With strong industrial roots, Pennsylvania has long been synonymous with the various manufacturers that established themselves there throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. From coal, iron, and steel, to textiles, pharmaceuticals, and processed food factories, Pennsylvania was home to a diversity of enterprises. The challenge only started when the headquarters of the computer industry moved to California and the focus of the global economy switched to technology.
However, it didn’t take long until Pennsylvania became the place to start and grow tech-based businesses. The rise has been fueled by innovative start-ups, top universities, and many already established companies that chose to contribute to the area’s thriving tech scene. Whether it’s a well-known company or a start-up trying to find its place in Pennsylvania’s vast tech scene, the innovative ideas these businesses bring help to develop the entire area.
Companies That Are Part of Pennsylvania’s Tech Scene
Many big names have seen the potential of the area, tapping into the rich talent pool Pennsylvania has to offer. The likes of Amazon, Google, Uber, and Zoom are but a few of those prolific companies that have set up operations within the state. The exchange of benefits between the state and these companies is mutual, especially when it comes to employing people. Google, for example, has more than 500 employees from all over the country that chose to relocate to Pennsylvania. Opening a business in a place with an abundance of tech talent opens doors to a bright future.
Having big companies set up shop in Pennsylvania or move their headquarters from other locations is admittedly a big step, however, it’s emerging artificial intelligence and robotics firms that are truly taking the tech world by storm. One of those is Aurora, a Pittsburgh-headquartered, self-driving technology startup founded in 2017 that’s revolutionizing the future of transportation. Last year, Aurora was the protagonist in the best tech news at the time, when it announced it was acquiring Uber’s self-driving unit, Advanced Technologies Group (ATG). The move accelerated the growth of the company, which now has the technology and the people of ATG to deliver self-driving products.
All sorts of companies are driving the state forwards, contributing to the general economy. Since the state has started receiving more attention, other industries have started participating in its growth. An industry worth mentioning is online casinos, which, since 2017, have become legal all around the state.
Pennsylvania online casinos have expanded tremendously since then, launching many platforms that are able to offer a full suite of games, from poker and blackjack to slots and roulette. Further growth within this industry is, of course, inevitable due to the sheer number of consumers plugging in to play daily. Furthermore, technological advancements continually improve the scope and number of games available, whilst competitors drive growth with the use of bonuses and incentives.
Why Relocate to Pennsylvania?
Now you might be wondering why so many companies choose to relocate to cities like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Lancaster, ditching the overcrowded Silicon Valley. Besides the renowned universities and reliable infrastructure, there are reasons that go beyond the great quality of life. Small businesses, tech firms, and well-known manufacturers all receive funding and technical expertise through the Ben Franklin Technology Partners development program. Moreover, entrepreneurs that manage to create 25 new jobs in three years or increase staff by 20% receive a $1,000-per-job tax credit.
Since its inception in 1983, Ben Franklin Technology Partners has contributed more than $25 billion to the Pennsylvania economy, while creating more than 148,000 jobs. There’s an already established mentality in the area to help anyone willing to grow and develop the ecosystem, particularly start-up entrepreneurs. More importantly, the state is putting its resources in that direction, choosing to support the area’s emerging tech hub. For example, between 2012 and 2016, for every $1 that the state had invested, the program produced $3.90 in additional state tax revenue.
Although Pittsburgh has gone through a technological makeover, becoming an innovation hub that has been named a top ‘NextTech’ city, it’s Lancaster that is stealing the spotlight. This culturally diverse city has received quite a lot of attention in recent years, due to its entrepreneurial resources and sense of community. Moreover, it’s an affordable city to start a business, with many institutions and organizations dedicated to offering the right support so that start-ups succeed. Networking and being surrounded by like-minded people is also easy since there are plenty of coworking spaces.
Pennsylvania is a vibrant hub for companies from all tech backgrounds, welcoming each and every start-up that decides to call it home. Its spirit of innovation is what initially attracts tech company founders, but it is the exceptional quality of life that convinces them to stay. It’s affordable and it offers easy access to many other big cities while preserving its strong sense of community. All things considered, there’s no wonder so many businesses choose to come here.