Call for Ideas Round 6 is Now Open!

Startup PHL has launched its sixth Call for Ideas, a grant program to fund innovative and exciting proposals that support Philadelphia’s startup ecosystem. While all ideas are welcome, this round of Call for Ideas is focused on exposing Philadelphia youth to tech.

The Call for Ideas program provides small grants to organizations with ideas or initiatives that best meet the objectives of Startup PHL:

  • Increasing business and job creation in Philadelphia;
  • Enhancing collaboration between organizations that support entrepreneurs;
  • Fostering networks and creating space for entrepreneurs to develop businesses and connect with mentors, advisors, talent and capital;
  • Deepening integration and coordination between city government, citizens, students, and the startup community.

Applications are due at 11:59 PM, on Friday, June 2, 2017.  Apply here.

Any questions can be directed to Archna Sahay at: archna.sahay@phila.gov

The StartupPHL Call for Ideas is a Department of Commerce and PIDC program that provides grants for projects that support entrepreneurs and improve Philadelphia’s startup scene. Call for Ideas grants are NOT for funding a business startup costs. The Call for Ideas application period is now OPEN. 

StartupPHL Call for Ideas Grant Awardees Announced

For Immediate Release: February 17, 2017

StartupPHL Call for Ideas Grant Awardees Announced

PHILADELPHIA – Today, Mayor Jim Kenney and the Department of Commerce announced the fifth round of StartupPHL Call for Ideas grantees. The Call for Ideas grant program funds innovative and exciting proposals that bolster Philadelphia’s continually expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem, while providing access and opportunities to all Philadelphians.

“The latest set of awardees represent a variety of industries – from tech to entertainment,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “These programs will also serve a number of populations, including young people, small business owners and immigrants. I am eager to see the impact of our latest Call for Ideas grants and the programs they support.”

The Call for Ideas program provides small grants to organizations with ideas or initiatives that best meet the objectives of StartupPHL, including: Increasing business and job creation in Philadelphia; Enhancing collaboration between organizations that support entrepreneurs; Fostering networks and creating space for entrepreneurs to develop businesses and connect with mentors, advisors, talent and capital; and Deepening integration and coordination between city government, citizens, students, and the startup community.

“Call for Ideas is one of many ways we are fostering a positive reciprocal relationship between the City and Philadelphia’s entrepreneurs,” said Archna Sahay, Director of Entrepreneurial Investment for the City of Philadelphia. “The awardees chosen in this round all have the potential to make an impact when it comes to encouraging entrepreneurship, growing Philadelphia’s economy, and ultimately reducing poverty.”

The latest round of StartupPHL Call for Ideas provides funding to six organizations, bringing the total number of programs supported by this initiative to twenty-six. The grants awarded this round include:

  • Coded by Kids ($16,500) – Coded by Kids will use the Call for Ideas grant to support the development and piloting of a data science curriculum for students at two recreation centers in Philadelphia. The data science curriculum will use publicly available Open Data sets to teach students how to extract, analyze and present data.
  • Destined to Achieve Successful Heights, Inc. ($22,975) – DASH will partner with PSTV (the Education channel for The School District of Philadelphia) to help students produce, write and record their own original music with Grammy-nominated songwriters and producers while learning the real world economics of the music industry.
  • Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation ($17,200) – The Free Library will utilize the grant to expand business support to four neighborhood Library locations serving low-income communities. Each location will pilot integrated services including free classes, a core collection and seed funding.
  • The Hacktory ($24,000) – The Hacktory will host a summer hardware bootcamp for professionals in the region to learn a foundation of technical, fabrication and design skills through hands-on projects and experimentation.
  • SecondMuse ($25,000) – SecondMuse will use their funds to research and better understand the needs and resources available to Philadelphia’s existing hardware startup and manufacturing communities. Based on the findings, SecondMuse plans to co-design an incubator for hardware.
  • Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians ($25,000) – The Welcoming Center plans to use its Call for Ideas grant to cultivate entrepreneurial leadership among first generation immigrant youth and provide assistance to immigrant-owned small businesses with technology.

