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Kenney’s budget proposes $150K for StartUp PHL ‘Call for Ideas’ grants

That number is on par with what the Nutter administration spent each year on the grant program. Details are still TBA for the StartUp PHL seed fund.

The winners of the first College Pitch Philly event, which was backed by the city's StartUp PHL grant program. (Photo courtesy of Brian Green)

StartUp PHL, the Nutter administration’s $3.5 million flagship tech scene stimulus project, will live on under the Kenney administration.
StartUp PHL involved two parts: a seed fund for early-stage startups and a $500,00 “Call for Ideas” grant program that supported everything from a dev bootcamp for low-income adults to a tech internship program to a regional college pitch competition.
In Kenney’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2017, he proposed spending $150,000 on the Call for Ideas program, said Commerce Department spokeswoman Sylvie Gallier-Howard. (The budget still has to get approved by City Council.)
That’s on par with what the Nutter administration spent on the Call for Ideas program in past years. Since 2013, the Commerce Department has awarded about $120,000 in StartUp PHL grants each year, except in 2015, when it awarded about $182,000. (The Nutter administration didn’t spend the whole $500,000 that it set aside for Call for Ideas by the time Nutter left office, though it came close, spending around $420,000, according to our math.)
As for the StartUp PHL investment fund, that $3 million investment comes out of the quasi-governmental Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) and was matched by First Round Capital, so the mayor’s budget address doesn’t offer any clues to the program’s future. (In the press release that outlines Kenney’s business initiatives, he highlighted the Call for Ideas program but did not mention the seed fund.) We’re working on getting an update on this.
The Commerce Department also plans to launch a StartUp PHL initiative around college campuses. We’ll follow up with more details when we get them.


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