Philadelphia’s Diversified Economy Highlighted at the Launch of Invest: Philadelphia 2019


January 14, 2019

City of Philadelphia Director of Commerce Harold Epps will give the keynote address at the launch of Capital Analytics’ first publication focusing on Greater Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, PA – Greater Philadelphia’s robust healthcare industry, historically strong higher education sector and focus on innovation are just some of the focal points in the first edition of Invest: Philadelphia from Capital Analytics. The 2019 edition highlights the five-county region of Greater Philadelphia, including Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware and Chester counties, with special focus chapters on the City of Chester and the dynamic neighborhoods in the City of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia’s housing market is one of the hottest in the country, and the region’s real estate industry is attracting increased interest from investors both domestically and abroad, particularly in the multifamily space. Utilities and infrastructure are covered in detail as the city looks to alternative sources of energy to sustainably grow and develop. Transportation is a hot topic, with the Philadelphia International Airport continuing to expand its reach and SEPTA making improvements to help keep counties connected via extensive bus and train routes. The Invest: Philadelphia publication from Capital Analytics is a 208-page economic analysis that highlights business opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators alike looking to Philadelphia for opportunities.

The official launch of the publication will take place on January 24, 2019, at the Loews Hotel. Following a short networking breakfast, Harold Epps, Director of Commerce for the City of Philadelphia, will give a keynote address that underscores some of the major achievements of Philadelphia’s economy over the past 12 months. This will be followed by three robust panel discussions.

The panels will address major themes currently dominating Philadelphia’s economy: education, healthcare and innovation. The “Healing the Community: Healthcare in Philadelphia” panel will be moderated by Susanne Svizeny of Wells Fargo. Panelists will be Dr. Jay Feldstein of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Jack Lynch of Main Line Health, Dr. Larry Kaiser of Temple University Health System and Ray Williams of DLA Piper. The “World Class Minds: Education in Philadelphia” panelists will be Craig Carnaroli of University of Pennsylvania, Guy Generals of Community College of Philadelphia and Michael Mittelman of Salus University. The “On the Cutting Edge: Innovation in Philadelphia” panel will be moderated by Mathieu Shapiro of Obermayer, and panelists will be Dan Hilferty of Independence Blue Cross, Tricia Marts of Veolia, Atif Ghauri of MAZARS and John Giordano of Archer Law.

The event will be attended by hundreds of high-level guests and officials from some of Philadelphia’s key industries and economic institutions.

“Invest: Philadelphia is Capital Analytics’ first foray into the Northeast,” said Abby Melone, president of Capital Analytics. “After resounding success in South Florida and Georgia, we wanted to expand up the coast to the hidden gem of the Northeast. Philadelphia is increasing its global visibility, and we wanted help the city capitalize on that. As the most affordable major city in the Northeast corridor, Philadelphia has a great deal to offer people of all ages, from students to young professionals and from entrepreneurs to capital investors. We are excited to be a part of Philadelphia’s journey.”



About Invest: Philadelphia

Invest: Philadelphia is an in-depth economic review of the key issues facing Greater Philadelphia’s economy featuring the exclusive insights of prominent industry leaders. Invest: Philadelphia is produced with two goals in mind: 1) to provide comprehensive investment knowledge on Philadelphia to local, national and international investors, and 2) to promote Philadelphia as a place to invest and do business.

