New efforts are under way to support Philadelphia entrepreneurs.
Startup PHL, a partnership between the city of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, aims to increase the availability of seed-stage capital for startups, and to accelerate the development of a support environment for entrepreneurs already in the city.
“Philadelphia is increasingly home to a dynamic, innovative startup and entrepreneurial community who are putting this city on the map as the place to be if you’re an entrepreneur,” said Mayor Michael Nutter who announced the creation of Startup PHL.
“The goal of Startup PHL is to build upon and support so much of the good work that is already being done, building more businesses, creating more jobs, and expanding entrepreneurial opportunities to even more Philadelphians.”
The initiative has two components including the Startup PHL Seed Fund and the Call for Ideas. The Startup PHL Seed Fund a public/private venture which will make seed-stage investments in Philadelphia-based tech startups. PIDC will seed the fund with $3 million to be matched and managed by a private investment firm that will make investments on behalf of the fund.
The Startup PHL Call for Ideas is a $500,000 fund to support innovative proposals for ideas and programs that support startups and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia. The goal of the fund is to make grants to proposals that enhance collaboration in the startup community; attract new entrepreneurs from both within and outside the city; foster networks for entrepreneurs to collaborate with each other, mentors, talent and investors; and ultimately lead to more business and job creation in Philadelphia.
“We want to establish Philadelphia as a city where entrepreneurs can conceive of new ideas, grow their companies, hire people and, ultimately become a permanent part of a vibrant, growing economy here,” said Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for Economic Development, who led the effort for the Nutter administration.
Greenberger said since 2007, four companies accounting for more than $1 billion worth of Philadelphia startups left the city in search of funding.
“Through Startup PHL we want to help more of those companies grow in Philly by providing more capital and by tapping into the incredible imagination and creativity of our entrepreneurial community and partner with them to support startups and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia,” Greenberger said.
PIDC President John Grady said Startup PHL is a perfect example of the partnership between the public and private sectors which PIDC embodies.”
“Our contribution to the Startup PHL Seed Fund will be leveraged with even greater private resources to fill a gap in the marketplace and provide much-needed seed capital to startup companies in Philadelphia's growing technology sector,” said Grady.
“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Mayor Nutter and the entrepreneurial community to help make Philadelphia the smart choice for startups.”
For information on Startup PHL visit www.startupphl.com
State Sen. LeAnna Washington recently announced she has partnered with Verizon HopeLine to collect old cell phones, which will be used to help survivors of domestic violence.
Phones donated at either of Washington’s district offices will be distributed through the Verizon HopeLine, which is a sponsor of this year’s 5th annual Walk to End Domestic Violence. The Verizon HopeLine repurposes and distributes donated cell phones to affected domestic violence survivors so that they may have an emergency line in times of need.
“Aside from helping the environment through recycling old cell phones, donating to the Verizon HopeLine is an easy way to help survivors of domestic violence start over again,” Washington said.
“Many of these brave individuals leave everything behind when they flea an abusive situation, and a cell phone can help them communicate with loved ones, employers and support facilities, allowing them to regain their independence.”
Donations will be accepted at both of Washington’s district offices, at 1168 Easton Road, Rosslyn and 1555-A Wadsworth Ave.Donors are asked to make sure that phones are in working order, disconnected from any existing wireless service, powered off, and any SIM cards are removed.
Batteries should be installed, nd any accessories should be placed in a bag along with the phone. Information on how to ensure a phone is ready for donation can be found on the Verizon HopeLine Web site.
“I can think of few better ways to help out someone in need than to give them a line of communication to help them get back on their feet,” Washington said. “I encourage everyone to donate their old phones and help out someone in need.”
No tradition is more beloved than the coronation of the king and queen at an HBCU.
Earlier this month, the Marian Anderson Music Center at Cheyney University was filled with students, friends and family members in anticipation of the customary pageantry.
From the podium, mistress of ceremonies Kara Craig and master of ceremonies Desmond R. King presided over the evening filled with elegance and grace. The excited audience members craned their necks as organizational kings, queens and escorts took their places in the Royal Parade through the theater and onto the stage.
Following crown- and sash-bearers Milanda Mardy and Daquan Cook, Jael Quarles, the flower girl, stole everyone's hearts as she walked through the audience.
