Mayor Kenney wants startups in every neighborhood - Philly


May 6, 2016 9:13 am

Mayor Kenney wants startups in every neighborhood

At his third appearance during Philly Tech Week 2016, the mayor spoke about his hopes for the Philly startup scene.

Mayor Jim Kenney speaks at the Philly Startup Leaders Entrepreneur Expo.

(Photo by Roberto Torres)

On Saturday, he went to see kids write code in North Philly.

On Monday, he answered questions from tech experts.

By Wednesday, Mayor Jim Kenney hit his third tech event when he spoke at the Entrepreneur Expo, a Philly Startup Leaders’ initiative held during Philly Tech Week 2016 presented by Comcast.

Introduced by PSL President Brock Weatherup, Kenney said his presence at the event was aimed at supporting the community of entrepreneurs in attendance:

During his short remarks, Kenney made a statement already heard at the Mayoral Tech Town Hall: He wants people to think of innovation and not poverty when Philadelphia is mentioned.

After stepping off the podium, he spoke with us on his hopes for the growth of the Philly startup scene.

“First of all, I would like to see startups in every neighborhood,” Kenney said, straining his voice above the roar of the hundreds of attendees gathered at 23rd Street Armory. “I want to see them in every business strip, popping up.”

Call it a neighborhood-level innovation agenda, which, it must be said, goes against the theory of clustering that has favored certain areas (University City, N3rd Street, etc.) over others.

Kenney signaled that the Nutter-launched StartUp PHL program will continue to be the main vehicle for city government support.

“We’ll provide technical assistance, direction for capital and access to potential city contracts: every aspect the city government can help to benefit startup companies in the city. There’s no limit to it,” Kenney said, maybe getting a little caught up in the moment.

Since the beginning of his administration, the mayor has frequently approached the tech scene, focusing on its potential for creating economic opportunities that can help poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Philadelphia. As we’ve reported before, tech isn’t really his thing but, admirably, he keeps showing up.

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