The book conducts a deep dive of the top economic sectors in the county including real estate, construction, utilities and infrastructure, transportation and aviation, banking and finance, legal, healthcare, life sciences, education, sports, and arts culture and tourism. The publication is compiled from insights collected from more than 200 economic leaders, sector insiders, political leaders and heads of important institutions. It analyzes the leading challenges facing the market, as well as covers emerging opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

For more information, contact us at:



Midterm Madness

By staff writer
November 8, 2018 – 2 min. read

Tuesday’s midterm elections attracted record numbers of voters, with estimates putting the count at 113 million. This historic turnout brought 110 female winners, the country’s first openly gay governor and more than 30 flipped seats in Congress, but it also underscored the deep and often contentious divide facing our nation. Capital Analytics has been keeping a close eye on the results, particularly those affecting our markets in Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

One of the biggest takeaways is the Democrats regaining control of the House, surpassing the 23 seats necessary for majority rule by more than 10. In Florida, former University of Miami president Donna Shalala won the 27th District previously held by Republican representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, edging out Republican opponent Maria Elvira Salazar. Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell also won over Republican Carlos Curbelo in Florida’s 26th District. Pennsylvania saw three seats flipped by Democrats Mary Scanlon in the 5th District, Conor Lamb in the 17th District and Chrissy Houlahan in the 6th District.

Two congressional races in Georgia remained too close to call Wednesday evening, the first in the 6th District, where Republican Karen Handel is seeking reelection but trailed Democrat Lucy McBath 49.55 percent to 50.45 percent. In the 7th District, Republican Rob Woodall and Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux were in a similar position, with Woodhall holding a slight lead of 50.23 percent over Bourdeaux’s 49.77 percent. Georgia law requires a recount if the final vote margin is 1 percent or less, according to the Associated Press. Both campaigns are waiting for absentee ballots to be counted in hopes of naming a clear winner.

Though the House succumbed to the “blue wave,” the GOP not only retained control of the Senate but also bolstered it with a number of key victories in states like Indiana, North Dakota and Missouri. In Florida, the hotly contested race between Republican former governor Rick Scott and incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson is heading for automatic recount. According to unofficial returns posted on Wednesday by the state Division of Elections, Scott held a 30,239-vote lead out of 8.1 million ballots cast — a difference of just .38 percent. In Florida, if the margin in a race is less than .5 percent, a recount is automatically triggered. The Senate race might not be the only one to move to recount, either. Florida’s agriculture commissioner contest between Republican Matt Caldwell and Democrat Nikki Fried is even tighter, with Caldwell carrying a slim .16 percent lead on Wednesday evening.

While Tom Wolf comfortably won reelection in Pennsylvania, the Florida and Georgia governor’s races were much more hotly contested. In Florida, Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded to Republican opponent Ron DeSantis early on Wednesday, but by late Wednesday DeSantis’s lead had narrowed to a margin of just .57 percent. However, this still remained outside of the .5 percent margin that requires a recount under Florida law. Votes were still being counted on Thursday morning, and if the margin falls below .5 percent, a recount will be triggered.

Georgia’s gubernatorial race is even closer, with Democrat Stacey Abrams refusing to concede to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) and vowing to “fight for every vote.” While Kemp’s campaign declared victory to reporters on Wednesday evening, the Abrams campaign readied its legal team to challenge the election results. A runoff, if it comes to that, would be held on December 4.

Even as heated battles underscored the increasingly polarized nature of U.S. politics, culminating in a divided Congress, the 2018 midterms marked a new high for women taking seats in the chamber, with 98 women projected to win in the House and 12 in the Senate. Even more notable is the fact that 34 of these women are newly elected members of Congress. This “pink wave” includes 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman in history to take a seat in Congress, serving New York’s 14th District. In Pennsylvania, a record-breaking four women are projected to win seats in the House. This is particularly momentous considering not a single woman currently represents the state in the House. Women are also projected to win in nine gubernatorial races (not counting Stacey Abrams, who is still vying to become the country’s first female African-American governor).

In addition to the inroads made by women, there has also been a noticeable push for diversity in public office. Two Muslim women and two Native American women will take seats in Congress, and Colorado’s Jared Polis (D) will become the country’s first openly gay governor. Overall, more than 100 LGBTQ candidates claimed victory on Tuesday night, indicating changing attitudes toward how voters think about both LGBTQ candidates and rights. Exit polls suggest that voter diversity also hit all-time highs for midterm elections, with the non-white vote estimated at 28 percent. (For perspective, in 1990 non-white voters accounted for just 9 percent of the vote.)

