With its evolving tech scene and promising business opportunities, learn why Wilmington may just be one of the country's newest tech hubs.
Wilmington, Delaware is under construction – and for great reason. In just a short stroll down Market Street, you can see that the lifeline of this city is the creativity of its people and the beauty of its community. New shops and restaurants, revitalization projects, eye-catching art and beautiful co-working spaces are evidence that tides are shifting.
According to Bloomberg research, Wilmington outpaced the tech employment growth of the Philadelphia Metro region, Southern Pennsylvania and New Jersey from 2010 through 2015. In that time, the city added 4,400 new tech jobs. What’s more, the millennial population is growing, accounting for 26.3 percent of the city’s population.
Wilmington is a developing technology hub, so it only makes sense that Zip Code would be here.
Let’s take a quick glance at a few key reasons: the need, infrastructure, location and innovation.
The Immediate Need
Zip Code Wilmington was created to fill a void for the city. Before opening Zip Code's doors, the founding team surveyed and learned that 600 jobs were immediately available for the skills that Zip Code Wilmington would provide.
That's 600 jobs for people in the State – and 600 reasons for businesses to want to stay.
Zip Code Wilmington’s focus on filling jobs, is a two-part win for Wilmington: businesses are able to work at their full capacity and locals are able to find jobs that will support their families and make them competitive in the job market.
It hasn't always been an easy road.
In the last few years, Delawareans have witnessed a dominant industry shift to a more technology-focused space, from a chemical engineering and pharmaceutical space. This change means that programmers are in high-demand. Having the skills to assist new creative startups as well as Wilmington’s large banking corporations makes Zip Coders ideal candidates for job openings.
Code.org projects that by 2020, there will be an estimated one million more computing jobs than applicants who can fill them.
In 2015 President Obama launched the TechHire initiative, a campaign to expand local tech sectors by building tech talent pipelines in communities across the country. Zip Code Wilmington began as a way to align with that initiative in the Delaware tech sector, with push from then Governor Jack Markell and JP Morgan Chase.
Connectivity is key! Did you know that Delaware has excellent internet? Not only does it beat most U.S. cities but it rivals some of the best in the world including Hong Kong.
State officials have invested in improving broadband connections over the last five years. In 2013, the legislature passed a measure to build up broadband service to schools, libraries and rural areas throughout the state. Today, the updated fiber-optic infrastructure runs the length of the state, from New Castle to Sussex County.
And that’s a good thing for the tech industry and startups alike.
Location, Location, Location
People may joke about the small size of Delaware, but they can’t deny the prime location of the state. As the east coast begins to create a tech corridor that is similar to the west coast’s Silicon Valley, Delaware is in the center of it all.
Wilmington is just down the road from Philadelphia and can get you to New York, Baltimore and Washington D.C. in about two hours – all thriving metropolitan areas.
So, while some laugh at its miniature stature and reduce Delaware to its beautiful beaches and famous VP Joe Biden, Wilmington is positioning itself for long-term tech strength.
Not to mention, its well-known tax benefits.
Innovation Down the Street
The city is bustling with new ideas and innovation. (There’s even a Delaware Innovation Week in case you needed more convincing.) There’s been a surge of creativity with artists, co-working spaces, maker spaces and so much more.
The burgeoning startup community have well-known players such as The Mill and 1313 Innovation, coworking spaces that encourage a sense of community and culture in Wilmington’s downtown area.
Then there is NextFab Wilmington, the Philadelphia transplant makerspace that provides access to tools like 3D printers and offers incubator and accelerator programs.
Then there is Carvertise, the car billboard startup that began in 2012 has quickly grown to a national scale that “dominates the streets.”
And the Archer Group, UD's Horn Program, Technical.ly Delaware, Start It Up Delaware... the list goes on.
There has been a shift where startups and creative businesses have risen to become a norm within Wilmington. Fresh new ideas and perspectives are welcomed to help find solutions to problems plaguing the state from activist groups to government and even art.
The shift to focus on the non-traditional tech hubs such as Wilmington, Delaware, displays the critical role technology plays across every industry. We are watching a rebirth of the city with technology as its main player.
Zip Code Wilmington is proud to have played a crucial role in training the city’s workforce to fill the increasing number of tech jobs. To date, Zip Code has graduated over 200 students.
As programmers continue to be in high demand, Zip Code Wilmington is able to set up Delawareans with a competitive advantage. New coders have the ability to innovate the world around them, and even the great city of Wilmington.
Join us on September 28th at 4pm in Rodney Square as we show our love for our City. Wilmingtonians are working hard— creating jobs, rebuilding neighborhoods, and generating opportunities— and it is time we celebrated. So, on September 28th the Mayor’s office will be unveiling a new promotional campaign for the City and announcing new resources to help shine a light on the individuals, groups and organizations doing the work, to tell each and every story.
Enjoy entertainment from homegrown talent and have dinner from a few of Wilmington’s best food trucks. Get information and resources from over 30 local community groups, organizations and businesses.