With technology fueling our digital economy, new funding options available, and top talent demanding alternative work cultures and office structures, the U.S. startup scene is becoming increasingly more mature and diverse. With that said, many startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs now face the obstacle of oversaturated markets in longstanding startup destinations. The solution? Philadelphia.
The City of Brotherly Love should be on any entrepreneur's radar seeking top talent, affordable office space, easy access to East Coast destinations and a vibrant community. Philly is the 6th largest city in the country, home to 18 Fortune 500 business ,and recently named a Top 20 Emerging Startup Hub by Technet.
This all factored into my decision to move my public relations and digital marketing startup Flackable to Philadelphia in 2017. This economically rising city had so much to offer and was doing amazing things for its business community--I wanted to be a part of it.
If you still need convincing, here are just a few of the features Philly can offer startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Philadelphia is home to a whopping 100 degree-granting institutions, including my alma matter Temple University. In years past, you would see students come to the city, earn a degree, and then flock to New York, California, Chicago and the suburbs to start their careers. Now, more and more of these educated young people are making Philadelphia their home.
The sheer volume of talent in this city is ideal for startups looking for hungry workers with fresh perspectives. Building the right team to help your business grow is critical for success, and the battle for talent can be brutal in an oversaturated market. The beauty of Philadelphia is that there is a plethora of potential employees trained by some of the best educational institutions in the nation.
Offices and Incubators
Philadelphia features a growing network of coworking spaces, incubators and accelerators to provide the critical infrastructure necessary to support the growth of Philly's startup scene. Coworking spaces allow for the flexibility, savings and collaboration that startups need to grow.
Spaces such as WeWork, NextFab, Walnut Street Labs, and my own office digs; 1776 are just some of the coworking spaces available. Another plus? The affordability to rent spaces in the city. The average rent for an office is just $28 per square foot.
The Philadelphia Media Network runs Stellar Startups, a pitch competition highlighting new business in the region's growing entrepreneurial economy, along with a panel discussion on Philadelphia's strength and weaknesses as an emerging business incubator. There is also Startup Pitch Day hosted by Philadelphia Startup Leaders and PNC Bank that connects startups with bank executives. Additionally, funding has flowed into Philadelphia, which ranked 8th among major cities in terms of companies that received venture capital in 2015.
There's something special about Philadelphia. It's a big city--the second largest on the East Coast--but it maintains a community vibe. And the city is constantly building and enhancing its infrastructure while maintaining the integrity of its historic roots.
Philadelphia is a short train ride to New York and D.C., providing easy access to those business communities, major media hubs, and popular event destinations. Its geographic location and infrastructure has also earned the city a string of major events over the past several years, including a visit from Pope Francis, the NFL draft, and Jay-Z's Made in America festival.
The accessibility to top talent, affordable office space, and rich culture have created a flourishing environment for startups. The city is an affordable creative hub for American ingenuity. As an entrepreneur in this competitive startup environment, do not sleep on what Philadelphia can offer you.