While some races remain too close to call and others were resounding losses or victories, depending on which side of the party line you walk, the fact that so many people showed up to vote is something all parties can be proud of. We’ll be keeping an eye on the tight races in Florida and Georgia and looking forward to what’s in store in 2020.


A Surge of Competition

By staff writer
October 2018 – 2 min. read

Over the last five years, several new hotels have been announced in Philadelphia to accommodate the waves of leisure and business travelers visiting our fair city. These are both big-name hotels and smaller boutiques, both of which are strengthening Philadelphia’s credibility as a prime tourist destination. What’s more, nearly all of these hotels are planned for Center City.

Visit Philadelphia recently reported that “nine new hotels are unlocking 1,902 new rooms to meet visitor demand, which has increased at a rate of 86 percent over the past 20 years.” And these new projects couldn’t come at a better time. Visit Philly also reported that in 2017, a record was set for 1.1 million leisure hotel room stays, a 334 percent uptick since the late 1990s. With nearly 44 million leisure travelers visiting Philadelphia last year, leisure travel is the biggest driver for bookings in the city as a whole.

One of the newest hotels on the scene is the Cambria, located along the Avenue of the Arts in downtown Center City. General Manager Jerry Rice says that this hotel is owned and built by Philadelphians for Philadelphians. “We’ve worked hard to curate a sense of place with the locally inspired designs and unique upscale amenities that the Cambria brand is known for nationwide,” Rice told Invest: Philadelphia when he sat down with our team earlier this year.  “Our presence on Broad Street has drawn consistent interest from travelers and locals alike, and we hope the hotel will continue to serve as a gathering place for all to experience the heart and soul of the city.”

Nevertheless, with so much new inventory coming online in Philadelphia’s hotel and hospitality sector, existing suppliers are rightly apprehensive. We spoke with some of these hoteliers to get their take on the issue.

Philadelphia’s Warwick Hotel.

“Philadelphia is seeing a 2,000-room increase from 2012 to 2019, so inventory is going up quite a bit,” Ed Grose, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, told Invest:. “This means that we have to be on top of our game in terms of marketing the city and bringing people in.”

As inventory increases, it will become more difficult to keep Philly hotels running at 80 percent occupancy. The Hotel Association is hoping that the proposed hospitality investment levy will help the average daily rate increase.

The positive side of the story, as Michael Roberts, general manager of the Windsor Suites, understands it, “is that we hope the increase in rooms available in Center City Philadelphia will help to accommodate large conventions needing more rooms available within proximity to the Convention Center.” The increase in demand across all segments — including the corporate, convention and leisure businesses — should help to mitigate the effects hotels across the city might feel as the supply of available rooms increases.

For institutions like the Rittenhouse Hotel, it’s all about staying true to their history and their goals. “We want to deliver on the expectations and services of a traditional luxury hotel without the weight of a brand,” General Manager Reginald Archambault told Invest:. “Our ultimate goal is personalized service. It doesn’t matter if you are coming in for a stay, a spa treatment or tea; we want you to have a memorable and wonderful time. We want everyone who comes to the Rittenhouse to feel cared for, and it is that philosophy that keeps people coming back.”

These are the strategies that will allow Philadelphia’s hotels to stay competitive in the face of a rapidly growing hospitality industry. We’re excited to see what the future holds for Philly’s hotels!

For more information about our interviewees, visit their websites.
The Cambria:
Windsor Suites:
Rittenhouse Hotel:
Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association:
Visit Philadelphia:

Changing Tides and Market Resiliency in Philadelphia

By staff writer
September 2018 – 2 min. read

Some cities are currently booming, but there’s always a thought looming in the background that at any time the pendulum could swing in the other direction. Philadelphia’s industry leaders say that the city has recession-proof businesses, which were in full view 10 years ago during the economic crisis.

