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Philadelphia Joins Economic Development Network for Sustainable Growth

The Philadelphia region has been chosen to participate in an economic development network that will assist the city in developing plans for sustainable growth.

The exchange was created by the Global Cities Initiative, a five-year joint project between Brookings and JPMorgan Chase. It will help metropolitan areas like Philadelphia in restructuring their economy to have a more robust international presence.

The region was chosen along with Baltimore, Houston, Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis, Fresno, Calif., and Kansas City, Mo. The seven cities join current members that include Chicago, Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio.

"The timing could not be better to join the Global Cities Initiative's Exchange," saidSteve Wray, executive director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia. "It will allow us to draw upon the experiences of peer regions and the expertise of Brookings to tailor strategies that make our region more globally competitive over the long haul."

The Economy League and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia partnered last year to launch a metro export plan to boost regional business growth.

The institutions found that 79 percent of global GDP would take place outside of the United States between 2013 and 2018. The issue is that only 5 percent of U.S. companies export, while only 58 percent of that number export to only one market. Doubling the region's annual export growth rate would generate up to 40,000 new jobs in the region in five years.

The partnership was supported by a $200,000 grant by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which will fund in-depth analysis, strategy development and the formation of a World Class Business Growth network.

International business leaders spoke during the PBJ's Global PHL event in October, emphasizing why the city needs to strengthen its international presence.

"[Philadelphia is] one of the world's most diverse, historic and exciting cities, and yet, we remain, at times, one of America's best-kept secrets," Mayor Michael Nuttersaid. "We're a little shy sometimes and maybe not as outward and outgoing as we should be."

The real challenge is make the city's companies aware of resources that could grow their business, said Linda Mysliwy Conlin, president of the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia.

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Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing