Despite the dire economic forecasts dominating national airwaves, everything's coming up roses at City Hall.
Mayor Michael Nutter is kicking off a series of economic development events this September in the hopes of restoring confidence in Philadelphia commerce and giving the local economy a much-needed jolt.
“It’s an exciting moment for the city,” he said yesterday. “We’ve been through a lot. This is the time to make plans and to get out of the worst recession in a century. The system is in place and the teams are in place.”
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The city's new initiative, “Smart City, Smart Choice,” aims to draw job-creating industry through a series of policies, investments and an interesting outreach campaign.
Local businesses are invited to enter a video competition by submitting 30-second shorts explaining why Philadelphia is a wise location for their company. Winners will be featured on the city's Facebook page and their videos will be used to publicize Philly's perks.
“No language is spoken better than business-to-business language,” Nutter said. “This is packaged in a certain way that allows us to present an audio and video introduction about why people should be doing business in Philadelphia.”
But why now?
“The national economy is affected by anxiety and there have been a lot of recent reports that have caused nervousness,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger. “This is a good way to assure people that Philadelphia is economically stable and a great place to do business.”
Philly’s six pluses
The ‘Smart City, Smart Choice’ initiative has six pillars.
1) Location: Philadelphia is walkable, amenity-rich and competitively-priced with a solid transportation infrastructure and the largest freshwater port in the U.S.
2) Company: The city is aggressively attracting and retaining businesses by offering low-interest loans, grants and tax credits and offering an educated workforce and reasonably-priced land sales.
3) People: Philadelphia's workforce investment system provides education, skills training and employment services.
4) Government: The city has been working to make interactions between businesses and the city more efficient by making more services available online, reforming zoning and permit processes and dedicating an office to helping small businesses navigate city services.
5) Living: Philadelphia constantly invests in residential quality-of-life improvements including cultural institutions, commercial corridors, waterfront projects and sustainable infrastructure.
6) Investment: Philadelphia has pursued federal funding and private grants to strategically invest in sectors with the highest job growth and those in which Philadelphia has a competitive advantage.