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Take the City of PHL Business Site Survey
Jul 23, 2014
The City of Philadelphia launched www.phila.gov/business in 2009. It is time to revisit the project in order to stay up to date and stay aligned with the needs of the site's users. We're excited to hear what you think and how we can improve!

Take the survey HERE 
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Now Posted: Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Neighborhood Economic Development (NED) Grant
Jul 16, 2014
This Request for Proposal is to identify Philadelphia neighborhood-based organizations in need of gap financing for construction of commercial and the commercial portions of mixed-use development. This program is operated by the Office of Neighborhood Economic Development (ONED) of the Commerce Department. ONED seeks to identify and invest in opportunities that contribute to revitalizing neighborhood commercial areas, enhance community-based development projects, and expand the City's employment base. Site control is critical. Evidence must be provided, either through proof-of-ownership (a deed), or an executed agreement of sale or option, or a lease-hold agreement of at least 15 years.

Pre-Proposal Briefing will be held on Monday, August 18, 2014, from 10:30 AM to 12:00 NOON at: 

One Parkway Building
1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor, Room 18-029
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Proposals must be received no later than 5:00 PM Philadelphia, PA, local time, on September 25, 2014.

To download the RFP:

1. Go HERE
2. Click "eContract Philly"
3. Click "New Contract Opportunities"
4. Search Departments: "Commerce"
5. Click on Opportunity "21140710130043" for the Neighborhood Economic Development (NED) Grant.

This program is funded with federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and is subject to CDBG requirements. Questions may be asked at the briefing and/or submitted via email in advance of the briefing. Please refer to the RFP for details on how to submit questions and for information on eligibility and due dates.

Feel free to forward this opportunity to other interested parties.
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L & I Announces Center City Vending Lottery Winners
Jul 11, 2014
The Department of Licenses and Inspections announced the winners of Center City Vending Licenses Lottery held on July 7th.

View the results.

For more information, please contact the Vending Unit at (215) 686-2414.
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Storefront Challenge 2014: Nominate a Business!
Jun 17, 2014
The City of Philadelphia Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative seek nominations to identify the most distinctive, recently improved storefronts in Philadelphia. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that good design is good business. This event could mean great exposure for your business, your design or construction firm, or your favorite neighborhood spot!

Eligible projects must have been completed between October 2012 and September 2014. There is no cost to enter.

NOMINATE A BUSINESS
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City Releases Annual Disparity Study
Jun 16, 2014
The City of Philadelphia Annual Disparity Study for Fiscal Year 2013 is now available. This study analyzes the City’s use of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), Women Business Enterprises (WBEs), and Disabled Business Enterprises (DSBEs) (collectively known as M/W/DSBEs), relative to the availability of such firms to compete for City business, on Public Works, Personal and Professional Services, and Supplies, Services, and Equipment contracts. It determines the extent to which a disparity between utilization and availability exists, and provides critical data in the formation of annual Participation Goals.

READ THE REPORT
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Commerce Success Story: S. 7th Street Revitalization
May 30, 2014
Most Philadelphians have heard about the Italian Market on South 9th St. Did you know that there is another ethnically branded market in South Philly? In the 1980s, thousands of Cambodians moved to the U.S.A.as refugees. Many of them settled down and started their new life in Philadelphia. “Philadelphia has one of the largest Cambodian American Communities in East Coast on South 7th Street. Many Cambodians from NYC or Delaware drive to South 7th St. on weekends to shop here,” said Leap En Thach, the Marketing Supervisor of UnitedHealthcare Multicultural Community Center (UMCC). You can find traditional Southeastern restaurants, boutiques, craft/gift shops and groceries on South 7th St.. However, the vacant retail spaces and antiquated storefronts lessen the appeal of this commercial corridor. “Trust, safety, and cleanliness are the key to revitalizing this corridor.” said Rorng Sorn, the Executive Director of Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia (CAGP).