StartupPHL is a collaborative effort between the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). The StartupPHL initiative encompasses a range of programs including the Call for Ideas grants, PIDC’s StartupPHL Seed + Angel Fund, and several measures to enhance visibility and connectivity of the startup community. The initiative aims to make our city a more attractive environment to launch and grow a business by investing in entrepreneurs who bring energy, ideas and vitality to Philadelphia, as well as further enabling the existing entrepreneurial talent that resides in the city’s different neighborhoods to flourish.

All applications were reviewed by a selection committee comprised of representatives from the City of Philadelphia, PIDC, and members of the entrepreneurial community. The first StartupPHL Call for Ideas was launched in October 2012 as part of the larger StartupPHL initiative. Twenty-six Call for Ideas grants have been awarded to date.

For more information on StartupPHL, visit: startupphl.com.

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Call for Ideas Recipient Spotlight: TechGirlz

The following post has been adapted from content provided by Tracey Welson-Rossman, Founder of TechGirlz. 

TechGirlz has been fortunate enough to receive two grants from the Call for Ideas from StartupPHL. The grants have allowed us to beta test and iterate on ideas that have allowed us to expand the reach of how we inspire middles school girls to be part of the innovation economy.

The first grant allowed us to put our undocumented and unorganized tech summer entrepreneur camp into an documented and organized fashion. Why is this important? For TechGirlz, it allows us to have more than the person who created the course to teach. It also allows us to feel confident about these courses to be used by others. They are now part of our TechShopz library. Since we have had success with this camp, we are working to have other groups utilize the materials to teach more girls about how they can be part of the tech startup economy.

The second grant allowed us to beta test a program to encourage more volunteers who are not tech professionals, but have tech skills – high school and college students. The school/student program allows us to partner with these secondary schools who are teaching tech courses and have their students, under the guidance of their teacher, instruct middles school girls. We spent the year putting the program together, creating relationships with schools and finally, beta tested the idea in March with Philadelphia Academies at Roxborough. Besides the obvious benefits to the middle school girls, there were some discoveries we made about the young adults. First, they were able to practice their new skills by teaching, they learned organizational and leadership skills and they were great role models for the younger kids. The outcome, we are currently working with 10 local schools to have TechShopz in the next school year. We will be tracking how many of these new instructors become instructors outside of their school environments and also how many of the middle school girls decide to take the tech classes at the high school level.

The StartupPHL Call for Ideas program funds innovative and exciting proposals that support Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. You can apply for the fifth round of Call for Ideas online now.

Call for Ideas Recipient Spotlight: FirstHand

The following post has been adapted from content provided by David Clayton, Director of FirstHand.

A StartupPHL Call for Ideas Grant of $25,000 helped Round 3 recipient FirstHand inspire Philadelphia’s next generation of STEM professionals. The FirstHand program at the University City Science Center provides a unique opportunity for Philadelphia youth to explore the world of science and design in a hybrid bio-lab makerspace. The FirstHand Lab is located within one of the Science Center’s three startup incubators, where middle and high school students have the opportunity to discover new career pathways by interacting with the Science Center’s resident scientists and engineers, who are developing amazing new technologies such as immunotherapy and advanced 3-D bioprinting.

The grant enabled FirstHand to purchase a laser cutting and engraving system, high-tech equipment normally only used by industry professionals. Middle schoolers work in small teams to create original designs and product ideas; using a laser cutter allows them to rapidly change and evolve their ideas through the prototyping process. In this manner, FirstHand is utilizing the laser cutter and other tools purchased using the Call for Ideas Grant to empower young people interested in the STEM fields.

The StartupPHL Call for Ideas program funds innovative and exciting proposals that support Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. You can apply for the fifth round of Call for Ideas online now.

Call for Ideas Recipient Spotlight: Schoolyard Ventures

The following post has been adapted from content provided by Rich Sedmak, Founder of Schoolyard Ventures.

What does it take to increase inclusivity and diversity in the PHL startup ecosystem? At Startup Corps and Schoolyard Ventures, we believe that developing a talent pipeline of traditionally under-served youth is necessary to leverage the talents of every Philadelphian. Over the last 3 years, over 400 high school students in Philadelphia have experienced launching their own companies and non-profits. With the help and support of funding from our StartupPHL Call for Ideas Grant, these students have had access not only to entrepreneurial programming and mentorship, but to micro-financing as well, to make their ideas a reality.

