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Innovation & Job News

StartUp PHL’s Challenge Fund awardees announced

StartUp PHL has announced it's first batch of winners. $6 million will be doled out to promising Philly startups over the next three years. First Round Capital -- recently named StartUp PHL’s seed fund manager; they matched the city's original $3 million output -- will direct the distribution.

Since October when StartUp PHL was first announced, 118 groups applied for a piece of the $500,000 Challenge Fund. The winners were selected based on their potential to increase business operations, create jobs and strengthen existing entrepreneurial networks. According to Luke Butler, chief of staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, the Nutter administration chose winners that reflect the growing diversity of our economic landscape, with a focus on life sciences, technology, creative economy, education and clean energy.
Three of the six winning projects affect students: Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP-SEP) in partnership with Campus Philly received $25,000 to help local undergrads find internships in BFTP-SEP invested tech firms; PhillyCore Leaders was granted $15,000 to support education entrepreneurs; and Startup Corps earned $20,000 to put towards their high school entrepreneurship program.
"Anything that's about the next generation of entrepreneurs is particularly exciting," says Butler. "One of the overall goals we have for this administration is: How do we create the kind of environment where young people see opportunity in Philadelphia?"
Other winners included the Enterprise Center's Center for Culinary Enterprises, VentureF0rth and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, which is creating a comprehensive online directory for regional startup resources.  

While the decision isn't final, the Nutter administration plans to repeat the challenge fund.
"Not everyone is out there trying to raise money from VCs," says Butler. "Equally important are the organizations that we have in this city that are providing services and support to companies as they grow. We wouldn't be able to do this if the community weren't so strong already."
Source: Luke Butler, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development
Writer: Dana Henry
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