Entrepreneurs / Funding / Professional development / Resources / Startups

Resource Roundup: Apps are open for first-time founders program OnRamp

Plus, check out these new opportunities for Hurricane Ida relief funding, small business skills development, virtual office hours with a local investor and more.

University City Science Center is a hub of startup activity. (Courtesy photo)

This is Resource Roundup, a look at open applications for business and career-building programs, funding and other opportunities around the region. Want to share a new resource for entrepreneurs and technologists? Email us at

University City Science Center is no stranger to supporting startups. But earlier this year, the nonprofit launched a new program for those who it recognized needed more support than most: first-time entrepreneurs.

OnRamp aims to increase accessibility to education and opportunities for a wide cross section of Philly founders. It offers free programming via Quorum and Venture Cafe with basic education, guidance and resources for people at the very beginning of their entrepreneurial journeys. Sessions are held over eight weeks from 4:30 to 6 p.m. each Thursday.

The current cohort ends Sept. 30. Apps are open now for the next one, scheduled to begin Thursday, Oct. 14.

Learn more and apply

Ben Franklin Technology Partners virtual office hours

State-backed funder Ben Franklin Technology Partners offers entrepreneurs the one-on-one opportunity to learn about applying for its investments by hosting virtual office hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more info, reach out to BFTP Client Engagement Manager Kate Srinivasan at, or book a time with a specific expert below.

Book time

Hurricane Ida relief for business owners

U.S. Small Business Administration has opened a business recovery center at Falls of the Schuylkill Library at 3501 Midvale Ave. offering in-person assistance to biz owners affected by this month’s disaster. The center is open Monday and Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m., Tuesday and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There are also relief loans are available to businesses in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware Montgomery and York counties:

  • Business Physical Disaster Loans help repair or replace property, inventory, supplies or equipment damaged by the hurricane.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans are working capital loans to help small businesses that cannot meet their necessary financial obligations.
  • Home Disaster Loans go to homeowners or renters to repair or replace damaged real estate and personal properties.
Learn more and apply

Free Library entrepreneurship resources

Free Library of Philadelphia’s Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC) offers several resources for professionals. That includes free headshots on the first and third Thursday each month, and “Leadership Lessons,” aka virtual sessions hosted by entrepreneurs, on Thursdays, Sept. 23 and Sept. 30, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Plus, on Wednesday, Sept. 29, BRIC is hosting “Revenue 101,” a discussion on business tax basics. (BRIC is not a bad place to cowork, we might add.)


These non-local programs are also open to local founders:

  • DC’s MassLight has $100,000 up for grabs for six startups — The software company is investing to build alongside non-technical founders. The deadline to apply was Sept. 1, but the program is accepting late applications.
  • Verizon’s new free, online curriculum can help entrepreneurs connect the dotsDigital Ready is available to small business owners as part of an effort to give 1 million entrepreneurs the tools to succeed in the digital economy by 2030. Students can learn about business planning, cybersecurity, digital marketing and more.
  • American Express wants to support Black business owners — Its Coalition to Back Black Businesses benefits those affected by the pandemic with $5,000 grants. Offered each fall, the grants will be combined with mentorship and training, and during the summers after, select grantees will receive $25,000 in additional funding.
  • Bubble aims to boost product management know-how among BIPOC founders — Over 10 weeks as virtual residents, Immerse participants will learn to become their own product managers and CTOs. The program works as a bootcamp and an accelerator, offering entrepreneurs mentorship and networking, as well as a Demo Day, where participants can pitch their businesses for funding.


And these programs from previous Resource Roundups are still open:

Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: Ben Franklin Technology Partners / Free Library of Philadelphia / U.S. Small Business Administration / University City Science Center / Verizon

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