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.