• Business Growth Black & White

    INNOVATION

     

    DESTINATION

    Greater Philadelphia is a leader in bringing innovative ideas and technologies to the marketplace.

     

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

 

Globalization has increasingly made the generation of new ideas the cornerstone of a thriving, sustainable economy. Goods can be manufactured at a low cost nearly any place in the world, making innovation the primary means of creating value and growth in higher cost economies. In fact, economists calculate that nearly 50% of annual GDP growth in the US is attributed to increases in innovation. In the coming decades, business growth and wealth creation in Greater Philadelphia and other US regions will be driven by talent and innovation that build on regional cluster strengths and competitive advantages. Regions that capitalize on these cluster strengths to accelerate the transfer of ideas and research into viable products and services will be well positioned to capture the significant productivity gains and wealth generation associated with innovation
 

HOW DO WE CURRENTLY FARE?

Starting & Growing Businesses
New Businesses
Venture Capital
Entrepreneurship
Small Business Employment
Innovation
Federal R&D Funding
Technology Transfer
Selling to the World
Exports
International Visitors
New Businesses
While the number of new establishments has increased in six out of 11 counties in our region since 2011, the region’s growth rate was the slowest among the 10 largest U.S. metros.
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PERCENT CHANGE IN NUMBER OF BUSINESSES BY COUNTY (2011-2015)

WORLD CLASS STRATEGIES

support cluster-focused talent development

 

The availability of experienced and skilled workers is increasingly being recognized as a key – if not the most important – driver of industry growth. Businesses need a strong pool of available talent to fuel their enterprise, and the growth of Greater Philadelphia’s leading and emerging clusters will depend on workforce quality. In recent years, cluster efforts have shifted from a primary focus on real-estate development and location-based business incentives and have placed growing emphasis on industry-oriented education and training efforts in the interest of building a strong talent pipeline for targeted industry clusters.

 

Greater Philadelphia’s large workforce represents both an asset and a challenge to regional growth and opportunity. The breadth and depth of talent in the region has been a key driver of the “eds and meds” clusters and is often cited as an asset by companies in the health care and higher education sectors. At the same time, the region is home to a large number of less-skilled workers and people trained for work in now-declining industries, many of whom face persistent challenges in finding employment. Opportunity exists to address this region-wide skills mismatch while supporting regional clusters by aligning workforce training programs with the employment needs of businesses in targeted industries. 

 

Promising Pathways

 

ESTABLISHING A COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE NETWORK TO PROVIDE SHARED DATA AND ANALYSIS OF REGIONAL LABOR MARKET NEEDS AND OPPORTUNITIES

 

More effectively weaving together existing sources of data and intelligence about the regional economy – both with respect to industry trends as well as labor supply and demand - will help enhance efforts focused on regional business growth as well as education and talent development. Despite considerable analytical capacity across area universities and organizations, detailed, systematic, and recurring analysis is not currently conducted across a range of clusters to guide and assist with strategic economic development investments. A competitive intelligence network will enable regional leaders to look beyond the curve and understand competitive advantages, opportunities, and impediments to growth within our region’s current leading industries and emerging clusters.

 

TARGETING K-12, POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION, AND PUBLIC WORKFORCE INVESTMENTS TO BUILD TALENT SUPPLY FOR LEADING REGIONAL CLUSTERS

 

Our region has several nationally renowned career-connected K-12 education programs as well as strong community colleges that directly serve the needs of regional clusters. An opportunity exists to build on these best practices and spread them across the region to further strengthen the talent pool powering key regional industries while reducing the skills mismatch and insufficient talent supply for specific clusters and occupations. While the significant investments made in the region’s public workforce training system have not always been very demand-driven, this has been changing with the growth of industry partnerships that bring together employers within specific sectors to better understand and shape workforce investments. The recent reorganization of the City of Philadelphia’s public workforce system is a promising model for increasing its usage among regional employers.

 

SUPPORTING IMMIGRATION POLICIES THAT INCREASE RETENTION OF FOREIGN-BORN GRADUATES FROM AREA UNIVERSITIES

 

With high-skilled workers representing a growing percentage of immigrants to the US, those regions that succeed in attracting these workers will enrich their talent base, strengthen their international connections, and position themselves for economic growth. Policies and pathways that enable a greater number of foreign-born students who attend area colleges and universities to stay and work after graduation would have a significant impact on regional business growth.

CONNECTING INDUSTRY AND UNIVERSITIES TO DRIVE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER
 

Greater Philadelphia has some of the best research in the world in technology and life sciences. But these remarkable assets are not translating into the levels of business and wealth creation seen in other major R&D centers. Successfully commercializing research ideas and technologies can be such a complex and risky process that each point along the way becomes all the more important. This requires strong and effective connections between researchers and technology transfer offices (TTOs), between TTOs and entrepreneurs, and between entrepreneurs and sources of risk capital. Strengthening these commercialization linkages will increase Greater Philadelphia’s productivity as a center of innovation, and improved alignment of research assets can enhance the region’s ability to compete for big research prizes and generate substantial spillover benefits for the regional economy. Aligned regional leadership across university and research institution presidents, deans, TTOs, and economic development leaders around a shared action and advocacy agenda could significantly advance commercialization outcomes in the region.

 

Promising Pathways

 

SUPPORTING UNIVERSITY COLLABORATIVES THAT FOCUS ON TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH AND COMMERCIALIZATION

 

Building off of the cutting-edge applied research taking place at area institutions, several promising applied research partnerships and collaborative commercialization efforts have emerged, including the Energy Efficiency Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), the Nanotechnology Institute, and the Health Innovation Partnership. Cross-institutional collaborations such as the Energy Commercialization Institute and the Pennsylvania Green Growth Partnership have managed to attract substantial funding while developing specialized programs and networks to facilitate technology transfer within targeted fields. These efforts will require sustained support to build on their early successes, and additional research and commercialization collaboratives that bridge the gap between basic and translational research have the potential to bring significant new research resources and entrepreneurial energy to the region. An opportunity exists to bring together university and college deans to compete for additional large (i.e., $50 million and up) cross-institutional research prizes.

 

FACILITATING THE LICENSING OF PROMISING TECHNOLOGIES BY TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER OFFICES

 

Changing the culture or incentives within academic institutions for both researchers and technology transfer offices to encourage and accelerate commercialization has the potential to significantly increase the flow of promising ideas and technologies to local entrepreneurs and industry. Research institutions that operate to maximize technology transfer have a number of attributes in common – they support and sometimes directly incentivize faculty to pursue commercialization of viable discoveries and inventions, they have adequately resourced TTOs run by staff with strong business and science backgrounds, and they use appropriate metrics beyond licensing revenues to measure the success of the TTO. These types of reforms are being implemented by university leadership in other regions committed to prioritizing the integration of their institutions’ business and wealth creation with their institutional research and knowledge transfer missions. Developing a standard form licensing agreement across all regional research institutions is an immediate action that would signal to entrepreneurs and investors a willingness to make the licensing process easier.

 

ESTABLISHING A COORDINATED KNOWLEDGE BASE AND NETWORK FOR UNIVERSITY AND INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH

 

With such a large number of research institutions in our region covering such a range of fields of inquiry, a centralized clearinghouse of university and institutional research going on in Greater Philadelphia could strengthen connections with entrepreneurs and investors by showcasing promising discoveries and potential products.