Through entrepreneurship programming, students in our city have received access to a supportive, entrepreneurial environment and culture that encourages taking calculated risks, in addition to a platform to access networks that they otherwise might not have access to. Via the micro-funding program, we’ve learned that as little as $250 can help a young person launch a business that could change their lives, as well as build skills and improve the lives of others in our city.

By developing talent among under-served populations and by providing students with access to networks, capital and knowledge not available in their schools, we’re hoping to provide every student in our city with the opportunity to participate in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The StartupPHL Call for Ideas program funds innovative and exciting proposals that support Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. You can apply for the fifth round of Call for Ideas online now.

StartupPHL’s Call for Ideas Program is Live!

Do you or your organization have an idea that supports or enhances Philly’s entrepreneurial community?

Startup PHL has launched its fifth Call for Ideas, a grant program to fund innovative and exciting proposals that support Philadelphia’s startup ecosystem. While all ideas are welcome, this fifth round of Call for Ideas seeks to fund programs that are promoting entrepreneurship while also:

  • Utilizing the open data sets the City of Philadelphia has published.
  • Using entrepreneurship as a tool to help reduce poverty.

The Call for Ideas program provides small grants to organizations with ideas or initiatives that best meet the objectives of Startup PHL:

  • Increasing business and job creation in Philadelphia;
  • Enhancing collaboration between organizations that support entrepreneurs;
  • Fostering networks and creating space for entrepreneurs to develop businesses and connect with mentors, advisors, talent and capital;
  • Deepening integration and coordination between city government, citizens, students, and the startup community.

Applications are due at 11:59 PM, on Sunday, November 13, 2016.  Apply here.

Any questions can be directed to Archna Sahay at: archna.sahay@phila.gov

The StartupPHL Call for Ideas is a Department of Commerce and PIDC program that provides grants for projects that support entrepreneurs and improve Philadelphia’s startup scene. Call for Ideas grants are NOT for funding a business startup costs. The Call for Ideas application period is now OPEN. 

TechGirlz goes global

Volunteers in Paraguay, Ukraine and Canada are spreading the TechGirlz curriculum via the nonprofit’s open-source TechShopz in a Box program.

February 23. 2016 | Technical.ly by Rob Torres

Since 2013, TechGirlz has been empowering women in tech by getting a head start on things.

The Philly-based nonprofit has taught 3,000 middle-school-age girls how to build websites, record podcasts and embrace digital entrepreneurship.

However, over the past two months, the wealth of knowledge has gone beyond the local scene and spread to Paraguay, Ukraine and Canada — where 61 girls were given workshops from the group’s TechShopz in a Box program.

READ MORE

From Fashion to Pop-Up Markets, New Grants Support Entrepreneurial Philly

November 6, 2015 | Next City by Cassie Owens

“Victoria Wright, Senpai & Kohai, Wild Mantle — these are some of the fashion brands that have hired sewers from the Refugee Women’s Textile Initiative, and put their work in stores. Last month, the Philadelphia-based RWTI won a grant for nearly $19,000, as part of StartUp PHL’s effort to spur entrepreneurship in the city. (The initiative is a collaboration from the commerce department and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.) In this latest funding round, six organizations received awards ranging from $6,000 to $25,000.”

Entrepreneurship wasn’t even in RWTI’s sights in the beginning. The group grew out of Philadelphia Burmese Women’s Initiative two years ago, and the seeds were sown when Jessica Lee, an organizer and Ph.D. candidate in social work at Bryn Mawr College, polled women to find out what activities they’d like to undertake. With sewing classes as a top result, Lee began to search for an ideal classroom. Enter designer-teacher Rachel Ford, and her school MADE Studios. The initiative has expanded beyond proper sewing, to a curriculum around textile arts, with artist Shira Walinsky bringing in local designers to collaborate with participants on weaving projects. But Ford has her eye on small-batch manufacturing.