“Philadelphia is a dynamic market. It’s also a diverse economy; we don’t depend on just one thing. We’re slower and steadier than most,” Harris Heller, managing director – originations at Hunt Real Estate Capital, told Invest: Philadelphia when he sat down with our team earlier this year. “We never got too high, therefore we don’t get too low.”

While its real estate market has not traditionally been investors’ first choice when compared to other more glamorous markets like nearby New York City, there’s no denying that its steady growth creates low-risk investment opportunities with excellent potential for appreciation. Slow and steady is what will keep Philadelphia strong and sustainable.



Harris Heller, Managing Director – Originations, Hunt Real Estate Capital.

Jason Wolf, Managing Principal, Wolf Commercial Real Estate.

“This is a very positive and exciting time to be in real estate in Philadelphia, and we want that to continue,” Jason Wolf, managing principal of Wolf Commercial Real Estate, told Invest:. “Philadelphia is seeing a lot of investment coming from New York and New Jersey. Buildings that trade for $100 or $150 per square foot in our market are opportunities to make an investment at almost half the cost of what someone would spend in the New York market. This makes us an attractive market for investment, which is why we are seeing so much capital come in from these neighboring, more expensive markets.”

Innovations in technology and e-commerce that are upsetting the real estate industry in other cities have led to exciting trends in Philadelphia and increased investment from outside channels. As Credit Suisse reports, roughly one-fourth of the nearly 1,100 malls in America are in danger of closing. (However, it should be noted that the King of Prussia Mall, the largest shopping mall on the East Coast, is in no danger of shutting down and remains a huge economic driver for Montgomery County.) Moreover, a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that department stores have lost 500,000 jobs since 2002, while online retailers created only 200,000.


In order to make up for this deficit, one of the biggest shifts in commercial real estate has been the move to a more experiential retail model, hence the concept of “de-malling.” De-malling refers to the partial or entire demolition of malls to create a more dynamic kind of retail experience, placing a bigger emphasis on things such as restaurants and movie theaters.

“Take a look at the Gallery Project in the Market East neighborhood of Philadelphia,” John Adderly, executive vice president of NAI Mertz, told Invest:. “They are changing a mall-like space and bringing the focus back to the street. These are trends we are seeing in the region.”

“Industrial has much more development going on right now,” Adderly noted. “There is a demand for it, especially in this region. Philadelphia is in a great location: the least expensive primary market in the Northeast Corridor.”

Opportunities in this market are on the “value-add” side of things. Investors and developers are searching for old malls or large decommissioned shopping centers with large vacancy boxes and generating novel plans for revitalizing these spaces.

As Adderly notes, Philadelphia offers something that other dynamic cities do not: an affordable cost of living. As such, the city can retain a robust and talented labor pool; the skilled analysts, graphic designers and marketing professionals aren’t getting priced out. In Philadelphia, young professionals can live affordably, and that has fostered a healthy live-work balance. As long as existing structures can be co-opted for the times and the younger generations are encouraged to land here, Philadelphia looks to maintain its trajectory of steady, sustainable growth for many years to come.

John Adderly, Executive Vice President, NAI Mertz.

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:
NAI Mertz:
Hunt Real Estate Capital:
Wolf Commercial Real Estate:

Minority-Owned Businesses Are the Future

By staff writer
September 2018 – 2 min. read

Philadelphia is a majority-minority city, with a population that is about 41 percent white (not including mixed races), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (Compare that to New York, which is roughly 43 percent white.) Philly also ranks in the top 10 for U.S. cities with the highest levels of poverty. Many believe there is a correlation between minority racial groups and high poverty rates. Janelle Jones from the Economic Policy Institute stated thataverage wealth for white families is seven times higher than that of black families, while median wealth for white families is 12 times higher than for black families.”

