The Emerging Philadelphia Startup Scene

Posted October 23, 2017 by Manu Aggarwal

Startups are thriving in Philadelphia. Several factors have aligned for Philadelphia to become a launching pad for startups. From corporate support to pitch events throughout the year, a growing infrastructure and investment from the city itself, startups in Philadelphia are feeling the love.

Pitch Events in Philadelphia

Pitch events are prevalent in the Philadelphia startup scene and take place throughout most of the year. Philadelphia Media Network hosted Stellar Startups, a pitch competition that highlighted new businesses in the region’s growing entrepreneurial economy along with a panel discussion on Philadelphia’s strength and weaknesses as an emerging business incubator.

Startup Pitch Day is another popular pitch competition hosted by Philadelphia Startup Leaders and PNC Bank that connects startups with bank executives. The Innovative Idea pitch competition has been going on for over 20 years. Philadelphia’s Veterans Network also hosts a yearly competition structured around the pitch show Shark Tank. If you have a Philadelphia startup, there are a plethora of opportunities to get your business in front of the right audience.

Startup Support in Philadelphia

If corporate support for startups wasn’t enough to convince you, you’ll be happy to know that the city itself has your back. While some locales focus on offering tax breaks to attract entrepreneurs, they’re typically hoping to snag Fortune 500 companies that are building new headquarters. This isn’t the case in Philadelphia.

Back in 2012, Philadelphia’s mayor at the time, Mayor Michael Nutter, decided to focus improving small businesses within the Philadelphia community. This led to the creation of StartupPHL. This program is focused on making budding entrepreneurs as successful as possible. In the first four years after its inception, the platform helped launch nearly 1,000 businesses. It even goes as far as providing money to organizations that help startups flourish.

Funding has flowed into Philadelphia, which ranked 8th among major cities in terms of companies that received venture capital in 2015. There is also a growing network of coworking spaces, incubators, and accelerators to provide the critical infrastructure necessary to fuel the growth of Philly’s startup scene.

Philadelphia Business Taxes

Philadelphia business taxes are a big draw to the city. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find that Philly has some of the highest business tax rates in the country. What’s the deal? This is just another example of why people shouldn’t believe everything they read online.
While Philadelphia does have some of the highest business taxes in America, it also has the most tax reduction provisions and programs of any of the largest 30 US cities. The Keystone Opportunity Initiative incentive, 10-year tax abatements on new business properties and a variety of other incentives can help minimize any tax burden your startup may one day face.

Philadelphia Coworking Spaces

For the first time in 25 years, the job market in Philadelphia has outpaced New York City’s. This growth includes people who work alone, such as freelancers, business travelers and startup launchers. According to the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, since 2002, 25,000 tech jobs have been added, which accounts for about 25% of all job growth in that time period. Of course, many of these people don’t need traditional office space. And even if they could, it’s not always a good investment.

Enter the shared office space in Philadelphia. Coworking allows the flexibility, capital savings, and collaboration that startups needs to grow. If you’re a solopreneur, coworking can also help you get rid of that feeling of loneliness or the drive to binge watch a show you’ve seen 37 times on Netflix already.

Those are just a few of the obvious benefits, and we’ve put together a handy infographic on the benefits of joining a coworking and shared office space.  Harvard Business Review even pointed out that many people using coworking spaces will help each other out when asked. With the cadre of skills on hand, you might even find a partner who has the secret weapon to making your startup a success!

Startups in Philadelphia Thrive

Whether it’s the city helping businesses get off the ground, ample funding opportunities, or the abundance of economical Philadelphia coworking spaces, accelerators, and incubators, the city of Philadelphia has created a thriving startup scene. Starting a company isn’t the easiest thing in the world — in case you haven’t quite noticed that yet. And while you’re not likely to get an assist from the “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” cast, rest assured that it really is sunny for startups in the City of Brotherly Love.


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