“What I’ve come to realize in my own world is that everybody is a designer,” says Ford. “Everybody ultimately gets to a place where they want to scale things and hire other people to do their sewing. And as it is now, there’s really a lack for [that workforce.]”

READ MORE

Mayor Nutter, Deputy Mayor Greenberger Announce New Startup PHL Call for Ideas Awards

Announcement wraps up 10-day focus on startups and entrepreneurship in Philadelphia

PRESS RELEASE: Philadelphia, October 8, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger announced a new round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants to organizations that provide programs and events to support entrepreneurship in Philadelphia.  The announcement comes at the end of a series of events and announcements related to startups, innovation and entrepreneurship in Philadelphia, kicking off with Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest Tour last week and including the Forbes Under 30 Conference which concluded yesterday.  The grants announced today help programs supporting a wide range of entrepreneurs across Philadelphia.

“Over the last week we have showcased our city’s startups and entrepreneurs to leaders from around the country and around the world, demonstrating that Philadelphia is one of America’s top startup cities,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Increasingly, people are learning that Philadelphia has all of the raw ingredients necessary to start and grow exciting companies.  I am confident that the attention our city receives will only continue to grow as more founders and entrepreneurs choose Philadelphia as their home city.”

The latest round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants provides funding to six organizations, bringing the total number of programs supported by this initiative to twenty.  The programs funded in this round include:

  • Asociacion Puertorriquenos En Marcha ($20,000) – APM will convert a parcel of land at 6th and Susquehanna into a pop-up market place and provide entrepreneurial training to aspiring and nascent entrepreneurs, creating a gateway for entrepreneurial activity in this community.

 

  • Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts ($15,000) In January 2016, the Center – in partnership with the Philadelphia Free Library – will offer an interactive, program to those considering a business based in the creative economy.  Participants will also receive two hours of one-on-one consulting and the opportunity to apply for seed grants.

 

  • Refugee Women’s Textile Initiative ($18,548) – The RWTI will empower refugee women with sewing and textile skills and manufacturing contacts to create independent businesses, develop a cooperative store, and merge traditional textiles with new art forms to overcome poverty and gain economic mobility.

 

  • Schoolyard Ventures ($6,000) – Schoolyard Ventures will create a marketplace where teens with great ideas can connect with those who wish to fund them. After helping over 800 middle school and high school aged students launch businesses providing over $70,000 in direct micro-capital to them, Schoolyard Ventures has learned that as little as $250 can help a young person launch a business, as well as build skills and improve the lives of others in the city.

 

  • TechGirlz Charitable Foundation ($19,990) – TechGirlz will provide a stipend or college credit for high school and college students who teach the TechShopz in a Box Program in workshops throughout Philadelphia. TechShopz in a Box is a TechGirlz-developed curricula for middle school girls.

 

  • Tiny WPA ($25,000) – The Building Hero Project is a design, leadership and entrepreneurship incubator for individuals ages 16 and up who want to be a part of a diverse community of civic change agents. Participants will learn how to design and build products for sale and manage an eCommerce store.

Startup PHL is an initiative of the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department, PIDC, and First Round Capital to provide funding for early-stage companies and to support programs that develop the startup community in Philadelphia.  Through Startup PHL Funds and co-investments from First Round Capital, nine Philadelphia startups have received more than $1.1 million in combined seed stage or angel investment since October 2013, and through the Call For Ideas Grants twenty organizations have received more than $400,000 in funding to support entrepreneurship programming.  Just last week Mayor Nutter, Deputy Mayor Greenberger, PIDC and First Round Capital announced a $100,000 Startup PHL Angel Fund investment in Scholly, an education startup in Philadelphia connecting students to scholarship opportunities.  Scholly also won the Rise of the Rest pitch competition securing a $100,000 investment from AOL founder Steve Case.

“Our goal through Startup PHL is to provide more capital to growing startups in Philadelphia and to support collaboration and entrepreneurship across the city,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.  “We have invested around $1.5 million into our city’s ecosystem to date and, in the process, sought to elevate the profile of entrepreneurship in Philadelphia by working with incredible partners such as PIDC and First Round Capital.”