According to U.S. Census data released in September 2016, out of the country’s top 10 major metropolitan areas, Philadelphia ranked ninth for minority-owned businesses, with 15.7 percent. The City of Brotherly Love also ranked ninth for female-owned businesses, with 18.5 percent. Additionally, Philly lagged in the number of new businesses under two years old, with only 7.8 percent. However, despite these grim numbers, the city is making slow and steady progress in helping to bridge the gap between white- and minority-owned businesses.

Jennifer Rodriguez, President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

On a national scale, minority-owned businesses have seen quite a bit of growth in the past decade, increasing the country’s small business sector by 38 percent. During the recession, Philadelphia’s minority-owned businesses thrived despite an overall decline in non-minority business growth. Like other major U.S. cities, Philadelphia’s minority-owned businesses are on the rise. According to the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, while progress is slow, improvements are being made across the board.

There are many minority-owned business success stories in Philadelphia, such as TechLink Systems Inc., which brought in $26.2 million in 2017, and Arora Engineers Inc., which brought in $23.7 million. But for those businesses that have not enjoyed that kind of success, or for minority business owners looking to connect to a supportive network, organizations like the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are here to help.

Jennifer Rodriguez, the chamber’s president and CEO, sat down with Invest: Philadelphia earlier this year to discuss her organization’s role in helping Hispanic business owners reach their goals — like breaking the million-dollar sales barrier. The chamber creates a network for Latino and Latina business owners and allows them to gain valuable expertise through its master class, offered in partnership with Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

“One attempt to recognize and provide a value-packed opportunity for our entrepreneurs is our Small Business Roadshow,” Rodriguez told Invest: “We bring together 30 or 40 entrepreneurs in one room with an accountant, a lawyer, a marketing specialist, etc., and really talk about what it takes to run a successful business. The entrepreneurs walk away with an amazing rolodex of professionals they can call on when the time comes, and it really solidifies this small business community.”



The network available to minority-owned businesses does not just end at the city’s borders, however. The African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA/NJ/DE promotes trade and commerce with New Jersey and Delaware, as well.

Lack of representation poses an imminent problem for many minority and white business owners alike. Michael Banks, president and CEO of the African-American Chamber of Commerce, discussed the importance of representation across the entire business community.

The region is getting better at bringing minority-owned business owners and representatives to the conversation sooner,” Banks told Invest:. “When government changes are being presented, historically speaking the leaders and politicians would look at the voters and individuals and ask what is best for them without necessarily consulting the business community — and more specifically the minority-owned business community — and asking how they will be impacted. We are being brought to the table more frequently now and are involved in a lot more conversations and having our suggestions solicited, which doesn’t just benefit us but also benefits commerce for the region as a whole. It is instrumental in what the region is looking to accomplish.”


Michael Banks, President & CEO, African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA/NJ/DE.

This communication between businesses and government not only fosters a good relationship but also facilitates a conversation about what is best for the city from each stakeholder’s point of view. The top 29 minority-owned businesses brought in roughly $183 million in 2017 alone. With minority-owned businesses growing rapidly in Philadelphia, these entrepreneurs are an integral part of the city’s economy.

There is a lot of energy around the discussion of problems and challenges but not the same amount of energy being put into discussions around solutions and opportunity,” Banks said. “People know the data, and they understand the problems, but the energy put into solving them isn’t equal. We know the poverty rate is 26 percent, but what are we doing differently? Innovation needs to be looked at as a verb not a noun. By fostering small businesses and encouraging discourse with minority-owned businesses, bringing these people into the conversation, we can help achieve the goals we have both socially and economically as a city.”   

Philadelphia might be known for its “Brotherly Love,” but strengthening the economy and bridging the poverty gap is incumbent upon creating a productive dialogue between all stakeholders of all backgrounds — citizens, government and business-owners alike.

