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Director of The Pennovation Center

1776 fosters the growth of regional entrepreneurial ecosystems by providing individualized attention through focused programming, community engagement and access to a dynamic network of stakeholders. As a national leader in business incubation, we exist to create a world where anyone with the entrepreneurial drive can gain equal access to the resources needed to foster innovation and solve real world problems.

For the past 5 years, 1776 has partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to plan, manage and operate the Pennovation Center. The Pennovation Center is a business incubator that provides wet/dry lab space and acts as a hub for collaboration and the exchange of ideas for innovators from all disciplines. The Center is part of the 23-acre Pennovation Works campus, which is a distinctive blend of offices, labs, and production space developed by The University of Pennsylvania to support entrepreneurs and industry partners who are engaged in solving real-world problems and translating inventiveness into viable ventures.

Since its founding about five years ago, the Pennovation Works campus has grown into a vibrant community of innovators with over 70 private companies, 11 Penn research entities, several corporate collaborators and a wide range of University-supported incubation programs. With the addition of the Inventor Office Building, the Pennovation Lab, and planned new development, the Center’s role as the Pennovation Works community hub continues to evolve.

1776 has an exciting opportunity for a dynamic leader – Director of The Pennovation Center – to help us shape the future of Pennovation Center as the hub of the Pennovation Works campus and an important catalyst for innovation that blooms from the Philadelphia region and impacts the globe. The Center Director will help shape the strategy for the continued evolution of the 40,000+ sq ft Pennovation Center facility under the overall leadership and oversight of the Pennovation Works Managing Director. The Center Director will report directly to the President of 1776. The Center Director will lead the staff responsible for managing the Center, supervising a Campus Manager, Experience Manager, Lab Manager and other operations and support staff. The Pennovation Center staff provides day to day support to over 250 innovators from the university and the broader Philadelphia region.





Community Management & Operations:

  • In accordance with Pennovation Works and 1776 policies and procedures, provide onsite direction for all aspects of day-to-day operations and programming, including member engagement, building operations, staffing and University relations.
  • Produce weekly/monthly/quarterly reports, including sales, marketing and financial data.
  • Manage the monthly P&L according to budget.
  • Proactively gather data on members’ business objectives and identify resources or services that could help members achieve their objectives.
  • Design and implement rules, guidelines and best practices for the community to optimize member experience.
  • Host and conduct VIP tours, events, and meetings.

Personnel Management:

  • Manage staff, consultants/independent contractors, and interns to execute on objectives and KPIs.
  • Provide reports on staff performance to 1776 Leadership in alignment with cadence of reviews.
  • Recommend professional development and promotion opportunities within the team of current employees.

Business Development:

  • Serve as the key contact for stakeholders, clients, and sponsors; promote mission and priorities of Pennovation Works and 1776 at meetings, conferences, and events.
  • Assist with creating and maintaining networks of entrepreneurs, prospective members, mentors, professionals and funders, and act as a representative for facilitating strategic interaction with 1776 network membership and the Pennovation Works community to ensure continued commitment and engagement.
  • Meet regularly with Pennovation Center staff, 1776 Leadership, Pennovation Works Managing Director, and the University team and partners to ensure proper integration of services and programming.
  • Engage in the larger community of Philadelphia by attending events and networking with local start-ups and organizations.
  • Maintain occupancy of available spaces in the Center by managing current member contracts, recruiting new members as needed, ensuring proper marketing of available services and spaces, and maintaining a robust pipeline of prospects for membership.

Ecosystem Development and Intra-district Relations:

  • Participate in strategic planning for continued growth and development of The Center, and ensure coordination with Pennovation Works to incorporate campus-wide strategies, goals and objectives.
  • Understand the innovation ecosystem – locally, regionally and nationally – and make recommendations to meet needs of the startup community.
  • Oversee production of programming that supports and enriches the Philadelphia and Pennovation Works entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Coordinate with building and property management team to facilitate maintenance log and timely resolution of such across the Pennovation Center
  • Coordinate overall Pennovation Center marketing plans, event and program calendar.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in business or related field. Advanced degree preferred.
  • 5+ year’s small business or organizational leadership experience, with $1million+ profit/loss and staff management responsibility required.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Proven multi-tenant facilities or hospitality management experience required.
  • Previous management experience of wet/dry lab facilities a plus.
  • Previous management experience at a technology incubator or accelerator strongly preferred.
  • Must possess strong knowledge of and connections in regional innovation and entrepreneurial sectors.
  • Familiarity with the global innovation center sector a plus.

We offer a competitive salary and benefits. Salary will be commensurate with experience.
Local candidates preferred. No relocation assistance available.

1776 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.