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What is Delaware’s next big thing?

Our stakeholders have spoken: These are the trends to watch for in Delaware.

August 2019's stakeholder meeting. (Photo by Julie Zeglen)
Delaware has had its share of economic development trends, from gunpowder during the Civil War to big finance and its 50-year roller coaster in Wilmington.

We gathered a group of 20 stakeholders — community members who share our mission of working to grow technology, entrepreneurship and business locally — ahead of Super Meetup 2019 and asked: “What do you think is Delaware’s next ‘big thing’?”

The group included software developers, entrepreneurs, educators, marketers, filmmakers, healthcare professionals and one futurist.

Here are five of the thing they say are — or will be — kind of a big deal in Delaware:

1. ’80s flashback, but make it biotech

In 1981, Gov. Pierre du Pont signed a piece of legislation called the Financial Center Development Act (FCDA). Within 24 months, 40,000 banking jobs opened up in Delaware.

The boom didn’t last forever — though fintech is thriving in Delaware these days.

Could another FCDA happen today? It could, said Ariel Gruswitz, director of innovation for Delaware Prosperity Partnership. But if a piece of legislation makes that much impact to Delaware’s economy, it will most likely be not about finance, but biotech.

2. We’re all tech

We’ve been saying this for awhile now, and out stakeholders continue to say the same thing: “Every company is a tech company,” said Frank DeSantis, longtime fixture in Delaware business development, currently with CEO Think Tank.

That includes banks, law firms, farms and corporation services, as well as smaller “non-tech” companies that increasingly rely on technology to run their businesses.

3. Growing your own

There’s a lot of talk about recruitment in the tech sector, especially as the number of tech job openings exceed the number of qualified applicants.

“Companies are growing their own talent rather than recruiting,” said Gruswitz. That means offering training internally. In some cases, such as one program at Christiana Care, it can move low-level service employees into programming jobs.

4. Public/private collaboration

Collaboration, especially between the public and private sector, is a big thing these days, says John Williams, president of Inc. Now (which happens to be Delaware’s first B Corporation).

The collaborations are instrumental in the “river-to-river greenification of Wilmington.”

5. Promotion of women in education

Dan Young, educator at Goldey-Beacom College’s doctoral program, noted that the Delaware higher education world is ruled by women, including Colleen Perry Keith, president of Goldey-Beacom; Wilma Mishoe, president of Delaware State University; and Laverne T. Harmon, president of Wilmington University, all represent the promotion of women to the still-male-dominated position.


Interested in getting in on one of our quarterly stakeholders meetings? Drop us a line at


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