It’s time more of the world knows about Philadelphia’s burgeoning tech scene.
That was the thinking behind Select Greater Philadelphia‘s first press tour for international journalists focused on high tech entrepreneurship and innovation. Think “Geeks on a Train,” but for the press corps and global.
The business attraction organization hosts about seven international journalists on these press tours three times a year and has previously focused on sectors like life sciences, video gaming and aerospace and defense, said Select Greater Philadelphia spokesman Bryan Evans, but based on the growth of the tech startup scene, it decided to focus on innovation this time around.
“We see it bubbling in the region,” Evans said, referring to tech entrepreneurship. “So many entrepreneurs want to be here.”
It’s an effort to work on what people call Philadelphia’s “image problem.” The hope is that the press tour won’t be a “one and done,” as Select Greater Philadelphia CEO Tom Morr said at Tuesday’s kickoff dinner, but that reporters and editors will keep the Philly region and its tech businesses in mind when doing future coverage.
It’s unclear what the event’s impact will be, and if, in three days, these international journalists will be able to get the appropriate context which with to report on the region, but it’s notable still that an organization is doing work like this.
Select Greater Philadelphia plans on holding more press tours focused on high-tech, Evans said.
This week’s tour included stops at Indy Hall, where Mayor Michael Nutter greeted the journalists, Conshohocken’s NextDocs, where journalists met with several other suburban tech companies like Chariot Solutions and Monetate, the Delaware Biotechnology Institute and a tour of Comcast kicked off with a panel on the early-stage technology community.
Select Greater Philadelphia, as its mission and affiliation to the Chamber of Commerce commands, really pushed the region as a whole, stressing that it’s composed of three states — New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware — and not just Philadelphia proper.
The journalists included reporters and editors from Germany, France, Israel and China from general interest publications, as well as those focused on business and technology and even social entrepreneurship — Paris-based YouPhil.com. Backed by corporate sponsorships from companies like Comcast, Select Greater Philadelphia flies the journalists out to Philadelphia and pays for their accommodations as part of the tour.