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Economics / Municipal government

Philadelphia and the art of the public-private partnership

When it wants to support the tech scene, the Nutter administration has often turned to public-private partnerships. Ahead of our civic innovation conference, we take a look at three prominent ones.

Sallie Mae's former headquarters in Reston, Va. (Photo by Flicker user Reston 2020, used under a Creative Commons license)

A social enterprise accelerator, a city-backed venture fund and a network of free computer labs to combat the digital divide.

Several of the buzziest, most exciting projects to emerge from Philadelphia’s tech scene in the last five years have been public-private partnerships.

Through them, the Nutter administration has declared its dedication to growing the Philadelphia tech scene, with the help of local venture capital firms, accelerators and universities. It’s also tried to take cues from the startup world.

When Mayor Michael Nutter opened his office of New Urban Mechanics, an incubator for public-private partnerships, he told directors Story Bellows and Jeff Friedman (now with Microsoft) that if they didn’t fail, they weren’t trying hard enough, Bellows has said.

We’ll be talking about how cities along the East Coast are crafting their public-private partnerships at Rise, our civic innovation conference held from Oct. 22-24.

Get tickets

Here’s a look at three Philly public-private partnerships and how they’re faring:

Companies: City of Philadelphia / Drexel University / GoodCompany Group
People: Jeff Friedman / Michael Nutter / Story Bellows
Projects: FastFWD / StartUp PHL / KEYSPOT

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