Here’s Why the City Just Pumped $130K Into Local Entrepreneurship

StartupPHL has announced its latest “Call for Ideas” grantees.

When Startup PHL first announced the fifth round of its “Call for Ideas” grant program, they made it clear that there’s a major connection between entrepreneurship and some of the city’s biggest ills. Entrepreneurship can be a pathway out of poverty and a tool that can address connected issues like homelessness, hunger, and struggling public schools.

Startup PHL’s Call for Ideas is the city’s way of tapping into local entrepreneurs to help them unleash and develop their ideas. And this time around, the program announced last week that it will award a total of $130,675 to six organizations. “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, the city’s director of entrepreneurial investment.

There are commonalities between all of the organizations: Most of the awardees work directly with Philadelphia’s youth, a number of them address Philadelphia’s immigrant population, and several deal with teaching program participants a new skill such as manufacturing or computer science.

“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,” Mayor Kenney said in a statement.

Here are this round’s awardees and what they’ll use the grant money for, according to StartupPHL:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

This year’s funding total represents the largest sum of investment ever from the Call for Ideas grant program. To date, 26 grants have been awarded.

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