Forbes Under 30 Summit Ditches Philly for Boston
It seemed as though the Forbes Under 30 Summit had found a permanent home in Philadelphia — but now the conference is headed to Boston for 2016 after Mayor Jim Kenney‘s office declined to commit $2 million in funding for the project.
For the past two years, the summit brought together many talented young businesspeople from the magazine’s 30 Under 30 list and featured speakers like Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, YouTube sensation Michelle Phan and even the first-ever public address from Monica Lewinsky. Last year’s conference ended with a free concert from Fetty Wap, Shawn Mendes and Hanson.
Sure the 2014 and 2015 events boosted the economy with hotel-room stays, dinners and shopping, but Forbes would not offer details about the conferences’ economic impact, according to Lauren Hitt, the mayor’s communications director.
“If you can’t detail the economic impact, can you show us how this $2 million will be spent? We even asked how many hotel rooms were filled and they didn’t have the data …” said Hitt. “We can’t keep taxpayers on the hook for $2 million without knowing how it will move the city forward.”
Forbes and the City of Philadelphia have had the same contract in place for the past two years, said Hitt. This year’s summit is scheduled for October 16th-19th.
With approximately 2,000 attendees, the Forbes conference is smaller than many of the big expos held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. But bringing so many talented young minds to the city served as a bit of validation that Philly was emerging an entrepreneurial and new business hub for young professionals — and gave local business owners some terrific networking opportunities. Still, the business community wasn’t willing to put enough money toward the event. In fact, Newsworks reported in December that a city-controlled nonprofit paid Forbes $1.7 million for last year’s conference. The fundraising outlook for 2016 seemed bleak, said Hitt.
“We were attempting to fundraise and reached out to members of the business community — and no one really was responsive,” said Hitt. “There was no real sense from the business community that this was important to have.”
The news was first reported by Billy Penn. Forbes Editor Randall Lane did not respond to a request for comment. The magazine is expected to make a formal announcement later today but did send out the following tweet:
— Forbes PR (@ForbesPR) March 7, 2016
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