Samuel Kuang-hsien Chueh, City of Philadelphia Business Services Manager, understands the importance and challenges of South 7th Street. He has worked with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia (AACC), Americorps Vista Volunteers, Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia (CAGP), and UnitedHealthcare Multicultural Community Center (UMCC) to support businesses on South 7th Street with a series of workshops, outreach and corridor cleaning. Many businesses were hesitant to try City programs in the beginning. “I spoke with several businesses about city programs. They’re hesitant to believe that the city will aid them without asking for more taxes.” said Putery Long, the Youth/Family Director of CAGP. “To break the ice and keep the corridor safe, we are helping them (Cambodian businesses) apply for the City’s 50% reimbursement grant for business storefront improvement and safecam program. We hope trust can be built after the businesses receive the City’s support.” said Chueh.

After many years of effort, Mekong Video, a Cambodian entertainment business located at 2218 S. 7th St., submitted their application for the City’s Storefront Improvement Program in 2012. “The Storefront Improvement Program (SIP) application from Mekong Video was the first from the 7th Street commercial corridor and the first from a Cambodian business.” said Jonathan Snyder, Sr. Program Manager of Philadelphia Commerce Department. Since the SIP applicants still need to pay 50% of the expense themselves, the Commerce Department, CAGP, and AACC also helped Meckong Video acquire additional financing assistance to finish the façade project. Finally, the new and improved storefront was revealed last winter.
It took more than two years for the Commerce Department and all its partners to overcome the language and cultural barriers before unveiling the first new storefront on South 7th Street. This new storefront succeeded in catching people’s attention and increasing Mekong Video’s business traffic. “Our business received a 10% increase after getting a new storefront. We really appreciate everyone’s help and we’re really willing to help promote the City’s program on this corridor. ” said Sandy K. Chan, the owner of Mekong Video. Chan’s new storefront and success also motivate other businesses along 7th street to improve their façade. The Commerce Department has received many calls from South 7th street asking about SIP. Chueh and Snyder believe that more businesses will apply for this grant and create a new image for South 7th Street.

In order to keep serving and helping more Southeast Asian businesses in Philadelphia, AACC has hired Cindy Suy, who is fluent in English and Khmer, as Program Manager. “We will keep working together and promote the business diversity of this wonderful city. South 7th Street is definitely one of our focus corridors in the future.” said Nick Shenoy, the Director of AACC.
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Center City Vending Lottery: June 16th – June 20th
May 15, 2014
The Department of Licenses and Inspections will be accepting applications from vendors from June 16th, 2014 to June 20th, 2014, 10am to 2pm in the Concourse Level of the Municipal Services Bldg. to fill 39 locations that are available in Center City. We will be waiving the $50 application fee. Deadline for submissions is June 20th, 2014 at 2:00pm. No exceptions.

Get the Application Packet here.

For more information, please contact the Vending Unit at (215) 686-2414.
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PHL School District Properties Available for Redevelopment
May 05, 2014
On behalf of the School District of Philadelphia, PIDC is pleased to offer this exciting opportunity to those interested in acquiring and redeveloping any of the twenty properties now available for sale. We are looking for capable and qualified parties wishing to purchase a property for use and/or redevelopment.

Full information on each of the available properties and information about the sales process is available on PHLschoolsales.com. You can view listings, get information, compare options, and submit an offer. Visit today!
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Unemployment Declines to 8% for March 2014
Apr 30, 2014
The unemployment rate in the City of Philadelphia declined to 8% for March 2014, from 8.3% in February, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Philadelphia economy continued to add jobs – 4,000 last month – bringing the number of jobs in Philadelphia to its highest level for a March since 2003.

READ MORE
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American Street Empowerment Zone Scholarship Program due May 15!
Apr 08, 2014
This scholarship assists youth residing in the American Street Empowerment Zone to pursue higher education or vocational training. The scholarships are up to $2,500 and cover tuition and room and board. See the guidelines for further eligibility requirements and application deadlines.

Learn More
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Grants for Empowerment Zone Developments due May 20th!
Apr 08, 2014
The Department of Commerce announced two new grant opportunities, awarded through competitive RFPs, for the American Street Empowerment Zone and the North Central Empowerment Zone. 

