• Business Growth Black & White

    SELLING TO THE WORLD 

     

    DESTINATION

    Greater Philadelphia's businesses capitalize on global export and investment opportunities.

     

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? 

 

It is estimated that metropolitan areas in emerging foreign markets will drive 45% of global economic growth through 2025. Effectively selling Greater Philadelphia's products and services to the world will require strengthening our global connections while marketing the breadth and depth of economic opportunities afforded by our region. The extent to which we are able to engage in global commerce will have a significant influence on our overall economic competitiveness as well as the landscape of opportunity for our residents. 

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

 

ADVANCE THE REGION'S POSITION AS A HUB FOR GLOBAL BUSINESS
 

 

In capitalizing on international business opportunities, Greater Philadelphia has the advantage and challenge of being located between global financial and political hubs and within 200 miles of 46.5 million people. Many of the region’s prominent institutions of education, research, and medicine have strong relationships in foreign markets that can be leveraged to expand international exchanges of talent, trade, and investment. However, an incomplete understanding of what it takes to connect to international business opportunities often discourages area entrepreneurs and growing companies from exporting to or operating in global markets. Coordinated efforts to help companies engage with international partners and navigate these complex issues can help break down perceived barriers to international trade. 

 

In addition, nonstop international flights between metropolitan areas play an important role in facilitating international trade by bringing potential trading partners closer together, opening international lines of communication, and helping to develop and solidify business relationships overseas. Strategic investments to position regional ports as competitive points of entry for specialized foreign cargoes can strengthen overseas relationships and generate international business opportunities for regional companies and institutions. These efforts should build upon the Greater Philadelphia port complex's existing strengths as a leading US point of entry for cargoes from Chile, Brazil, and Nigeria and a major national point of exit for cargoes going to Australia, Turkey, Brazil, and China.

 

Promising Pathways

 

PROVIDING COMMON MESSAGING ABOUT THE REGION'S ADVANTAGES 

 

Many of the region’s prominent institutions of education, research, and medicine represent key connections to international communities. Regional efforts to drive international business should seek to capitalize on the business ties that our major colleges and universities, hospitals, and research facilities have established abroad as well as strengthen connections with the large number of international students who come to the Philadelphia area to study. The opportunity exists to increase the region’s global business profile by equipping institutional leaders with common messaging about the Philadelphia area for use during international visits and in-region meetings with foreign leaders, as well as major professional and trade conferences. Just as important will be getting more regional residents to understand the nature and importance of Greater Philadelphia’s international connections.

 

IDENTIFYING STRATEGIC FOREIGN REGIONS FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT

 

Recent analysis conducted by the Brookings Institution identifies chemicals as Greater Philadelphia’s top export, constituting 21% of all exports from the area, with business services (12%) and financial services (9%) accounting for the next largest shares. While this analysis provides a high-level sense of the industry composition of exports from the region, a more detailed market assessment is necessary to identify niche export opportunities and anticipate emerging industries for export growth. A corresponding analysis of potential buyers in overseas markets will enable regional leaders to develop and refine targeted foreign trade campaigns and set the stage for focused exchanges with partners in established and rising international markets. Cultivating immigrant entrepreneurs in the region to serve as ambassadors for Greater Philadelphia in their native countries can further business connections.

 

INCREASING THE NUMBER OF NON-STOP FLIGHTS TO LARGE MARKETS IN TARGETED REGIONS

 

While Greater Philadelphia is the fifth most populous metro area in the United States, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) provides fewer nonstop connections to international markets than nine of the ten largest US regions. Most striking is the absence of nonstop flights between PHL and both Asia and South America, which are projected to be home to the world’s most rapid economic growth in coming decades. Nonstop flights can have a significant positive impact on trade relationships. The recent addition of such service between PHL and Tel Aviv has demonstrated this potential, with interest in business opportunities from Israeli companies increasing since service began. Regional efforts should seek to replicate this success in other strategic markets around the world, particularly in rising Asian and Latin American nations. The importance of enhancing the region’s global connections will also be emphasized in the World Class Infrastructure GPS. 

 
maRKET THE REGION’S BUSINESS ASSETS AND SUCCESS STORIES

 

Increasing competition from metros around the world makes it more important than ever to develop compelling regional messaging that presents a cohesive snapshot of what’s going on in Greater Philadelphia and why it’s special. Yet, both within the region and outside of it, the prevailing narrative about Greater Philadelphia’s business climate does not capture many of the positive things going on in the region. Convincing storytelling promoting regional assets and business success stories can influence a broad audience of actors including entrepreneurs, institutional and corporate executives, and private investors.

 

Promising Pathways

 

DEVELOPING REGIONAL BUSINESS BRANDS THAT FOCUS ON GREATER PHILADELPHIA'S CLUSTER STRENGTHS

 

Just as for a typical company, a region can benefit from efforts to establish and market clear brands to international markets. Approaching regional industry clusters as separate “product lines” and developing clear messaging for discrete industries can help to establish and strengthen the international business reputation of a metropolitan area. Identifying strategic foreign markets to target for industry-specific promotional campaigns can bring added value to regional branding efforts.

 

DEPLOYING MARKETING CAMPAIGNS THAT TOUT BUSINESS SUCCESS STORIES

 

A significant number of organizations – the World Trade Center of Greater PhiladelphiaSelect Greater Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, regional chambers of commerce, foreign trade offices at the state level, PHL, the region’s ports, and others – are committed to increasing awareness of Philadelphia-area businesses on the global stage. There is opportunity to increase the impact of these efforts by coordinating and aligning this work at the regional level. Additionally, further development of industry-driven regional marketing campaigns has the potential to help solidify the region’s reputation as a center for education and medicine and cultivate regional brands around emerging industries, including food, arts & culture, and energy efficient building technology. At the state level, Pennsylvania’s Regional Investment Marketing (RIM) grant program embraces this industry-oriented marketing approach. While funds through this program are limited, there is opportunity to expand on the model that it promotes.

 

EXPANDING MEDIA COVERAGE OF REGIONAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND BUSINESS TRENDS 

 

An increase in online media coverage of regional business in recent years has begun to fill the void left by shrinking business coverage in major newspapers. Technically Philly and Flying Kite are examples of online media outlets that have taken up the mantle of telling the region’s business stories. While the region’s business brand can be promoted most powerfully through one-to-one interactions and professional networks, a steady stream of positive media coverage can set the stage for increased interest and changing views of the landscape of economic opportunity in Greater Philadelphia.