Latest Grants, Programs, and Resources for Small Businesses [City of Philadelphia]

(Originally posted by the City of Philadelphia April 20, 2023)

The Department of Commerce’s multilingual business services managers provide entrepreneurs with one-on-one support, education, and customer service in Philadelphia. Staff meet each entrepreneur where they are to help connect them with City services and available resources citywide. We are here to support businesses and help them thrive. The goal is to increase economic opportunity for all.

If you have any business-related questions, contact our Office of Business Services by emailing or calling (215) 683-2100. Below are links to citywide grants, programs, and resources that are free or low-cost for your business.

Upcoming business grant and loan applications from local and national sponsors

In this section, we will share grant opportunities from local and national sponsors. It will be updated on a recurring basis with new application deadlines. If you know of a new program, please forward it to us and we will share it. Thank you.

*This list is not comprehensive.

**For up to date and complete information, visit the websites linked below. Reference in this section to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of businesses and consumers, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the City of Philadelphia. **

  • Fearless Strivers Grant – Open to black women who are legal U.S. residents, 18+ and the principal owner of a U.S.-based small business. With Mastercard prizing, Fearless Fund will be awarding four small black-owned businesses across the country with $20,000 grants, digital tools to help them grow their business online, and mentorship so they can continue to bolster their business. Don’t miss your opportunity, simply complete the entry form for your chance to win.
    • Application deadline: September 30, 2023.
  • Comcast NBCUniversal is looking to work with startups through the LIFT Labs Accelerator. Selected startups get unparalleled access to our network of mentors, businesses, and corporate partners to develop potential partnerships. The program is designed for startups at various stages in their entrepreneurial journeys from pre-seed to enterprise-ready and does not involve an issuance of equity to Comcast in exchange for participation.
    • Application deadline: Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • The Entrepreneur Works/Comcast Digital Marketing Accelerator is for purpose-driven entrepreneurs and marketers who are willing to take action, open to receiving critical feedback on their campaigns, and serious about scaling their online sales. As part of the program, business can craft a winning digital marketing plan and get to pitch their idea for the chance to be awarded up to $5,000.
    • Application deadline: Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • Etsy Disaster Relief Fund – Sellers will be eligible for a grant if they experienced a federally declared natural disaster within the past year, have been an active seller on Etsy for at least one year, and their Etsy account is in good standing. Grants for $2,500
    • Application deadline: Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • Wish Local Empowerment Program – The selected recipients will receive amounts between $500 – $2000. This program will only be open to Black-owned stores, to help promote equality and diversity in American business. You must be a Black-owned business with a brick-and-mortar shop within the United States and less than 20 employees. If selected for the program, you must join Wish Local (which is free).
    • Application deadline: Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • Amazon App Store Small Business Accelerator – The Small Business Accelerator Program allows developers that earn less than 1 million USD in total annual revenue in the previous calendar year to access additional benefits up to or equivalent to 20% of Appstore revenue. If eligible, you’ll receive a 10% increased royalty payment and AWS credits equivalent to 10% of your app revenue.
    • Application deadline: Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • AWS Startup Loft Accelerator – AWS Startup Loft Accelerator equips your technical team with tech resources, guidance and a community of peers. From technical deep dives to round tables on day-to-day CTO challenges, including recruiting, managing an engineering team, building a minimum viable product, and design principles for cloud architecture.  Provides $25,000 in AWS credits.
    • Application deadline: A new cohort of startups opens every month.
  • Techstars Accelerators– Techstars accelerators have one goal: to help entrepreneurs succeed. During each three-month program, they surround companies (companies should be based in North American time zones) with the best mentors and an unrivaled network.  Companies can receive $20K for 6% of company.
    • Application deadline: Various locations and due dates.
  • Warrior Rising Grant – Warrior Rising strives to accept and assist veterans at any point in the process of starting their own business, whether it is only a concept or if they have actual operations. Funding of $20,000.
    • Application deadline: Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • Freed Fellowship – Every month, one $500 grant is awarded to an underrepresented founder in the US to invest in their existing business. No strings attached. No equity required. Grant recipients are also eligible to receive an additional end-of-year grant of $2,500. The Freed Fellowship helps small business owners get the resources, mentorship, and community they need to build successful companies.
    • Application deadline:  Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.

