Ryan E. Glenn
With Continued Investments, Pennsylvania is Equipped to Continue Global Startup Success
By Ryan E. Glenn, Director of Statewide Initiatives
Ben Franklin Technology Partners
By now the secret is out – Pennsylvania is one of the top ecosystems in the world to start and grow a technology company, scale a manufacturing operation, or create solutions that truly improve the human condition.
Examining factors such as startup growth and activity, innovation and research, capital availability, talent and support for companies, research firm Startup Genome recently ranked Philadelphia ahead of international hotspots like Hong Kong, Vancouver and Munich as a Global Startup Ecosystem. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh was ranked ahead of cities such as Moscow, Hamburg and Milan as one of the top emerging ecosystems globally.
Pennsylvania’s road to success begins with our ability to develop world-class talent that entrepreneurs and businesses need to succeed. Among our esteemed colleges and universities are world-class research universities and institutions capable of developing talent in every field and industry imaginable. From engineers to accountants, and from marketing specialists to design, Pennsylvania has a high-quality talent pool capable of creating and growing successful innovation companies. Pennsylvania is home to more than 20 Fortune 500 companies and we boast strong industry clusters in energy, biotech, robotics, manufacturing, education, materials and other vital and rapidly expanding industries.
Pennsylvania also provides world-class amenities that foster a rich quality of life for multitude of lifestyle preferences. We have major cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with the opportunity to explore and enjoy some of the best forms of art and entertainment in the world, as well as regions that cater to those who enjoy the great outdoors and the beauty of nature. In many instances, those who call Pennsylvania home can easily access all the splendor the state has to offer in a matter of hours. From museums, concerts and professional sports, to hunting, fishing, hiking and more, Pennsylvania has something for everyone.
Best of all, with a reasonable cost of living that is about the national average, residents of Pennsylvania possess the time and money to enjoy all these amenities. Affordability goes a long way for companies trying to attract and retain talent, as well as potential employees weighing the cost/benefit of where they choose to establish their careers.
Taking all these attractive attributes, Ben Franklin then surrounds innovation entrepreneurs and Pennsylvania’s top talent with world-class support.
For more than 35 years, we have been supporting innovation and entrepreneurs to help grow the Pennsylvania economy, create jobs for Pennsylvanians and develop solutions to significant market challenges. Since its inception, Ben Franklin has invested in more than 4,500 technology-based companies, boosted the state’s economy by more than $25 billion and helped to generate 148,000 jobs through investments in client firms and spinoff companies. We have done all of this while generating a $3.90 return on each $1.00 of the taxpayers’ investment and helping to support the creation of jobs that pay 52 percent more than the average non-farm wage in Pennsylvania.
The momentum Ben Franklin has helped Pennsylvania build heading into 2022 is nothing short of remarkable – especially when you consider some of the global and national economic challenges we have all faced. However, our competitors have also taken notice our of success.
Pennsylvania has the talent, the resources and the amenities to compete and succeed in a global economy. Now we must capitalize on the progress we have made by continuing to invest in innovation and technological advances and build upon the $14.5 million investment we saw in the 2021-22 General Fund budget. We know our approach works, and the rest of the world is more than willing to commit money and resources to implement the very strategies we have mastered here in Pennsylvania and challenge our position as a global leader. There are no limits to what Pennsylvania can achieve if we continue to invest in the ecosystem we have established.