It should come as no surprise to readers of Flying Kite that a lot of innovation – and news of innovation – comes from the University City Science Center.
Now Flying Kite and the Science Center have embarked on a new partnership, a way to keep up with the amazing output generated by this dynamic hub for innovation, entrepreneurship and technology commercialization.
For the next year as "Writer in Residence," I’ll be filing regular dispatches, offering an in-depth look at the West Philly institution's scientists, entrepreneurs, startups, and established companies, along with the work it does to move technology out of the lab and into the marketplace.
Founded in 1963, the Science Center is the oldest and largest urban research park in the United States. In service of its goal -- "to inspire a community of knowledge, spark the spirit of enterprise, and help expand and strengthen the Philadelphia’s region’s technology sector" – the campus offers an array of services including lab and office space, business incubation, support services and programming for entrepreneurs.
A few numbers reflect the magnitude of the Science Center’s impact on the region:
- The Science Center has 17 buildings – and is fast growing – at its 17-acre West Philadelphia campus.
- 8,000 people come to work at the Science Center every day.
- More than 350 companies have "graduated" since 1963.
- 93 graduate companies located in Greater Philadelphia employ 15,000 people.
- Graduate and current incubator companies generate $9.4 billion in annual regional economic impact.
- The Science Center’s 31 nonprofit shareholders include many of the region’s leading colleges, universities, hospitals and research institutions.
Over the next year, Flying Kite will report on many aspects of the Science Center’s programs and resources. For now, a quick primer:
- The Port Business Incubators flexibly accommodate the changing needs of emerging, fast-growth life sciences, physical sciences and digital technology companies. The Global Soft Landing Program fosters international business in the U.S. by helping global companies establish a foothold in local life sciences and IT markets. The Digital Health Accelerator (DHA) supports early-stage digital health companies with funding, office space, professional mentorship and introductions to key stakeholders in the region.
- The QED Proof-of-Concept Program supports proof-of-concept work in early-stage life science and health technologies with commercial potential.
- Quorum unites the region’s entrepreneurial and innovation communities through a central gathering space on the Science Center campus.
- FirstHand adds art to the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) to create project-based STEAM programs and workshops that empower individuals and convene communities around creative applications of technology.
- The Innovation Center @3401 is a flexible workspace for startups.
- Blackstone LaunchPad Philadelphia supports student entrepreneurship in the Greater Philadelphia region through a partnership between Philadelphia University, Temple University and the Science Center.
So watch this space and stay abreast as the Science Center takes Philadelphia innovators "from idea to IPO."