic development.

The five grants total $124,000. It’s the second round of grants to flow from the mayor’s $500,000 Startup PHL Call for Ideas fund.

City officials say the program is meant to both boost local startups and retain young tech talent with the lure of paid gigs. Greenberger says the renewed focus on college-age workers drew from experience with a similar program funded by the first round of Startup PHL grants.

Two outside observers say this influx of funding is likely to be a worthwhile investment…

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Full day in Philly for Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian

December 2, 2013 | Newsworks by Zach Seward

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is on an epic book tour: five months, 150 stops. On Monday, Philadelphia hosted three of those stops: a tech breakfast with local executives, a pizza-side chat at First Round Capital and an early evening event at UPenn. The man knows how to hustle.

“I want to just help these startups be great,” Ohanian said at the day’s second stop. “A conversation with a successful founder isn’t necessarily going to change your life, it isn’t necessarily going to give you the light bulb that makes your company 10X or whatever it is, but hopefully it’s helpful. And that’s the kind of atmosphere I expect at a place like this.”

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Nutter welcomes Brand.com to new HQ in Center City Philadelphia

September 5, 2013 | WHYY Newsworks by Zack Seward

Want to look good online? That’s what Brand.com promises. On Thursday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter did his best to return the favor, welcoming the company to its new headquarters in Center City. Nutter took the opportunity to highlight his administration’s efforts to build up the Philly tech scene. “We are focused each and every day on companies like Brand.com and many, many others,” Nutter said, “to be in Philadelphia, to encourage their location or expansion and to do everything we can to improve the economy here in this city.”

That includes certain tax exemptions for startups as well as initiatives like StartUp PHL. Brand.com moved into the city from West Chester, Pa., in January, spending months deciding where to locate its corporate headquarters for keeps.

Nutter said the firm’s move is another sign that companies are cluing in to Philadelphia’s growing pool of tech talent. “There’s a tremendous amount of talent right here in the city,” Nutter said.

Brand.com president Michael Zammuto says that was a big reason why his company chose the Curtis Center at 6th and Walnut. The company is on a veritable hiring spree, he says, looking to add 100 workers over the next 12 months, including 30-40 in the next month or so.

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Nutter admininstration using paid tech internships in battle against brain drain

August 8 | Newsworks by Zach Seward

The mayor of Philadelphia treated 10 college kids to lunch this week.

The occasion was a city-sponsored internship program that’s part of Mayor Michael Nutter’s StartUp PHL initiative.

Here’s why: Three years ago Campus Philly did a big survey [PDF].

The nonprofit tapped hundreds of local students and recent alumni and found that one thing worked really well at fighting brain drain: If you had an off-campus, paid internship in the area, you were much more likely to stick around…

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Investors angle for ‘next big thing’ at DreamIt Health demo day

July 24, 2013 | Newsworks by Zach Seward

Ten startups, four months of mentorship and seven minutes to make their case.

Those were the numbers behind demo day at DreamIt Health—the region’s first-ever accelerator program for new companies trying to improve the health care system via personal technology.

Novel ideas:  It was a standing-room-only crowd of 300-plus at WXPN’s World Cafe Live in University City. About half of those in attendance came with checkbooks in tow, mostly East Coast investors watching the stage in hopes of spotting the next big thing…

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With ‘boot camp,’ TechGirlz seeks to build future startup leaders

July 16, 2013 | Newsworks By Zack Seward

Just 3 percent of tech startups are launched by women. That stat motivates TechGirlz, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that aims to upend current statistics by getting a really early start. That’s why 19 girls, ages 11 to 15, spent last week in a tech entrepreneurship “boot camp.” “At the end of the day, what we are trying to show them is the possibilities of what they can do,” said TechGirlz founder Tracey Welson-Rossman.

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Philadelphia Welcomes Entrepreneurs

Philadelphia’s own NextFab, a high-tech workshop and prototyping center, will host a casting call for ABC’s Shark Tank reality show on May 11th. This is the only East Coast casting call, and the expectation is that more than 500 folks from the region will travel to Philadelphia for the opportunity to spend two minutes with producers.

Local media has taken notice, and Next Fab is prepared. Participants can find up to the minute information on transportation and visitor information, and special pre-event practice sessions, by subscribing to the NextFab Shark Tank mailing list and by following NextFab on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow the conversation via #SharkTankPHL on Twitter and Instagram.

Visiting entrepreneurs take note: Philadelphia is a growing hub for entrepreneurs. With changes to the City’s tax code, zones that offer tax credits and savings, and a growing investment community, Philadelphia has a lot to offer growing companies. 

Jump Start Philly is designed to attract new businesses and entrepreneurs that create jobs to Philadelphia by exempting them from paying the Business Income and Receipts Tax during the first two years of operations. Additionally, fees will be waived for eligible new businesses for a variety of licenses and registrations, including the Commercial Activity License, formerly the Business Privilege License.

Philadelphia Job Creation Tax CreditTo qualify for the credit, a business must demonstrate the ability to create at least 25 new full-time jobs, or increase full-time workforce by at least 20% within the required five-year period. The business must also demonstrate financial stability, project viability and the intention to maintain operations within the City for a period of 5 years from the date the tax credit certificate is submitted to the Philadelphia Department of Revenue.

Keystone Innovation Zones (KIZ) are specially designated areas throughout Pennsylvania that receive special tax treatment. Philadelphia’s KIZ is administered by the University City Science Center KIZ program. Although often Life Sciences focused, KIZ benefits have been expanded to include Information Technology companies. You can also learn more about KIZs here.

Tech companies located in Philadelphia can also apply to the Startup PHL Seed Fund, a $6 million investment fund that helps tech startups grow.

 

StartUp PHL looks to boost Philly tech scene

October 26, 2012 | WHYY NewsWorks by Zack Seward

“Mayor Michael Nutter launched a new initiative Friday to support Philadelphia tech startups. On the roof deck of the Independence Visitor Center, Nutter kicked off the proceedings with a nod to the past. ‘Philly is a perfect place for founders, people looking to start businesses and make things,’ said Nutter.

“The city’s entrepreneurs drive the economy, the mayor said. And city government needs to help out — especially with a growing sense of momentum around Philly tech startups…”

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