I Love My Job: Farmer Norm from Linvilla Orchards

Farmer Norm Schultz takes a bite of an apple at Linvilla Orchards.

Delaware County farm Linvilla Orchards is always busy. But the next couple of weeks, with Halloween pumpkins and pick-your-own apples in full swing, are by far the busiest. So we thought we’d check in with Linvilla farm manager Norm Schultz. Read more »

It’s Happening: Benjamin’s Desk Merges With 1776

On stage at Philly’s 1776 Challenge Cup pitch competition. Courtesy photo.

Philly-founded co-working network Benjamin’s Desk has announced that it will merge with Washington, D.C.-based public benefit corporation 1776. Both organizations say the merger will help them better meet their top goal: funneling more support and resources to entrepreneurs across the Northeast corridor.

Benjamin’s Desk cofounders Anthony Maher and Jennifer Maher will lead the organization’s daily operations as co-CEOs, and 1776 cofounder and CEO Evan Burfield will become executive chairman of the combined incubator network, which will operate under the 1776 brand. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

“Five years ago, we couldn’t find the right combination of resources to grow our family’s real estate startup, so we built them ourselves,” said Jennifer Maher. “In 1776, we’ve found kindred spirits who understand the impact entrepreneurs can make when they have resources, mentors, and inspiring spaces in which to work.”  Read more »

Philly Startup Leaders Really Needs to Clean Up Its Act

At PSL’s Summer BBQ. Photo by Fabiola Cineas.

Philadelphia’s tech community is obviously not what it was ten years ago. Probably every tech leader I’ve interviewed has marveled at how quickly the scene has grown. They usually sound like: “Back then, it was just a handful of us. Now I hardly know anyone at tech events.”

Ten years ago was also when tech community members loosely organized to form what we now call Philly Startup Leaders, or PSL. And like the scene it seeks to amplify, the nonprofit organization has grown. It’s now a point of entry for many entrepreneurs new to Philly, and for those already here, it’s a rich network packed with resources and a means to signature events like the PSL Summer BBQ, Founder Factory, and the Entrepreneur Expo. But while PSL has grown in popularity, its messaging and leadership have remained dangerously stunted. Read more »

Jefferson Moves to Merge With Philly’s Monell Center

Image via Twitter.

Jefferson Health just announced yet another plan to merge with a local institution. The health network wants to merge with the University City-based Monell Center. The two groups announced the signing of a non-binding Letter of Intent to move forward with merger talks.

The Monell Center, founded nearly 50 years ago, is known for its research on the senses of taste and smell, and the proposed merger would allow the combined group to translate the research into clinical practice.

“We will be able to go further than ever before to link the senses to health,” said Stephen K. Klasko, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. “When you combine our clinical work with the entrepreneurial, academic environment of our University, the groundbreaking research that occurs at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College and now add the esteemed Monell Center into the mix, this is how you improve lives.”  Read more »

Here’s What I Learned at This Year’s Rise of the Rest Tour

Judges on stage at central Pa.’s Rise of the Rest pitch competition. Image via Twitter.

We are better and stronger together. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest (ROTR) Tour stop in central Pennsylvania on Tuesday proved this when it brought together the tech communities of York, Lancaster and Harrisburg for a day of networking, frank conversations and, of course, the tour’s $100,000 pitch competition.

The day celebrated the unique aspects of tech entrepreneurship in each city but also put a spotlight on the region as a whole as the bus traveled from York to Lancaster, and to the final stop in Harrisburg. Governor Wolf was present for much of the tour and spoke to the high economic impact of entrepreneurship, specifically tech entrepreneurship. Deputy Secretary Sheri Collins was also present as she was for when AOL cofounder and Revolution’s chairman and CEO Steve Case visited us in Philly in 2015. The Pitch Competition at the Harrisburg Midtown Art Center brought tech startups from across the central Pennsylvania region to compete for the $100,000 check. I joined Steve on stage along with four other judges:  Read more »

Pa., N.J. Among States Giving Most Tax Incentives to Amazon

L: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf; R: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

The deadline to submit bids for Amazon’s HQ2 is fast approaching, and over the last month, cities have made some pretty outlandish moves to draw the company’s attention. But a new report from the national Business Journal shows that cities and states are actually quite familiar with the Amazon dance in which they dish out billions in taxpayer subsidies and incentives. The publication found that at least $1.24 billion in taxpayer incentives and abatements have been awarded to the company in the last decade nationwide.

