PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Department of Commerce and its StartupPHL initiative announced the launch of a new grant program today, which aims to support startup companies run by entrepreneurs from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The StartupPHL Venture Program provides funding for technology or technology-enabled ventures that may not have access to traditional forms of capital and founder networks. The application is available online and must be completed by Sunday, May 5, 2019.

To qualify for the grant program, companies or organizations must demonstrate an ability to increase the number of jobs available in the city of Philadelphia, either through scaling their business or the development of programs that enhance economic development. Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of representatives from the City of Philadelphia and members of the local business community.

“We know that talented entrepreneurs come from all walks of life, but opportunity is not equally distributed,” said Commerce Director Harold T. Epps. “That is why we need to reinforce our commitment to equitable growth. This initial round of the StartupPHL Venture Program will elevate entrepreneurs who have the ideas and the tools to grow tech-based businesses in Philadelphia.”

The StartupPHL Venture Program provides small grants, ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, to businesses with ideas or initiatives that meet one or more of the objectives identified by the Department of Commerce. These objectives include:

  • Increasing employment in Philadelphia
  • Educating potential entrepreneurs
  • Promoting inclusion of all communities in the innovation economy
  • Driving economic development in neighborhoods outside of the central business district
  • Disrupting generational poverty through sustainable opportunities

“I’m humbled to spend my days working with so many creative and driven entrepreneurs,” said the City’s Director of Business Development for Innovation and Technology, Francisco Garcia. “I’m optimistic that this program will open doors for new founders and give current ones a boost as they work to solve problems through technology.”

Many startups are initially funded by a “friends and family” round of financing before they even get to the more widely known seed stage. However, in a city like Philadelphia where a significant portion of its residents come from an economically distressed background, their friends and family network is less likely to have disposable income to help launch a business. The StartupPHL Venture Program seeks to help close that gap and provide early-stage capital to entrepreneurs who could not access it elsewhere.

About StartupPHL
StartupPHL is a collaborative effort between the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). More information about StartupPHL can be found at