Learn More
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NOW AVAILABLE: BIRT Tax Credit for Contributions to a CDC
Mar 06, 2014
The CDC Tax Credit Program currently has five available openings for businesses seeking to partner with and contribute $85,000 per year for ten years to a Qualifying Organization.

The Department of Revenue is accepting applications from businesses starting March 19, 2014 at 9 am. All applications are accepted on a "first come-first serve basis". If there are more applicants than the five available openings, the applicable law and regulations will be used to make the selection.

Qualifying Organizations include qualified community development corporations performing economic development services and up to one qualified non profit intermediary, providing technical assistance to community development corporations. Bill No. 130853, which was passed by City Council on February 6, 2014 and signed by the Mayor on February 19, 2014, amends Section 19-2604 of the Philadelphia Code to increase the number of Nonprofit Intermediaries, from three to four, that can participate in the Business Income and Receipts Tax Credit Program for Contributions to Qualifying Organizations. There are 3 Nonprofit Intermediaries already participating, if selected, one additional Nonprofit Intermediary may be eligible to participate.

The application can be found here.
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OEO releases its FY2013 Annual Participation Report
Feb 25, 2014
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of its operations this year, OEO renewed its commitment to drive economic inclusion both within and outside of the public sector through innovation, collaboration and communication. The report represents an in-depth analysis of for-profit contracts awarded by the City of Philadelphia from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013 (FY13). Highlights include that in FY13, Minority, Women and Disabled Owned Enterprises (M/W/DSBEs) were awarded $243.9 million in City business, representing a 28.2% participation rate on City and Quasi-Public Agency contracts, exceeding the City’s goal of 25%. In addition, the OEO Registry of certified firms has expanded to 2,175 businesses, more than 63% since 2010. Read the full report.

M/W/DSBEs interested in contracting with the City should register with OEO, learn how: www.phila.gov/oeo.
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A Year In PHL Business Headlines
Feb 21, 2014
The last year has been a fantastic one for business in Philadelphia from expansions, to new investments, to exciting announcements. We're taking a moment to recognize these accomplishments as we continue to energize new businesses to start, stay, grow in PHL. Watch this short video as we look back at a year in business headlines that is sure to keep us motivated to make 2014 even better!

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City Publishes Manufacturing Growth Strategy
Feb 05, 2014
The City of Philadelphia established the Manufacturing Task Force to evaluate the city’s competiveness and develop recommendations for growth. The Task Force itself is a diverse group of private sector business leaders working in concert with government, economic development, academia, utilities, labor, and workforce development to identify key issues and recommend attainable solutions to make Philadelphia a better place for manufacturing. The Task Force and Advisory Group were supported by a consultant team led by IHS Global, who used independent research, private interviews, and proprietary analytics combined with the first-hand testimony of the Task Force, resulting in the Manufacturing Growth Strategy for Philadelphia.

Read the full report.
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Commercial Corridor Cleaning Assistance Program Proposals due Feb 27!
Jan 08, 2014
The Commercial Corridor Cleaning Assistance Program funds organizations to support community service activities such as street and sidewalk litter removal, public safety services and other public space maintenance activities in order to enable businesses to provide needed goods, services and employment opportunities to residents. The proposed services must be part of a commercial corridor strategy that includes activities such as assistance to existing businesses, business recruitment, beautification, storefront improvements, and corridor promotions. Applicants must demonstrate that businesses and property owners are engaged in the revitalization effort. Typical contract amounts will range from $20,000 to $50,000 and funds are to be used for the staff doing the actual cleaning. Applicants must provide at least 20% of program costs from sources other than funds requested.

An optional pre-proposal briefing will take place in 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor- Room 18-029 on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:30 PM.

The deadline to apply is Thursday, February 27, 2014.

To download the RFP and apply:
1. Go to http://www.phila.gov/contracts/
2. Click “eContract Philly”
3. Click “New Contract Opportunities”
4. Search Departments: “Commerce”
5. Click on Opportunity 21131216185304 for Commercial Corridor Cleaning Assistance Program.