Because Amazon typically pledges to locate facilities and bring jobs to various locales, the subsidies come pouring in. In a ranking of the top 20 states that have pledged the most taxpayer subsidies in support of Amazon.com, Pennsylvania, which is home to 13 Amazon facilities, came in at No. 17 for $24.8 million in total known subsidies. The figure accounts for the dollar value of local and state tax abatements and subsidies awarded directly to Amazon or in support of its facilities, the Business Journal says.  Read more »

Penn, Temple Rank High in New Innovation Economy Report

L: Penn’s campus (iStock). R: Temple’s campus.

A new Brookings Institution report that ranks universities according to their commercial impact places both the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University in the top 10.

The report specifically looks at universities located in the downtowns of cities to assess how the schools drive innovation, or commercialization, according to factors like number of licensing deals, patents, and startups formed. Penn ranked No. 4 in the report and Temple came in at No. 7. Philadelphia and New York are the only two cities with more than one institution in the top 10.

“Economic theory suggests that universities located in the downtowns of cities should have greater commercial success than other universities because the former can take advantage of ‘factor markets,’ local ecosystems that make available numerous means of production,” wrote the report’s author Scott Andes. Yet few studies have analyzed the subject until now. The new report not only analyzes this concept, but also ranks the downtown institutions to show who’s the most successful at commercialization.  Read more »

Why Wal-Mart Is Going After Seniors at Penn

How many Penn students want to work for Wal-Mart once they graduate? Probably very few (if any), but the company is on a mission to change that. This fall, Wal-Mart has been camping out at Penn in a brightly colored recruitment RV to send a message to some of the country’s brightest students: Work for Wal-Mart!

According to Bloomberg, the company is trying to reinvent itself to rival the growing threat of Amazon, and a big tactic is its new focus on talent at the nation’s top schools. The company recently overhauled its student recruitment program to specifically attract graduates who typically get offers from big names like Goldman Sachs and Google.  Read more »

I Love My Job: This Woman Will Make You Want to Cheat on Your Barber

Jacque “Sci-Fi” Scott at work at Another Planet Barbershop. Photo courtesy of Ben Bowens Photography.

Barber Jacque’ Scott, better known as Sci-Fi, is definitely on the come up. The 27-year-old hair magician can allegedly turn any head into a mind-blowing piece of art. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Just check out the 5-star Yelp reviews calling her the “best barber in Philly.” Or you can ask the celebrity athletes who have spent time in her chair. Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks has made a visit and so have Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry and Major League Soccer player Justin Morrow, among others. Sci-Fi’s journey has been far from easy. For starters, she’s a woman in a male-dominated field and opening a small business in Philly on one’s own isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Right now, Sci-Fi’s shopAnother Planet Barber Shop, LLC — located at 808 South Street, is completely run by the young entrepreneur, though she’s looking to welcome others (she has plans to hire two stylists and three barbers soon). In this interview, Sci-Fi tells us what it’s like to transition from running a business at home to one on Philly’s most popular commercial corridors. She gives us the backstory on her nickname, captivating style and heartfelt vision. She says that everyone, no matter what hair texture you have or whom you love, is welcome for a cut. Sci-Fi’s story will definitely make you want to cheat on your barberRead more »

Suburban Station to Get “Major” Food and Retail Upgrade

L: Rendering of renovated 16th Street corridor. R: Logo for Station Shops at Suburban. Photos courtesy of AthenianRazak.

The concourse at Suburban Station is finally getting a much-needed upgrade. In 2018, the space will be less of an underground pedestrian thruway and more a destination where commuters can actually stop in for shopping or attractive lunch and dinner options.

The group overseeing the impending changes is Philly-based real estate services firm AthenianRazak. Last fall, the company took over the master lease for all retail space owned by SEPTA at the Suburban Station Concourse.

AthenianRazak principal and CEO Jackie Buhn told Philadelphia magazine that Suburban Station’s 16th Street corridor will get the first wave of the $3.75 million improvements in early 2018. The space will be transformed under the new name Station Shops at SuburbanRead more »

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