Forbes Under 30: How Mayor Nutter lured the ‘influential’ conference back to Philly

One big help: Connecting Forbes to entrepreneurs and corporate sponsors in the city.

Malala Yousafzai receives the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia.

Malala Yousafzai receives the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia.

Update 2:15 PM: Forbes confirmed to Billy Penn that while there is no multi-year contract, Forbes plans to make Philadelphia its long-term home.

Just 24 hours after this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit had ended, its organizers were back around the table with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. They were negotiating how best to move forward and after that meeting, it was set: One of the year’s biggest events for young entrepreneurs would be back.

The city announced Monday that Forbes will bring its second 30 Under 30 Summit to Philly this October, and Nutter talked to Billy Penn about why Forbes is coming back for more.

“What worked? Just about everything,” Nutter said Monday. “What could we improve? A few things. So we went through all of that. We understand their model better, and they understand our capacity better.”

During that meeting between the mayor’s office and Forbes’ people last October, Nutter — who was largely enthusiastic about the first summit being held here — made a few promises to Forbes. While there won’t be city funds earmarked to subsidize the summit, Nutter pledged his office’s help in connecting the conference to entrepreneurs, as well as potential corporate sponsorships.

That support from the city will come in handy as the summit is expected to grow, though Nutter said it’s already “arguably the most influential gathering of millennials in the world.” Last year, the summit welcomed 2,000 vetted attendees and featured appearances ranging from Monica Lewinsky to Nobel prize-winner Malala Yousafzai.

“It was so clear [Philadelphia] was a winner,” Forbes editor Randall Lane told The Inquirer. Lane and Forbes didn’t respond to further requests for comment Monday.

The 2015 summit will take place from Oct. 4 to Oct. 7 and, like the 2014 conference, will be held at the Convention Center. From there? There’s no contract keeping Forbes coming back year-after-year. But there’s mutual interest coming from the city with one of the largest growing millennial bases in the nation.

“We would certainly like to have them here for many years to come,” Nutter said. “But the first thing is having them the first time, and the fact that they decided to come back for the second year in a row says a great deal about their experience here.”

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