Although it seems like so long ago, just last month all of Philadelphia was buzzing as Philly Tech Week took hold of the city. Over 25,000 Philadelphians came together to connect, learn and celebrate our city’s journey to tech greatness. When Philly Tech Week first began six years ago, it catered to tech entrepreneurs, showcasing cool, new technologies like 3D printing, and covering issues like venture funding and intellectual property rights.
In this day and age technology innovation is no longer of concern to just entrepreneurs. During Philly Tech Week (PTW15) this year, senior professionals working in large industry sectors like healthcare participated in events catering to their specific interests. The American Heart Association, for instance, facilitated a forum that convened leaders in medical research, technology, and finance to discuss life science tech innovation. Griot Digital brought together digital health innovators and senior leaders from healthcare organizations to discuss how new technologies like mHealth are improving healthcare outcomes. Cybersecurity thought leaders from large enterprises like Barclays and IBM spoke during PTW15’s 4th Annual Philly Women in Tech Summit.
Across all industries, technology innovation has become an industry requirement. Recognizing the significance of technology to our local economy, The City of Philadelphia has fully committed to supporting our tech-enabled business ecosystem. City council and mayoral candidates all assumed leading roles in many of Philly Tech Week’s events. James Buehler, MD, the Health Commissioner of Philadelphia even served as the keynote speaker of PTW15’s digital health event.
For Philadelphia to become the next Silicon Valley of San Francisco or Silicon Alley of New York City we must continue creating opportunities for high tech, high growth startup companies to develop relationships with our city’s traditional institutions. Brad Denenberg, founder of Seed Philly and head organizer of the Philadelphia’s largest tech Meetups, has tirelessly advocated for city officials, large corporations like Comcast (official sponsor of Philly Tech Week) and leaders of Philly’s tech scene to develop a centralized workspace for vetted tech startups to work directly with local corporations on solving their toughest business model requirements.
Offering an investment fund like the city’s Startup PHL fund is only the first step in what we must do to become a city for high growth, tech innovation. We, as a city, have all of the pieces of the puzzle. It’s now up to us all to help bring our many pieces together. It starts with more organizations like Griot Digital, the American Heart Association, and PACT organizing niche events that connect industrial leaders with relevant tech leaders. Perhaps our mayoral candidates will follow in Mayor Nutter’s footsteps and lead the city in developing an official space for tech innovation? For the sake of our city’s financial future, we hope so.