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The Storefront Improvement Program has new guidelines!
Dec 18, 2014
The Storefront Improvement Program reimburses owners of commercial buildings and businesses within designated commercial corridors who make storefront improvements. The program can reimburse up to 75% of the cost of eligible improvements to a maximum of $10,000 for a single commercial property, or up to $15,000 for a multiple-address or corner business property.

To find out whether your property qualifies and contact Giana Lawrence at 215-683-2017 or Jonathan Snyder at 215-683-2153 or Email SIP@Phila.gov.

Get the Guidelines and Learn More
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Commerce Launches $200K Lighting Project at Germantown and Erie Aves.
Dec 12, 2014
Joint Commerce and Streets Department project is part of the City’s multi-year neighborhood revitalization strategy

Philadelphia, December 10, 2014 – Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger joined officials from the Department of Commerce and the Streets Department, along with Council President Darrell Clarke, to participate in a lighting ceremony today to turn on street lights along the commercial corridor at Germantown Avenue and Erie Avenue. The Department of Commerce and the Streets Department are sharing the $200,000 cost to convert existing street lights to brighter LED bulbs and add to the existing number of lights throughout the neighborhood.

This lighting project is just one of many strategies the Department of Commerce has employed over the last two years to revitalize the commercial corridor at Germantown Avenue and Erie Avenue. The area includes Germantown Avenue from Tioga to Butler and along Erie. The event marks a renewed commitment from the Merchants in the area to work together to make lasting change. 

READ THE FULL PRESS RELEASE
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Philadelphia is now a Kiva Zip City!
Dec 02, 2014
Small businesses in Philadelphia are serving up artisanal foods, providing professional and creative services, keeping craft manufacturing alive and boosting the local fashion and retail scenes.

But many small business owners and budding entrepreneurs also struggle to access the loans they need to get started and grow. They’re denied loans from conventional lenders for any number of reasons: the amount of money they need is too small, their business is too young, their plan is too innovative or their credit history is too short or damaged.

What they do have is passion, plans and people in their community that know and trust them. 

Make a loan to a Philadelphia small business owner HERE
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Mayor Nutter Announces StartupPHL Investments, New Angel Fund, and Latest ‘Call for Ideas’
Dec 02, 2014
Philadelphia, November 12, 2014 – Today Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced a range of investments in Philadelphia’s startups and entrepreneurs through Startup PHL, an initiative 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. The Startup PHL initiative encompasses a range of programs including the Call For Ideas, Startup PHL Funds, and the University City Science Center QED program. Through Startup PHL Funds and co-investments from First Round Capital six Philadelphia startups have received more than $1 million in combined seed or angel investment since October 2013, and through the Call For Ideas Grants ten organizations have received more than $200,000 in funding to support entrepreneurship programming.

READ MORE
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Kiva Zip Comes to Philadelphia
Nov 21, 2014
from Technically Philly | by Juliana Reyes

With the help of the Barra Foundation, the City of Philadelphia is helping local businesses get startup capital. Not startup venture capital — just good old fashioned small business loans, but these come with zero percent interest.

The loans come through Kiva Zip, a crowdfunding platform where people lend money to a business and get paid back over the course of the loan term, which could be anywhere from six months to two years. It’s all done through PayPal. A platform from San Franciso-based nonprofit Kiva, Kiva Zip is a way for small businesses to get loans from somewhere other than a bank. It’s also a direct way to support the local economy.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE
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Opportunities at Commerce: Job Postings
Oct 14, 2014
The Department of Commerce is looking for a Manager, Entrepreneurial Investment as well as Policy Analyst.

If you care about growing Philadelphia’s startup ecosystem, Manger of Entrepreneurial Investment is the job for you.

And if you’re a total data nerd who wants to help Commerce make smarter decisions, we would love to meet you.

See the full job descriptions here: 
Manager, Entrepreneurial Investment

Policy Analyst
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30th annual Minority Enterprise Development Week kicks off
Sep 30, 2014
From philly.com:

FOR MINORITIES, women or members of other historically disadvantaged groups who run businesses, leveling the playing field has always been a key goal.

As Philadelphia celebrates its 30th annual Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, its playing field is still uneven and barriers such as inadequate capital or technical expertise remain.

To help cope with those challenges, the week will feature free workshops and panel discussions, a tour of the Philadelphia Navy Yard and an awards program.

Read the entire article.
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Hill International Announces Global HQ in PHL
Sep 30, 2014
Philadelphia, September 22, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that Hill International, a global construction management and consulting firm, will establish its global corporate headquarters in Philadelphia, signing a lease for 60,000 square feet of commercial office space at One Commerce Square in Center City. Hill will move its headquarters from Marlton, New Jersey and begin a 12-year lease for space at One Commerce Square in May 2015. Hill will expand its current presence in Philadelphia adding approximately 220 new jobs over the next three years.

Read the full press release.
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Commerce is looking for a Communications Intern
Aug 15, 2014
The Philadelphia Department of Commerce seeks a part-time Fellow to assist the department over a four to six month period while completing studies related to communications, marketing, graphic design or similar creative degree. (Recent graduates may also apply.) The fellow will support the Department’s improved communication efforts to the business community. This opportunity pays $14/hour

Application deadline is August 29th. See full job description here.
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Submit your Minority Enterprise Development Workshop Proposal
Aug 05, 2014
The 2014 Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Committee is now accepting workshop proposals. GET THE APPLICATION HERE.

MED Week takes place Sunday, September 26-Saturday October 4, 2014. Individuals or organizations interested in submitting a workshop proposal should complete and email the application by 5 p.m. August 31 2014, to Lashawnda Tompkins at lashawnda.tompkins@phila.gov. 

Please note: Workshop submissions does not guarantee inclusion into the MED Week program. Workshops are approved based on discussion topic and space availability. Expenses for all workshops are the responsibility of the individual or organization, not the MED Week Committee.
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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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Read the City of Philadelphia FY2013 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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