City of Philadelphia Will Trade Startup Cash for Great Ideas

The city has given eight local startups more than $1 million so far.



The fourth round of Startup PHL‘s Call for Ideas is here, and city officials are looking for “all innovative, exciting proposals that support Philadelphia’s startup ecosystem, with a particular focus on ideas that address young people and the issue of poverty in the city,” according to a call for applications.

Applications are due Sept. 11. Startup PHL is a partnership 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. It’s given eight local startups more than $1 million in investments since October 2013.

Past winners include University City Science Center FirstHand Program, which got $25,000 to provide kids from under-funded schools access to equipment and resources at the University City Science Center.

“Support from Startup PHL has allowed us to not only build out the FirstHand Lab, but the grant also enables us to fill a resource gap faced by a number of schools in Philadelphia, as we offer students access to real-world lab experiences that includes and welcomes them into our growing innovation community,” said Stephen Tang, president and CEO of the Science Center.

Another previous winner is TechGirlz, which won $10,000 for its Entrepreneur Bootcamp in a Box program. The organization holds workshops and an annual entrepreneurial summer camp for middle-school girls. The Startup PHL funding helps TechGirls convert its materials into sharable lesson plans.

“TechGirlz has been able to put our Tech Entrepreneur Camp into a format that will allow other people — schools, companies, organizations, individuals — to teach more young girls that they can be part of the innovation economy,” said Founder and CEO Tracey Welson-Rossman. “Between our workshop plans and video series, enabling these instructors, is key to having more girls be involved.”