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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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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Commerce Helps the School District to Repurpose Surplus Properties
Nov 08, 2013
The Commerce Department is excited to be working with the School District of Philadelphia to promote the repurposing of their surplus properties. Click here to see the full listing, property information and instructions on submitting proposals and expressions of interest:    http://www.philasd.org/real-estate/
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2013 Outstanding Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Sep 17, 2013
September 15 - 22 is Welcoming Week. Each day, the Department of Commerce is recognizing an outstanding entrepreneur that has made a significant contribution to Philadelphia's economy. Congratulations to all of them!

Meet the 2013 Outstanding Immigrant Entrepreneurs
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Mayor Nutter to Lead Trade Mission to the United Kingdom and Israel
Aug 22, 2013
Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that he will lead a trade mission to the United Kingdom and Israel next month in order to attract investment from international companies in Philadelphia and to assist Philadelphia companies with trade opportunities in these two key marketplaces. Mayor Nutter will be joined by a number of Philadelphia-area companies on both legs of the mission and will take part in a range of activities to promote Philadelphia and attract international investment.

“My Administration is committed to attracting investment and job creation to Philadelphia, whether from elsewhere in the United States or from around the world, and this trade mission offers many exciting opportunities to meet with businesses looking to invest in our region,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “I want to thank the many partners that are supporting this effort and working each and every day to promote Philadelphia on the global stage. It is through these relationships that we will attract new international investment, create trade opportunities for Philadelphia businesses, and create new jobs for Philadelphians.”

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PHL Made Project Aims To Make Buying Local Easier
Aug 21, 2013
By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Eating locally grown food — called being a ‘locovore’ — is a major trend, but there’s a plan to extend the idea into other products.

The newborn PHL Made project takes its inspiration from a 4-year-old effort in San Francisco, says Michael Cooper, vice-president at the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, but modified for a place that still makes stuff. In fact, these “makers”, whether it’s an item or technology or art, are at the heart of this...

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New Grant Programs for Food, Retail & Creative Bizs
Aug 12, 2013
The City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce in partnership with the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and The Merchants Fund have launched the ReStore and InStore grant programs to encourage business attraction and expansion on the City’s neighborhood commercial corridors. The programs are designed to help eligible retail, food, and creative businesses expand or make interior improvements. 

Learn more.
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Human Power Keeps New Kensington Clean
Jul 26, 2013
The Lean CDC: How Investing in Human Power Keeps New Kensington Clean
By Alex Vuocolo www.generocity.org

In Center City and University City, uniformed streets cleaners are almost as ubiquitous as police or Parking Authority officers. They are a fixture at parks, public spaces and business areas, changing out trash bags, sweeping, and operating large industrial street sweepers.

But to find Mariusz Turk, the only paid street cleaner in Kensington, Fishtown and Port Richmond, you may have to wander along Girard Avenue or up Frankford or even check beneath I-95. The best bet is to keep an eye out for his green-painted tricycle, which was built to haul drum equipment but now carries brooms, trash bags and cleaning chemicals.

Turk is employed by the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC), a broad-based community development corporation that engages in housing assistance and streetscape improvements...

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2012 Annual Disparity Study Released
Jul 19, 2013
In May Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Milligan & Company submitted the Annual Disparity Study for FY2012 to the City of Philadelphia. The study finds that while Minority/Women/Disabled-Owned Enterprise (M/W/DSBE) utilization remained relatively unchanged, there was an increase in the participation of M/W/DSBEs located inside Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Metropolitan Statistical Area. City-based participation increased by 8.8 percent between FY2011 and FY2012. The total amount of contracts awarded to M/W/DSBEs in the City grew from $57 million in FY20011 to $72.6 million in FY2012, a 27 percent increase.

Of the City’s seven completed projects with Economic Opportunity Plans, four projects exceeded their utilization goals, including two which with utilization of over 50%. Furthermore, for the third year in a row, the percentage of contracts with M/W/DSBE prime contractors increased.

Overall, while the number of M/W/DSBEs “ready, willing, and able” to compete for City business on Public Works, Personal and Professional Services, and Supplies, Services, and Equipment contracts has increased, the study concludes that overall disparity remains an issue, with a FY 2012 disparity ratio of .67 (down from .70 in FY 2011). The authors of the study recommend maintaining a participation goal of 25% for fiscal years 13, 14, and 15.
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Expanded Services for Food Businesses
May 17, 2013
The Department of Health and the Department of Licenses and Inspections have worked together to improve the licensing process for new food businesses. Businesses will find revised fees, forms and procedures, and new resources such as a step-by-step manual, streamlined plan review and application form, online payment options for some licenses, and a new food certification procedure. Health officials are also now available Tuesday - Thursday 10AM - 2:30PM in the Lower Concourse Level of the Municipal Services Building (1401 JFK, across from City Hall). Learn more.
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Support PHL Businesses, Become a Kiva Trustee
May 17, 2013
Commerce is partnering with Kiva, a non-profit that facilitates microloans, to bring low cost funding for small businesses, but we need community support. Kiva loans are made at 0% interest, and connect borrowers with a network of thousands of individual lenders, who become their customers and brand ambassadors. Becoming a Trustee is easy and requires no financial or legal obligation. Read the overview.
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