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:
Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:
African American Chamber of Commerce PA/NJ/DE:

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

By staff writer
August 2018 – 2 min. read

“It is an exciting time to be in Philadelphia,” Director of the Department of Planning and Development Anne Fadullon told Invest: Philadelphia earlier this month. Growing in jobs and population, Philadelphia has outpaced the national economy for the last two years. With no signs of slowing down, Fadullon and the Department of Planning and Development are looking forward to all that is in store for the City of Brotherly Love.

Known as the home to “meds and eds,” Philadelphia’s education and healthcare sectors are experiencing the biggest boom in the city. “The University of Pennsylvania is building a $1.3 billion hospital, and CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) has a new facility in the works,” Fadullon told Invest:. “Drexel University and Penn are both developing, whether it is student housing, innovation or the Schuylkill Yards project.”

The $3.5 billion Schuylkill Yards project will bring about 6.9 million square feet of new construction to the city. This project will cover 14 acres in University City, home to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, two of the most influential research universities in the nation. This project will become the leading innovation hub in the city, with space for commercial offices, retail, hospitality, research facilities and a 1.3-acre park.

“University City is a neighborhood that is seeing a development boom because it houses so many educational and medical institutions. Our tech sector is also growing, and we think that will lead to more development in the city,” Fadullon told Invest:. This could be coming at the perfect time as Philadelphia made headlines for landing on Amazon’s HQ2 shortlist. Amazon is targeting cities with a large pool of regional tech talent and a strong university system for its second headquarters.

With more development comes a greater need for sustainability, and the city has taken this very seriously, according to Fadullon. The planning department is working on its “energy master plan, which is geared toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030.” In addition, Philadelphia is working on a “zero waste vision” to reduce landfills and incinerators by 2035. At the forefront of the plan is the Office of Sustainability, which spearheads Greenworks, the city’s first fully comprehensive sustainability plan. Greenworks comprises eight targeted areas: accessible food and drinking water; healthy outdoor and indoor air; clean and efficient energy; climate-prepared and carbon-neutral communities; quality natural resources; accessible, affordable and safe transportation; zero waste; and engaged students, stewards and workers.

Engaging the community in sustainability is crucial to achieving the most effective results. The City of Philadelphia uses Neighborhood Advisory Committees, or NACs, as a way to engage with the community and generate involvement. According to Fadullon, each committee is staffed by people who live in a particular neighborhood, and the committees work out of their own neighborhoods to help facilitate community meetings between the Department of Planning and Development and the citizens. Classes are offered through the Citizens Planning Institute to better educate the communities about what is currently happening in Philadelphia. More than 232,000 residents in 2016 were born abroad, according to Pew Charitable Trusts, so the city provides information in many languages to ensure everyone is engaged and able to understand the material.

Larger projects seem to be a catalyst for growth and will lead the way for more development in Philadelphia. The planning department’s civic design review has seen a record number of projects with a large number of units or square footage within the past few months. These new projects could help accommodate the growing population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there has been roughly a 3.6 percent increase in Philadelphia’s population from 2010 to 2017. In the short term, Philadelphia will continue to see a rise in multifamily development and condo sales, Fadullon predicts, and even the hotel market will grow.

“It is an amazing time to be in Philadelphia, as we are seeing ourselves in a pattern of sustained growth,” Fadullon told Invest:. You heard it here first: it’s always sunny in Philadelphia.

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:



Much Love for Entrepreneurship in the City of Brotherly Love

By contributing writer Sean O’Toole
July 2018 – 2 min. read

This is not your parents’ economy. Over the last 20 years, the labor market has evolved to demand efficiency and innovation as prerequisites for success. Even individuals entering traditionally “safe” professions need to adopt the entrepreneur’s bold, proactive approach to career development. Many colleges and universities have recognized this trend and have started to offer entrepreneurial degree programs. Two Philadelphia-area schools, in particular, are on the cutting edge of this new educational and professional movement: Drexel University and La Salle University.