These programs are funded with federal Community Development Block Grant funds and subject to CDBG requirements and the proposed activities must serve primarily low/moderate income census tracts, based on Census Data. Questions may be asked at the briefing and/or submitted via email in advance of the briefing. Please refer to the RFPs for details on how to submit questions and for further information on eligibility and due dates. All proposals must be submitted electronically through the eContract Philly online application process at www.phila.gov/contracts, along with hardcopies delivered to the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce.
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Targeted Corridor Management Program RFP due Feb 7!
Jan 07, 2014
The Request for Proposals for the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department's TARGETED CORRIDOR MANAGEMENT PROGRAM is now posted online. Please read below for more information.

The Targeted Corridor Revitalization Management Program (TCMP) supports certified “Community Development Based Organizations” (CDBO) to fund full-time corridor managers. The typical targeted corridor is a four block commercial corridor of at least 100 commercial spaces and the typical contract amount is $75,000. The range of activities under TCMP are as follows.
  • Strengthening commercial corridors through planning and research; examples include: surveys of building occupancy and business activities. 
  • Making commercial corridors more welcoming and viable through revitalization and elimination of blight; examples include: corridor beautification, including gateways and public art; real estate development and rehabilitation; and facade improvements.
  • Increasing availability of jobs and retail goods and services; examples include: business development and retention; and linkages between workforce development and corridor businesses.
  • Strengthening businesses on corridors through marketing, technical assistance and financing; examples include: Business association development and management; corridor marketing and promotions; and partnerships with technical assistance providers and lending institutions.

An optional pre-proposal briefing will take place in 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor- Room 18-029 on Thursday, January 9, 2012 at 1:00PM.

The deadline to apply is Friday, February 7, 2014.

To download the RFP and apply:
1. Go to http://www.phila.gov/contracts/
2. Click “eContract Philly”
3. Click “New Contract Opportunities”
4. Search Departments: “Commerce”
5. Click on Opportunity 21131216141848 for Targeted Corridor Management Program.

Please note that an RFP for the Commercial Corridor Cleaning Assistance Program will be posted soon.

These programs are funded with federal Community Development Block Grant funds and subject to CDBG requirements and the proposed activities must serve primarily low/moderate income census tracts, based on Census Data. Questions may be asked at the briefing and/or submitted via email in advance of the briefing. Please refer to the RFPs for details on how to submit questions and for further information on eligibility and due dates. All proposals must be submitted electronically through the eContract Philly online application process at www.phila.gov/contracts, along with hardcopies delivered to the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce.
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Starting Jan 1, Commercial Activity License is FEE FREE!
Jan 03, 2014
Starting January 1, 2014, there is NO FEE for the Commercial Activity License fee.

A Commercial Activity License is required for all businesses operating in Philadelphia. This includes businesses that are located outside the city limits but do some or all of their business activity in the City.

Also, if you receive payment for work and an employer does not pay wage taxes on your behalf for that work, you are considered a Sole Proprietor and treated as a business by the City of Philadelphia. You are required to apply for a Commercial Activity License to work as a Sole Proprietor in the City.

READ MORE
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Licenses and Inspections Announces New Requirements for All Permit Applications and Contract Licenses
Dec 23, 2013
New requirements are in effect starting January 1, 2014.

December 23, 2013– Effective January 1, 2014, all contractors working on all types of construction and demolition projects in the City of Philadelphia will be required to meet additional requirements in order to obtain required permits. Under the new regulations mandated by the Department, permits will not be issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) unless the contractor named on the permit provides a Tax Clearance form from the Department of Revenue and a current, valid Certificate of Insurance. 

READ MORE
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Free PPA Parking this Holiday Season
Dec 20, 2013
Working with Mayor Michael Nutter and city tourism and hospitality officials, Philadelphia Parking Authority Executive Director Vince Fenerty announced that expired meter violations will not be enforced on Saturdays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s after 11 a.m. All other parking violations will be enforced.

Fenerty also announced an $8 parking rate on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at a number of Parking Authority parking garages during the holiday season. Learn More
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