Forbes has chosen Philadelphia as the permanent home of its 30 Under 30 Summit - a gathering of young entrepreneurs that organizers hope will become the nation's most elite networking event for the next generation of business and political leaders.
The announcement Monday was timed to coincide with the release of the magazine's annual "Forbes 30 Under 30" list, a who's who tally of 600 entrepreneurs and leaders under age 30 that seeks to be as buzzy as its annual billionaires' list.
Forbes' 30 Under 30 Summit made a four-day debut here in October, and Forbes officials toyed with the idea of moving the fledgling confab to a different city each year. The decision to stay in Philadelphia was made after several months of negotiations between Mayor Nutter and top Forbes officials.
So many of the summit's invitation-only attendees had such good things to say about the October event, said Forbes editor Randall Lane, that it was hard to imagine going anywhere else.
"It was so clear it was a winner," said Lane, a University of Pennsylvania alumnus who chose Philadelphia in the first place because of its fast-growing population of twentysomethings, its proximity to New York and Washington, and its emerging image as hip, young, and moving on up.
Also key, Lane said, was what Nutter promised: No explicit financial support but introductions to local corporations, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit institutions that might sponsor the event as it grows beyond the 2,000 who attended last fall.
Nutter, who vigorously embraced hosting the inaugural 2014 event when Lane proposed it, said the impact of having it permanently affixed to the city would be significant, if not immediately quantifiable in dollars and cents.
"Whenever you have [2,000] of the greatest young entrepreneurs in Philadelphia, and at one time," Nutter said, "that's a big thing in and of itself."
The October conference featured talks and appearances by big names from business and the political realm, including former America Online chairman Steve Case, Spanx founder-billionaire Sara Blakely, onetime White House intern-turned-scandal-figure Monica Lewinsky, and teenage Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai.
Its media presence on the Web was huge. Some events were streamed over the Internet. Others were packaged and distributed on Twitter by Forbes' social media staff. Even a specially designed mobile-phone app was introduced to attendees, who used it to blast out their comings and goings and to see what everyone else was up to.
"It reached 750 million people over social media," Lane said - a measure that includes Twitter and Facebook shares.
"Everything worked so well and seamlessly," Lane said, that the idea of turning the conference into a Philadelphia standby seemed logical.
The next summit, Oct. 4 through 7, will take place, as did the first, at the Convention Center.
Do not expect, however, that attendance will rise far beyond 2,000. For the most part, only vetted applicants or people who make Forbes' 30 Under 30 list can attend this "velvet rope" event, though Lane said several hundred more would be included in 2015.
Forbes hopes this confab will resemble, at least in some sense, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that draws major business figures and world leaders, or the highly exclusive Cannes Film Festival in France.
There is no signed contract compelling Forbes to hold the event in town year after year. But Lane said that was the goal as organizers work to expand the summit and burnish its reputation and prestige.
Nutter said he was eager to showcase the city intimately to more attendees the second time around. Rather than filling only one 50-seat bus with attendees for a cozy daylong tour of budding businesses around the city, as was done last year, the mayor said at least two would be filled in 2015.
Additionally, dozens of attendees - rather than only a handful last year - would be invited to speak at schools across the city.
The benefit, as Nutter measured it, would be in potential value, rather than immediate value, to the city economy. For instance, merely having successful young entrepreneurs from elsewhere make connections with local ones could pay off many times over if it leads to a local business' growing or an outside one's deciding to plant stakes in Philadelphia.
"It's about creating business opportunity," Nutter said. "Creating jobs. Economic vitality."