Philadelphia has always been an incubator for entrepreneurship. The city’s icon, Benjamin Franklin, was a renowned inventor and innovator credited with the establishment of the city’s first firehouse, post office and library. Philadelphia is also where many of our country’s earliest and brightest entrepreneurs came together to develop one of history’s most exciting and daring enterprises: the United States of America. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the city continues to produce adventurous professionals with the help of Drexel’s Close School of Entrepreneurship and La Salle’s Center for Entrepreneurship.



Donna De Carolis, the Silverman Family Professor for Entrepreneurial Leadership and dean of Drexel’s Close School, is especially excited about the opportunities for young entrepreneurs in the city. “Philadelphia offers tremendous opportunity,” De Carolis told Invest: Philadelphia when she sat down with our team earlier this year. “Whether in med tech, ed tech or other markets, there are opportunities for new and emerging companies and ideas.”

It is the presence of this kind of opportunity in Philadelphia that makes an entrepreneurial degree from Drexel so valuable. “The need for efficiency and speed is changing the way companies are structuring and doing business. We want to help prepare our students for this job market,” De Carolis said. “By offering this degree, as well as classes to students with other degrees, we are preparing our students for the job market they will be entering.” Drexel is currently the only school to offer a program like this as a free-standing degree, but other schools are taking notice of its success and will likely follow suit.

Drexel is not Philadelphia’s only trendsetter in entrepreneurial education, however. Steve Melick, executive director of the La Salle Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, spoke about the center’s evolution into a groundbreaking model for experiential learning.

“La Salle is making interesting progress,” Melick told Invest:. “We are beginning to integrate topics in innovation and entrepreneurial thinking into existing, traditional class topics rather than separating entrepreneurship as an independent discipline. In one example we are seeing biology students use their technical understanding to explore new business and market opportunities for commercial research. Prior to this engagement, these same biology students typically have little interest in business or an understanding of connecting the two topics. Through this course they learn the complementary and necessary connection between these disciplines. This is a significant shift but helps to bring greater perspective and broader learning growth to our students.”

As Philadelphia continues to grow and attract investors from an increasing number of industries, there will be a consistent need for a steady influx of enterprising young professionals to tap into the city’s potential. Entrepreneurial programs, like those offered by Drexel University and La Salle University, can help them develop the skills they need to succeed in an ever-evolving business world.

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:
Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, Drexel University:
Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, La Salle University:


“Meds and Eds”

June 2018 — If there is one thing to take away from Philadelphia’s business market it is that higher education and healthcare — or as the locals call it, “meds and eds” — are two major sweet spots. Philadelphia and its surrounding region are home to numerous internationally ranked universities and hospitals that produce some of the world’s foremost thought leaders and life-changing research. The growth of both industries feeds into other sectors of the market as well.

Development projects for both higher education and healthcare are popping up all over the city, whether in the form of new innovation centers like Pennovation and Schuylkill Yards or new additions to Penn Medicine and Main Line Health. Life sciences, healthcare and education are some of the leading sectors driving business at the city’s law, accounting and consulting firms as well.

We sat down with some of Philadelphia’s leading minds in meds, eds and other industries affected by their growth in order to learn more about the region’s “meds and eds” phenomenon.

Craig Carnaroli, Executive Vice President, University of Pennsylvania

“Penn has amazing momentum right now. The research that is happening here, like Dr. June’s CAR-T therapy, and the people we are attracting to the university are creating an amazing trajectory for us. We are a part of some game-changing gene therapy that was just recently FDA approved and could have a huge impact on both improving lives and the Philadelphia economy. The University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia higher education sector are very strong. There is a need for a larger STEM workforce, and with the quality of student we continue to attract, we can make an impact on that workforce.”

