The Wharton School makes Amazon pitch for Philadelphia to be HQ2

When you're home to one of the world's premier business schools, why not take advantage of that young talent and ask two dozen teams of Wharton students to compete for the best Philadelphia sales pitch to Amazon?

"We were looking for innovative ideas," Dr. Gad Allon, a judge for the student competition Friday, said. "That can actually try to articulate to Amazon why Philadelphia is such a great place to be in."

The Seattle-based business is looking to create 50,000 new, high-paying jobs in a second headquarters. Philadelphia is among a host of metro areas salivating at the chance to be that HQ2.

The co-winners of Friday's Wharton presentations gave FOX 29 a glimpse of what it'll take to win the big prize.
First and foremost, the lure of tax breaks and incentives.

"(We) came up with a big and kind of daunting figure, to be honest, of around $12.5 billion," said student Katie Miller. "Bil...with a 'b.' You heard that right."

Philly's business reputation as the home of high taxes and cumbersome regulations is a challenge, but the student contest winners say the cost of living here is a selling point.

"If you're comparing to the New York City's or the San Francisco's of the world it's half," said student Chris Fletcher. "I mean, that's pretty material and if you're Amazon and you're considering salaries for 50,000 people that's relevant."

The Philadelphia sales pitch will include an educated workforce, mass transit, housing, quality of life. But one of the Wharton student winners says the competition for Amazon has already helped erase Philly's notorious inferiority complex.

"I think this effort has already made leaps and bounds with Philadelphia saying, 'Wait a second- we could actually do this, right?' and I think we could be a destination city for Amazon," Joe Ammon said.

Among those in attendance Friday was mayor Jim Kenney. His team must file their presentation with Amazon by Thursday, October 13.

The Wharton student winners hope at least a few of their ideas will be incorporated into the final pitch.
Amazon is expected to announce the winning city or metropolitan area sometime in 2018.