October 26 – Philadelphia is embarking on another innovative project with the inception of StartUp PHL. The result of a partnership between the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, StartUP PHL is a unique model that supports entrepreneurs and investors. It’s designed to attract and keep tech start-ups and bring about job creation. It has three parts:
- In the first component, investors have the opportunity to apply for matching funds up to $3 million and become a fund partner to manage the fund.
- In the second part, entrepreneurs can apply for small grants from a pool of $500,000.
- Under the third part of this initiative, the web site will provide resources for entrepreneurs who need clear and useful information about start-ups.
The City is committing $3 million for the seed funding through the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. On its web site, PIDC is described: “Founded in 1958 as a non-profit, joint venture between the City of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, PIDC plans and implements real estate and financing transactions that attract investment, jobs and tax ratables to the City of Philadelphia.” It was a forerunner in the industry.
The project will undoubtedly benefits from the leadership of PIDC’s board of trustees. It is currently chaired by M. Walter D’Alessio, who has more than 40 years experience in planning, developing, financing and managing major real estate projects in Philadelphia. His experience includes 12 years (two years as executive director) of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and 10 years as the executive vice president of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.Walt D’Alessio has unparalled expertise and was a forerunner in advancing regional cooperation and public-private partnerships in the community.
“There hasn’t been a major real estate project in the city that hasn’t had his fingerprints on it,” said Charles P. Pizzi, former CEO of Tasty Baking Company and prior President of Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. “Everything that this guy has been associated with will benefit generations that come to the city.”
This project will show how Mayor Nutter wants to broaden the city’s reach in technology. “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,” said Mayor Nutter in a press release announcing the program. He may be setting the pace for other cities that have been reluctant to undertake this approach, such as Seattle.