The applications were evaluated by officials from the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and PIDC along with representatives of the investment, academic, policy and startup communities.

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Mayor Nutter, Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger Announce New Startup PHL Call for Ideas Awards

PRESS RELEASE

Mayor visits Coded by Kids after-school program providing tech training to young people in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, May 7, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger announced today a new round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants to organizations that provide programs and events to support entrepreneurship in Philadelphia.  The funding supports the goals of providing opportunities to young people in neighborhoods all across the city; increasing the diversity of Philadelphia’s technology sector; and fostering greater collaboration among universities and better connecting students to startups in Philadelphia.

“Through Startup PHL our goal is to create opportunities for all Philadelphians to participate in the new technology-driven economy,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Programs such as Coded by Kids, TechGirlz, and FirstHand are reaching into diverse communities throughout our city and providing the skills and confidence needed to work in the technology sector, or even to start a company.  This is all part of our commitment to establish Philadelphia as a thriving startup city with opportunities available to all.”

John Grady, President of PIDC, said, “We are proud partners in the StartUp PHL initiative.  PIDC is pleased to help support entrepreneurship in Philadelphia with this multifaceted initiative to increase the availability of capital and make Philadelphia an attractive place for entrepreneurs.”

The latest round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants provides funding to four organizations, bringing the total number of programs supported by this initiative to fourteen.  The programs funded in this round include:

  • University City Science Center FirstHand Program ($25,000) – a youth STEAM initiative serving Philadelphia youth from under-resourced schools and the teachers, professionals and families from their communities. The Startup PHL funding assists in lab equipment acquisition for the FirstHand Lab, a dedicated lab space for students.
  •  Drexel University, Regional University Business Plan Competition ($23,500) Startup PHL funding will help establish a multi-university business plan competition run by a new consortium of university-based entrepreneurship programs and incubators.  Drexel University’s Chuck Sacco, organizer of this initiative, commented, “A number of us at university-based entrepreneurship programs wanted to find new ways to have entrepreneurially-minded college students work across the region and build their networks at other universities and colleges and within the community.  A regional business plan competition will be a great way for that to occur”.
  • Coded by Kids Instructor Pipeline Project ($19,870) – Coded by Kids provides inner city children with free, engaging, challenging and creative tech education program. Startup PHL funding will establish an adult training program for instructors in the Coded by Kids workshops.
  • TechGirlz Entrepreneur Bootcamp in a Box ($10,000) – TechGirlz hold workshops and an annual entrepreneurial summer camp serving middle-school girls. Startup PHL funding will expand the existing and successful TechGirlz Summer Entrepreneur Bootcamp materials into sharable, lesson plan formats so other groups can teach the program.  TechGirlz founder Tracey Welson-Rossman commented, “This Tech Entrepreneur Camp is unique in this country and we are extremely happy to be partnering with the City to have more girls understand how they can participate in the tech and startup economy. Innovation is gender blind.”

Later today Mayor Nutter will visit the Coded by Kids after-school program at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center to see how this initiative is providing a coding-focused education program that would normally be out of reach for many Philadelphia residents and is preparing prepare both children and adults for careers in web development.

“Providing tech education opportunities to Philadelphia residents who have traditionally lacked access to these opportunities is critical to the social and economic success of our communities,” said Coded by Kids founder Sylvester Mobley.

Startup PHL is an initiative of the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department, PIDC, and First Round Capital to provide funding for early-stage companies and to support programs that develop the startup community in Philadelphia.  Through Startup PHL Funds and co-investments from First Round Capital eight Philadelphia startups have received more than $1 million in combined seed stage or angel investment since October 2013, and through the Call For Ideas Grants fourteen organizations have received almost $300,000 in funding to support entrepreneurship programming.

“Philadelphia’s emergence as a hub for startups and technology companies is one of the most exciting trends for the future of this city,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.  “This Administration, through Startup PHL and a range of other initiatives, is proud to support the work of entrepreneurs across Philadelphia who are building companies, developing exciting new products, and providing innovative, challenging job opportunities for the growing number of people who want to live and work in our city.”