Latifah Reddy accompanied the first Mr. Cheyney University, William Tyreek Walker Jr., and Jules McKelvey took the arm of his sister, the 40th Miss Cheyney University 2012-2013, Janelle McKelvey, escorting them to their waiting thrones.
After a blessing by the Rev. Elisha B. Morris, Ahn-Yea W. Graham, president of the Student Government Cooperative Association Inc., welcomed the audience.
Gifts of many shapes and forms followed, including a special performance to the royal couple by Janina Jones and a musical tribute by Lachelle and Shayna Miller.
When the dramatic moment occurred, the crowning of Janelle McKelvey as Miss Cheyney University 2012-2013, by Shakeemah Simmons, Miss Cheyney University 2011-2012, the audience settled down. Other treats followed, including a praise dance by Karla Hughes, and university president Michelle Howard-Vital presenting the president's charge to the reigning couple.
In accordance with custom, the entire audience sang the Alma Mater at the program’s conclusion.
A funding package of more than $234,000 aimed at addressing soil erosion and sedimentation flow into Darby Creek in Collingdale Borough, Delaware County, was approved by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, according to Sen. Anthony Williams.
Williams said the project includes financing for the planting of more than 300 trees in Collingdale. He said he was proud to help advocate for it.
“Using a simple approach like planting trees in strategic locations in the borough will have a wonderful, long-lasting and environmentally pleasing benefit,” he said. “It’s not complicated. Controlling sedimentation and erosion flow into watersheds is exceptionally helpful to the environment.”
The project is being completed through the auspices of the Delaware Regional Planning Commission.
The project financing includes a loan of $212,310 with an interest rate of 1 percent. “The finance rate, in conjunction with the obvious environmental benefits and quality of life improvements that will result after the trees are planted, makes this an exceptionally cost-effective stormwater management project,” Williams said. “It’s an example of what government can and is doing well.”
The Investment Authority provides low-cost financial help to fund important water quality projects throughout Pennsylvania. It assists communities and businesses by providing grants and loans to finance the construction of safe drinking water infrastructure.
Williams, a longtime proponent of environmental and conservation issues, is the Democratic whip in the state Senate.
United Bank of Philadelphia is one of 33 minority and community banks to benefit from a credit agreement with Exelon Corporation.
The energy company has arranged $123 million in credit lines with 33 banks in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey.
“Exelon’s minority and community banking program, now in its tenth year, exemplifies our commitment to doing business with diverse suppliers,” said Jonathan W. Thayer, executive vice president and CFO of Exelon.
“We view our diverse communities as valued partners in our business. The individuals and businesses in those communities and the diverse perspectives they bring are essential to our success.”
Exelon’s minority and community banking program has grown since its launch in 2003 with a $36 million credit facility from eight community banks. The program has more than tripled in credit facility size and more than quadrupled the number of participating banks.
In addition to United Bank, the four lead credit arrangers for 2012 include Seaway Bank and Trust Company and Riverside Community Bank in Illinois and the Harbor Bank of Maryland. Wilmington Savings in the Philadelphia area has also joined the program this year.
The minority and community banking program is mutually beneficial for Exelon and the participating banks. It provides Exelon subsidiaries Exelon Generation, PECO Energy, ComEd and BGE with additional sources of credit at competitive prices. Participating banks receive incremental business in the form of deposits, and the increase in assets help the banks generate more business and provide more services to their communities.
“Having a relationship with a Fortune 100 company further strengthens our ability to serve our customers, which include small businesses and individuals in our community,” said Joseph Haskins, chairman, president and CEO of The Harbor Bank of Maryland.
“By doing business with community banks in Baltimore and other urban communities, Exelon is investing in the economies of the areas it serves.”
The partnerships between Exelon and banks go beyond the credit agreements. They also offer the banks the opportunity to expand their business with Exelon into other areas and to seek business from other large companies.
As part of its business strategy to advance diversity, Exelon maintains partnerships with minority-and women-owned investment firms as well. The company has approximately $900 million of pension and healthcare assets invested with 10 diverse investment firms.
Exelon has made supplier diversity a critical part of the company’s overall supply chain strategy. With the addition of Constellation and BGE to the Exelon family of companies, Exelon expects its corporate spending with certified minority- and women-owned businesses to be approximately $700 million annually.