Innovation: Where It All Began - Select Greater Philadelphia & Chamber Of Commerce For Greater Philadelphia

Greater Philadelphia.  It’s where innovators conceived and implemented not only the concept of our United States of America, but the notion of modern democracy that has shaped communities around the country and the world. And the innovations of yesterday continue today and are leading the way for discoveries of tomorrow. Here’s why Greater Philadelphia is known as the place where innovation began – continues to thrive.

Unique Spirit of Collaboration and Innovation

There is something special about our academic, business, civic, and entrepreneurial community that inspires a coming together rarely seen in other regions.  We work together not because we have to, but because we want to, knowing that our collaborative style will produce results that benefit all. This spirit is perhaps best exemplified by the recent U.S. regulatory approval of the world’s first genetically engineered immune therapy, a T-cell treatment for pediatric leukemia developed at the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Novartis. It’s fitting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration referred to their endorsement of this new gene therapy as a “historic action,” considering that Philadelphia is home to major milestones in medical research and life sciences. Our region is home to more than 25 Fortune 1,000 companies, and boasts a gross regional product of more than $432 billion, positioning us among the top three of metropolitan areas across the Northeast United States.  In workshops and labs across Greater Philadelphia, innovators are designing and manufacturing smart fabrics; creating 3-D machines that print human cells; developing portable ultrasound, and newborn screening devices; and building state-of-the-art drone technologies; producing a new sustainable, biodegradable pregnancy test; and discovering novel, life-saving solutions using genetically engineered T-cells.

A Community Bursting With – and Attracting – Talent

With just over 100 colleges and universities, our region offers the most densely populated concentration of higher education institutions in the world. Each year, our colleges and universities produce nearly 90,000 graduates. Combine this fact with our nearly 1,100 K-through-12 schools, including award-winning STEM programs that are defining this new approach in primary education, and it’s no wonder that Greater Philadelphia provides one of the most diverse, creative and highly-educated labor pools in the world. Nearly 35% of our residents hold bachelor’s degrees or higher, compared with the national average of 29%, and our college graduate retention rate has grown rapidly in recent years to an all-time high of 66% and growing. With a population of 6.3 million people and a workforce of 3.1 million, Greater Philadelphia provides access to talent of all levels and industries.

Access, Affordability & Opportunity

Our 11 county neighborhood of northern Delaware, southern New Jersey, and southeastern Pennsylvania is welcoming more millennials at a higher rate than most other regions of the world thanks to our favorable cost of living, high quality of life, and access to New York; Washington, D.C.; Europe; and the whole of the United States. All of these assets and more – combined with our contagious spirit of optimism, innovation, and collaboration – equals opportunity, and is at the heart of why people from all walks of life are choosing to establish and grow their careers here.

The people of Greater Philadelphia are “can do” idealists and inventors, building on the foundation of innovation established here nearly 250 years ago to create the possibilities of tomorrow. We are also a welcoming community, and invite innovators and businesses large and small to come join our community and continue the successes of where innovation began.

Greater Philadelphia Fast Facts

  • Greater Philadelphia is home to seven medical schools, three pharmacy schools, and two dental schools, in addition to award-winning schools of podiatric medicine, ophthalmology, and veterinary medicine.
  • While greater Philadelphia is well known for Rocky, cheesesteaks, and the founding of democracy, we are also home to other historical accomplishments, including the invention of gun powder, Teflon, and the creation of the first urban research park (University City Science Center in 1963), and mutual fund company (Vanguard).
  • Greater Philadelphia is home to more than 65 incubators and co-working spaces.
  • Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey is a hub for the life sciences with over 80% of the U.S. pharmaceutical and biotech industry having operations in our community.
  • While the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are iconic in Philadelphia’s history, our community is home to other major breakthroughs, including the first computer, bank, separation of Siamese twins, pediatric double-hand transplant, and FDA-approved gene therapy treatment for cancer. These facts and more are why Greater Philadelphia is known as a region of “firsts” – including the first hospital (Pennsylvania Hospital), medical college (Penn), pharmacy school (University of the Sciences), university (Penn), private biomedical research center in the United States (Wistar Institute), and more.
  • Johnson & Johnson opened their first JPOD in Greater Philadelphia, at Pennovation Works, and is intended to be truly regional by inviting projects and entrepreneurs from northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania to advance projects from concept to reality.
  • The opening of a new $75 million clinical manufacturing facility at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It’s a climate-controlled underground lab complex with airlock-doorways that serves a state-of-the-art cell and gene therapy testing and production center.
  • Philadelphia is the nation’s first “World Heritage City” based on our outstanding universal and historical value.

Select Greater Philadelphia & Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

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