Find business resources in your area

  • Use the Business Resource Finder to connect with local organizations in your area that offer guidance on starting, running, and growing a business. That includes through consulting services, classes, webinars, training programs, workshops, and funding opportunities.
  • Community Development Corporations (CDCs) across the city work to improve economic and social conditions at the neighborhood level through housing and business assistance. Your local CDC can help you find resources that best fit your situation and plans for your business. See a list and map of members of the Philadelphia Association of CDCs. The Department of Commerce partners with and invests in many of the members.
  • The Philadelphia BID Alliance is a citywide collaboration between 16 organizations focused on long-term economic development and public service. Business Improvement Districts, or BIDs, are local organizations that provide services to support and revitalize business corridors, as well as the surrounding communities.

The City is here to support your business

No matter where you are in your entrepreneurship journey, our Office of Business Services can meet with you one-on-one with guidance, education and support.

The Department of Commerce also provides:

  • Financial support programs open for businesses to apply throughout the year include the Business Security Camera Program and Storefront Improvement Program.
  • Emergency grants for small businesses. The Department of Commerce funded The Merchants Fund to launch the emergency grant program to support businesses facing hardship due to qualifying events such as fire, natural disaster, extreme acts of physical vandalism, utility failure, or business disruption due to public works.
  • The Philadelphia Business Lending Network Incentive Grant (PBLN) is a pilot program that provides a grant of up to $35,000, up to 50% of each approved loan amount from a Network lender to businesses that meet the eligibility requirements. PBLN was created to help businesses save time by reaching multiple lenders at once. If the project and capital needs match available resources, Network lenders will contact the business directly and request more information.
  • The Quality Jobs Program is a fund that invests in eligible businesses creating new full-time employment opportunities that pay a living wage and include health insurance benefits for Philadelphia residents.
  • The Fair Chance Hiring Initiative helps Philadelphia job seekers returning from incarceration, probation, or parole find open positions and provides financial incentives to businesses in the form of wage reimbursements and employment retention grants.
  • Join the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) Registry to apply for or renew certification as a minority, woman, or disabled-owned business. The City of Philadelphia allows businesses to bid on contracts. Businesses can search for contracts using Contracts Hub.
  • The Permit Navigator pilot is a digital tool designed to improve access to information about necessary permits, approvals, and requirements for selected types of residential and commercial projects. The Permit Navigator walks users through a series of questions and brings them to a summary page containing approximate costs and links.
  • Crime prevention tips for businesses and their employees. A flyer with resources for distribution is also available.

Upcoming workshops and training programs

This section will be updated on a recurring basis with timely training programs and workshops. If you know of an opportunity that would be helpful for businesses, please contact us and we will share. Thank you.

  • Our Office of Economic Opportunity is hosting monthly virtual workshops for businesses to explore opportunities to grow with City contracts, develop a strategy to pursue business proposals, learn about available resources and network with like-minded businesses.
  • Grow your business with PIDC Business Builder Workshops! Learn critical business education on various topics. Workshops are free, open to the public, and specifically targeted to established Philadelphia-based businesses and organizations from every industry. Business Builder Workshops en español are also offered. See a list of upcoming workshops to get the information you need to grow and succeed!
    • PIDC — Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation — also has flexible financing resources to serve the unique needs of Philadelphia’s diverse businesses, nonprofits, and real estate developers.
  • The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program guides businesses in creating a plan of action to increase their revenue and achieve their small business goals. Through education, professional support and new opportunities to access capital this program has helped hundreds of small businesses increase their visibility, efficiency and gain local renown at no cost.
  • Power Up Your Business is a free program that gives support, training and education to small business owners in Philadelphia. A community-based approach to growing small businesses that combines educational elements with impressive networking opportunities. Get connected with neighborhood-based business advisory groups and chambers of commerce, financial lenders, and community-based organizations!
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