Jay S. Feldstein, DO, President, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

“60 percent of our graduates go into primary care. You can’t go to a medical institution in the Philadelphia or Mid-Atlantic regions without bumping into one of our graduates who’s either an attending physician in practice, a resident or a medical student. Our location and our affiliations offer a unique opportunity for students to really immerse themselves in the medical community and culture.”

Christopher Bruner, Office Managing Partner, EY

“Life sciences is a huge sector for us, especially in Philadelphia, and not just because the industry has a large presence in the city. It is because our employees want to give back. Millennials especially want to work with companies that they know are doing good, and they want to give back themselves, which is something we encourage as a firm.”

Teddy Thomas, President, Ronald McDonald House

“Medical tourism is something that happens organically. Because of the doctors and their sub-specialties we have here, people come for very specific reasons. People are not traveling for general care; they are traveling for specialized care. Medicine is continuing to evolve through the insurance industry, as well as in the form of hospitals building new and continuing to invest in their own research. Sub-specialized care draws people out of their local communities, and Philadelphia will continue to see a growth of people traveling to this region for their care. We feel very lucky to be in the amazing meds and eds corridor that we have.”

For more information about our interviewees, visit their company websites:

University of Pennsylvania:
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine:
Ronald McDonald House:

Diverse and Inclusive

May 2018 — In 1776 Thomas Jefferson presented his latest project, the Declaration of Independence, to be signed a mere 11 blocks from the Invest: Philadelphia office. The second paragraph of this famous document states boldly, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Unfortunately, it seems that sometimes “all men” is not defined as broadly as it should be.

Philadelphia is a majority minority city, something that is apparent in its vibrant neighborhood cultures and diverse food offerings. The Philadelphia CVB awards a “Minority Business Award” every year honoring these businesses that make Philadelphia what it is today. This year, that award went to Perryman Building & Construction, a family business run by Angelo Perryman and the catalyst behind projects like LOVE Park, the Navy Yard and the Gallery.

Philadelphia-based law firm Duane Morris LLP prides itself on its diversity and inclusion initiatives. “You are who you are as a law firm, and when it comes to programs like pro bono, diversity and inclusion or the women’s impact network for success (WINS), if you don’t live them they are not going to benefit anyone,” Matthew Taylor, chairman and CEO of Duane Morris LLP, said in and interview with Invest:. “As a firm we put a lot of emphasis on the importance of equality and inclusion, and that is a similar mindset to the City of Philadelphia.”

Despite all of this, Philadelphia still faces significant diversity issues, ranging from the racial makeup of certain workforces to the pay gap that exists for different races and genders and some policies that prevent the city from hiring in a diverse and inclusive way.

In an effort to combat these challenges, Mayor Jim Kenney appointed former Duane Morris lawyer Nolan Atkinson Jr. chief diversity and inclusion officer for the city. He stepped into the role in January 2016. Not only is Atkinson Philadelphia’s first diversity and inclusion officer, but Philly is also one of the only cities in the country with a government position devoted solely to that cause. Atkinson is tasked with making long-term recommendations that will help to build a more inclusive city workforce when it comes to race, ethnicity, disability, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation.

“Diversity is a significant part of the overall business fabric in Philadelphia,” Marc Tepper, managing shareholder for the Philadelphia Office of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, told Invest: “Today, firms need clear policies and a culture of inclusiveness. In the past, new work was often awarded based on personal relationships and being considered a thought leader in a particular area of law. Today, relationships and subject area competence can only go so far. It is critical to point to hard facts and figures that prove your workplace is self-reflective and then actually reward those who practice true team building.”

Committing to true diversity and inclusion is a proven boon to business, whether by promoting a better understanding of the customer, by fostering greater innovation and creativity or by boosting a company’s brand. While some might “hold these truths to be self-evident,” Philadelphia isn’t taking any chances. The City of Brotherly Love is working hard to make inclusion and diversity a priority.

For more information on our interviewees, visit their company websites:
Duane Morris LLP, Philadelphia:
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Philadelphia: