Wilmington is the business legal hub of the country with over 65% of Fortune 500 companies registered in Wilmington and the greater state of Delaware. This is primarily due to the presence of Chancery Court - the oldest business court in the country. The Court has successfully limited lawsuits and is known for having judges that are experts in business law. For this, and Delaware’s tax advantages, half of all American publicly traded companies are incorporated in the state. These legal advantages benefit all industry types and make Wilmington an attractive destination for businesses large and small.
The cost of doing business is also lower in Wilmington at only 88% of the national average. Companies like Dupont and biopharmaceutical company Incyte have grown in the city because of these advantages, along with the availability of a highly trained workforce. Jumbotron, RC Fabrications
The Office of Economic Development, working with Wadley-Donovan Growth Tech, LLC and Garnet Consulting Services Inc., has identified several target industries that would significantly benefit from the city’s existing business ecosystem and central location.
Wilmington is home to major corporations in the FinTech sector such as Chase, Capital One, Barclays, FIA Card Services, Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Bank of America and Delaware Claims Processing. This is Wilmington’s largest employment sector.
For over twenty years Delaware – with Wilmington and New Castle County as the nexus – has been recognized as a center for the banking, financial services and insurance industry. The State has been viewed as an ideal location for international financial institutions seeking to enter U.S. markets. As DPP notes on its Website “Delaware's pro-business legal and regulatory environment, strategic positioning, and landmark legislation, such as the Financial Center Development Act, have paved the way for the financial services industry to become a key component of the economic strength and growth.”
The University of Delaware also supports the County’s strong financial services sector through the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. Students from the university provide top talent for the County’s business, insurance and financial services operations.
The Delaware Prosperity Partnership, the First State Fintech Lab, and the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration partnered to produce an in-depth report aimed at building a shared understanding of Delaware’s position within the broader national and global fintech landscape
Wilmington’s healthcare industry has undergone substantial growth. The City is home to Wilmington Hospital, a part of the Christiana Health Care System. The Christiana Care Health System is one of the country’s largest health care providers, ranking 17th for hospital admissions.
- Wilmington Hospital has undergone significant redevelopment through an expansion of 337,000 square feet, creating a 1 million-square-foot, state-of-the-science facility including a nine-story tower, and an Emergency Department double its current size.
- Health Care is the third largest employer in the City with 5,760 jobs (2011, U.S. Census On the Map data).
- The industry had the largest gain in employment of all the City’s industry sectors. Between 2002 and 2012 there was an increase of 3,094 jobs (116%), according to U.S. Census Bureau.
- Health Care is the leading source of jobs for City residents, with almost 20% employed in the industry (2011, U.S. Census On the Map data).
- Philadelphia and Baltimore offer additional networking opportunities with leading national hospitals. Philadelphia offers the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, and the Baltimore area is home to Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Medical System.
- The County is home to the University of Delaware’s Physical Therapy Department. This department is ranked #2 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. Interdisciplinary research is conducted at the facility to help advance physical therapy, positioning it as a resource for any company involved in biomechanics and related fields.
Wilmington is home to law firms and businesses looking to be near the Chancery Court. Corporate laws are updated near annually to ensure that Delaware’s laws are reflective of changing corporate environments. Since the majority of large U.S. companies are registered in the state, local law firms are retained to update contracts, policies, etc. Large firms include Morris Nichols Arsht and Tunell, Potter Anderson Corroon, and Morris James Delaware. There is significant room for growth in this industry, especially for companies supporting the legal sector.
Professional Services & Technology
Marketing, engineering, technology, consulting services, bookkeeping, design services, back office support and other professional service providers would thrive in a Wilmington location. With a low cost of doing business, access to talent coming out of 100 nearby universities, and a central location that makes it easy to reach Philadelphia, Baltimore, NYC and DC within two hours, the city is the ideal location for business growth. Trellist is one of these growing companies. The professional service firm delivers intelligent business solutions through marketing, design and technology.
The City’s assets for attracting and retaining this industry include:
- A very strong employment and establishment base in this target.
- The industry is the City’s second largest employer
- 7.2% of the City’s residents are employed in professional, scientific and technical services, the fifth largest employment sector for Wilmington residents.
- This sector is one of the six that saw growth between 2003 and 2013 in the County. Within this sector, legal services, architectural and engineering services, and scientific research and development services showed the most employment growth at 17.2%, 1.2% and 29.0% respectively, over the 10 year period. There were 385 legal sector establishments in the County in 2013, 240 architectural and engineering service establishments, and 77 scientific research establishments.
Logistics Consulting & Port Operations
Wilmington is near the Port of Wilmington - a full-service, deep water port and marine terminal strategically located on 308 acres at the confluence of the Delaware and Christina Rivers. As such, there are many other maritime related businesses that may capitalize on a location in close proximity to the Port, such as maritime insurance firms, maritime security firms, and similar types of business
This proximity to the Port, along with the presence of four airports within an easy drive, makes Wilmington an ideal location for logistics consulting and services companies tasked with moving products throughout the country and the world.
For example, in 2019, there was a 50-year, $600 million investment in the port from Gulftainer. In an online statement, the company said of their investment, “Situated only a four-hour voyage from the Atlantic Ocean. Gulftainer USA’s concession includes the full management and development of the Port’s existing container volumes of 350,000 TEUs per year, which is forecasted to more than double in the years to come as a consequence of this deal."
Wilmington is home to several large construction companies. The city’s central location and ability to reach Philadelphia, Baltimore, NYC and DC within two hours makes it a natural hub for builders and developers looking for an east coast headquarters. Existing companies include Edis Company, Di Sabatino, Bancroft Construction, Brandywine Elevator Company, Horizon Services, Montchanin Builders, and Drewson Construction.
Wilmington is also an excellent location to telework. Small business owners, contractors and anyone wishing to have a remote workforce will benefit from a location in the city. The low cost of doing business and low cost of living make it one of the most affordable cities on the east coast. The city is also home to four co-working spaces that are ideal for single users and startups. Plus, Wilmington is vibrant with a fantastic cultural and entertainment scene, great shopping and dining, making it easy to work by the river or in a coffee shop.