University City Keystone Innovation Zone Expands to Old City, N3rd Street Startup Community

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Today Mayor Jim Kenney and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, alongside The University City Keystone Innovation Zone (UC KIZ), announced that the UC KIZ has received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to expand its existing boundaries to include the growing tech community in Old City, including the area along N. 3rd Street, known as “N3rd Street.

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We’re committed to helping Philadelphia’s innovation community flourish throughout the City, and tools like KIZs are a big part of that equation.

Today Mayor Jim Kenney and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, alongside The University City Keystone Innovation Zone (UC KIZ), announced that the UC KIZ has received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to expand its existing boundaries to include the growing tech community in Old City, including the area along N. 3rd Street, known as “N3rd Street.

“The expansion of the UC KIZ is an incredibly important development for Philadelphia's startup community," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "The inclusion of Old City will bolster the already exciting growth of tech companies we've seen on and around N3rd St. We’re committed to helping Philadelphia’s innovation community flourish throughout the City, and tools like KIZs are a big part of that equation.”

As a result of the expansion, a new swath of companies in Philadelphia’s growing innovation ecosystem will be able to access up to $100,000 annually in sellable tax credits. The DCED could award as much as $1.2 million in tax credits to newly eligible companies within the expanded zone in 2017. Many KIZ Tax Credit awardees invest those funds in new employees, while others purchase equipment to further develop and commercialize products and technologies.

“We need to nurture the talent pipeline that exists in Pennsylvania from higher education to business ownership by providing as many opportunities as possible to support their efforts,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin. “We are thrilled with the success of the KIZ program and are extremely excited with the increased opportunities available in Philadelphia through the expansion of the UC KIZ.”

Pennsylvania’s Keystone Innovation Zone Tax Credit is a fundamental component of the KIZ program. Up to $25 million in credits are available each year to eligible companies. Companies without tax liabilities can sell their tax credits themselves or secure a third-party, independent broker to sell the credits on their behalf.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are thriving all across Philadelphia – from University City and uCity Square all the way to N3rd Street,” says Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA, President & CEO of the University City Science Center, which serves as the fiscal agent of the UC KIZ. “Thanks to this expansion, the UC KIZ will be better equipped to accommodate and support the cluster of tech startups in Old City while helping to attract and retain even more early-stage companies in Philadelphia.”

Twenty-one startup companies in the UC KIZ received a collective $1.8 million in tax credits awarded by the DCED in 2015 as part of the KIZ Tax Credit Program. Over the last 10 years, 48 UC KIZ companies have benefited from almost $8 million in KIZ Tax Credits.

“Our recent KIZ Tax Credit award will help our company retain two software developers” says first-time applicant John Nosek, Founder and Vice President for Research and Product Innovation at Guiding Technologies. “Also, these tax credits meet requirements for matching National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR Phase IB funding, which enhances our chances of obtaining much larger NSF SBIR Phase II and Phase IIB funding.”

About the University City Keystone Innovation Zone
The University City Keystone Innovation Zone was established in 2004 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority as a Keystone Innovation Zone, a geographically designated zone designed to create a “knowledge neighborhood” that develops technology business communities by aligning talent and resources. It is a partnership of BioAdvance, Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University, the University City Science Center, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and The Wistar Institute. UC KIZ partners are committed to working together to ensure that life sciences and information technology opportunities are developed and supported to maximize the potential of university research, start-up companies and international companies seeking to locate in the region. The Science Center serves as the administrative and fiscal agent of the UC KIZ.

For more information about the University City Keystone Innovation Zone, call (215) 966-6156 or visit https://www.sciencecenter.org/programs/university-city-keystone-innovation-zone.

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Jeanne Mell

Kristen Fitch