(Photo by Frida Garza)
The first group of StartupPHL grants funded a local STEM challenge, 10 internships at local tech companies and a youth entrepreneurship program that was able to up its enrollment by more than 20 percent.
The City of Philadelphia awarded more than $100,000 in grants to local entrepreneurship organizations last year as part of its first round of StartupPHL “Call for Ideas” grants. The city recently announced the second round of grants.
See what the first group of grantees accomplished in the last year.
- Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Campus Philly received $25,000 to create an internship program that placed 10 Philadelphia-area university students at four BFTP portfolio companies in Philadelphia in the summer of 2013. The program aimed to fight brain drain by showcasing Philly as a place for tech jobs. One student still works at his placement company, Agile Switch, according to the city Commerce Department’s Rebecca Lopez-Kriss.
- Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce received $18,400 to develop an online Entrepreneur’s Resource Directory that launched last fall. The directory, also backed by Comcast Business, lets you search support services by location, type of funding (early stage, seed, etc.), type of service provider and more. Since the directory’s launch, it has received 7,063 page views, said Chamber spokeswoman Liz Ferry. Organizations had to register to change their listing — nine have done that and 81 organizations signed up to create a new listing, Ferry said.
- The Enterprise Center’s Center for Culinary Enterprises Philly Food Innovation Program received $15,000 to develop a technical workshop series for early to middle-stage food entrepreneurs. “Topics included culinary math, food safety and labeling, and hospitality law. These workshops, which occurred in the summer 2013, were filmed and will be posted to The Enterprise Center website as well as available publicly,” according to Lopez-Kriss.
- PhillyCORE Leaders received $15,000 to support the Supporting Entrepreneurship in Education (SEED) program, which included a pitch event for education entrepreneurs to compete for funding held in October 2013. Two winners received $2,500 each in StartupPHL money, including teacher Trey Smith who launched the Philadelphia Engineering/Math Challenge. Part of their prize was to attend the Fels Institute Social Innovations Lab ($10,000), said Rachel Meadows, who helped organize SEED.
- Youth entrepreneurship program Startup Corps received $20,000 to expand their program and serve more high schoolers. Their 2013-2014 program enrolled 103, up from 84 in their 2012-2013 class, said cofounder Rich Sedmak.
- Coworking space Venturef0rth was awarded $25,000 to create a “community commons” space at their Callowhill space that would offered job training, more programming and more low-cost options for entrepreneurs. Venturef0rth decided not to pursue the project and gave the money back. Cofounder Elliot Menschik said Venturef0rth decided that another organization could put the money to better use.
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