The City’s “Call for Ideas” Is a Call to Address Poverty

Have an idea to solve the city's poverty rate? Apply for the Call for Ideas grant by November 13th. | f11photo | f11photo

What if a solution to Philadelphia’s high poverty rate exists with its entrepreneurs?

The city wants to find out.

Through round five of its Call for Ideas grant program, the city’s Department of Commerce is calling on all entrepreneurs to submit their ideas for how they can use the city’s open data to solve poverty.

“We see entrepreneurship as a pathway out of poverty,” said Archna Sahay, the city’s director of entrepreneurial investment. “Poverty is the base for so many of the issues in the city — violence, a weak education system, homelessness, hunger. All investments into these issues must address poverty.”

Through the Call for Ideas, the city and PIDC will give away a total of $100,000 in small grants to proposals that use entrepreneurship as a tool to help reduce poverty.

The money isn’t operating capital to help businesses fund themselves, says Sahay. Instead, the money will go directly to the projects that the entrepreneurs propose.

Past Call for Ideas grants have funded projects like TechGirlz, which used the funds to provide a stipend for the high school and college students who teach middle-school girls throughout the city how to code. The North Philly community organization Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha used the funds to convert a parcel of land at 6th and Susquehanna into a pop-up marketplace and space to train entrepreneurs. The Refugee Women’s Textile Initiative received funds to empower refugee women with sewing and textile skills to develop independent businesses. Schoolyard Ventures was awarded with a grant to develop a marketplace in which teens can share their business ideas with people willing to fund them.

“This is a grant to help push the conversation along,” said Sahay. “And I know that our creative and civic-minded community has plenty of ideas.”

The deadline to apply for the grant is Sunday, November 13th. Apply here.

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