(Photo by Taylor Kogut/Christopher Descano Photography)
When he accepted his Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year award earlier this month, the CEO of Old City’s Arcweb gave a major shoutout to the volunteer-run, entrepreneur group he helped cofound.
“I am here mainly because of my involvement in Philly Startup Leaders whose mantra is that startup entrepreneurs need each other,” he said.
He also declared his excitement for the region and its tech scene.
“I dragged my family into the city tonight to tell them that I was right about moving into the city about 20 years ago even though they told me I should stay in the ‘burbs,” Cera joked.
Read his whole acceptance speech below, plus watch the video the Chamber made:
Thank you, it’s amazing to have my own infomercial. Thank you all, thank you to the Chamber members, small business board that chose me, it’s an incredible honor to be among this community. I am a by-product of this community, I’m not an import, I grew up in Drexel Hill, I went to Upper Darby High School, so I’m one of those people who never actually left. So thank you to all the community builders that laid the foundations for people my age to build upon and to build great companies, and do good things.
I’ll say a bit about Arcweb Technologies, we’re a digital product development company focused on the finance and healthcare industries, and our mission is to build products that people love. We have over 30 people called Arcwebers working in Old City. We just won a Healthcare Innovators Product of the Year Award for a partnership with Penn Medicine, and we found out last week we’re the second fastest growing company in Philadelphia by the Philly 100. Thank you.
We’re hiring many more product engineers, user experience designers, and product managers. Please join our amazing team, and it is an amazing team. I think we have the best technology team in Philadelphia, and I am humbled and honored every single day to be their leader.
I’ll tell a quick story about Arcweb since this is a small private room. The A-R-C in Arcweb actually stands for my grandmom’s initials: Anna Rita Cera; and the irony is that she used to love the Wanamaker Building, and going to Wanamaker’s, and incidentally I happened to buy these jeans at Macy’s downstairs a few months, so the legacy continues.
I am here mainly because of my involvement in Philly Startup Leaders whose mantra is that startup entrepreneurs need each other. PSL, as its called, is a peer mentorship group focused on helping entrepreneurs help each other, and also those considering entrepreneurship, and what is often called Taking the Plunge. It exists as an online and offline community, and the mailing list is something I would describe as the spinal cord of the technology, startup, and innovation community in Philadelphia. And most things are happening there, so if you’re not actually on that mailing list, I would strongly suggest that you join it.
Special thanks go to Blake Jennelle, the original founder of Philly Startup Leaders, a spectacular leader, organized all the original group of people that got together. Other cofounders of Philly Startup leaders were Aaron McLean, Doug Bellenger, Tracey Welson-Rossman and Brad Denenberg. Neil Kleinman and Stephen Goodman also provided lots of mentorship and guidance, and there’s been hundreds of volunteers over the years that I helped make PSL what it is today, and above all, I thank them the most.
I want to say a few things about Philadelphia, I think I’m still within my time limit. I dragged my family into the city tonight to tell them that I was right about moving into the city about twenty years ago even though they told me I should stay in the ‘burbs. Seriously though, the startup and tech community here is like night and day since I started paying attention. I think of all the organizations that didn’t exist back then that exist today. There’s Philly Startup Leaders, Indy Hall, DreamIt Ventures, Philly New Tech Meetup, Barcamp, Startup Weekend, Mobile Monday, Code for Philly, Benjamin’s Desk, Quorum, a ton of health hackathons, meetups for almost anything you can imagine, Technically Philly, which has become a pillar of the community, and I can barely remember what it was like before any of those things existed.
So I’m super bullish on this region, I’m excited to see what all these millennials, who are moving and apparently not leaving, are going to do next, and it will be something that I take upon myself to make sure I can help them anyway I can.
So thank you all so much for this award, it’s an incredible honor. Have a good night.