Philadelphia was only the second city in the country after San Francisco to land a Microsoft Reactor — a combination incubator, training center and event space — a key win that came thanks to the advocacy of leading venture capital firm SeventySix Capital. While New York’s Reactor, announced after Philadelphia’s, cut the ribbon first, the grand opening at the University City Science Center in October drew praise from city leaders and the tech community alike.
Why it’s transformational: The Reactor has big plans, particularly to boost inclusion in the city’s tech scene, a constant criticism levied against it. The Reactor’s stakeholders want to reach beyond its walls and draw in youth from surrounding, often struggling, West Philadelphia neighborhoods and introduce them to tech concepts on the ground level. If it succeeds, along with the University City Science Center’s and Drexel University’s major projects in the area, there will be more active participants in the city’s economy and a new course of action aimed at reducing the city’s poverty rate.