Community College of Philadelphia and Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker (9th District) were joined by Mayor James F. Kenney, Council President Darrell L. Clarke, and other Council members on Dec. 5 to announce the launch of Power Up Your Business, a small business education initiative that will support the sustainability, management, and profitability of neighborhood small businesses throughout Philadelphia.
“During the debate about the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, much of the focus was on the consumption in low-income communities. I wanted to shift the conversation, however, to the topic of ownership,” said Councilwoman Parker, who championed the concept behind Power Up Your Business. “This program will help provide businesses with the tools to thrive, which will strengthen our commercial corridors and stabilize all neighborhoods. Those objectives are vital to the city’s overall prosperity.”
The free program offers a two-tiered approach. One is a 10-week course in basic small business management and planning, including peer learning, a business coach, and an introduction to various existing small business resources, which will serve 25 businesses per cohort. The second tier is a series of workshops covering small business basics such as financial management, personal and business credit, and neighborhood-based marketing.
“Power Up Your Business is designed to help business owners who are too often overlooked in economic development conversations,” said Dr. Donald Guy Generals, president of Community College of Philadelphia. “I am speaking of the neighborhood day care centers, the corner groceries, the hair salons and barbershops. Power Up Your Business is a neighborhood-centric approach to economic development offering free training, business development workshops, and useful tools to existing and aspiring small business owners.”
The goal of the program is to focus on neighborhood-based businesses that are located on commercial corridors. It will especially prioritize child care businesses, food entrepreneurs, corner stores, and micro businesses, many of which are minority- and women-owned. The City will provide the college with $800,000 per year for three years for the program.
“Our commercial corridors and the small businesses that operate on them are the backbone of our City,” said Mayor Kenney. “Small businesses create local spending, provide community space, and create countless jobs. By providing these business owners with tools and resources to maximize their success, we will strengthen not just our neighborhoods but our city.”
Research shows that small businesses are the biggest job creators in most cities. According to the Small Business Administration, Philadelphia had over 27,000 small businesses in 2013, most of which had between 1-19 employees. In total, they accounted for more than 582,000 jobs and $31 billion in payroll.
“I commend Councilwoman Parker for showing leadership in making sure every neighborhood in Philadelphia has an opportunity to grow and thrive,” Council President Clarke said. “The ingredients for success, such as creativity and drive, exist everywhere, but some areas just need that extra spark. My thanks to Community College of Philadelphia for joining us in working with residents to spur local economies and move our entire city forward.”
Carol de Fries, Community College of Philadelphia’s Vice President of Workforce and Economic Innovation, said “The program is unique because rather than focusing on business size, it focuses primarily on the businesses’ potential as job creators and their social and economic importance as an anchor to their commercial corridor or neighborhood. We share the vision presented to the City by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney whose strategy calls for a neighborhood-centric approach to economic inclusion and change.”
To be eligible for the 10-week course, a business’ annual revenues must not exceed $1 million, and they must have at least one full-time employee. The first class will start in February, with applications due by Jan. 13, 2017. The workshops will be held at the college’s main campus and three regional centers, starting with the Northwest Regional Center on Jan. 11.
“Power Up is essential for small businesses like mine,” said Monica Parrilla, co-owner of Marz Auto Central in Hunting Park and a member of the Power Up Your Business Advisory Committee. “There are workshops, seminars, and grants available for businesses with a large-scale revenue stream, where small businesses like mine are excluded because we do not meet that benchmark. The workshops that the Power Up program will provide via Community College of Philadelphia are pivotal to our growth. I am so grateful to be a part of this initiative and cannot wait to see the long-term impact this will have on small businesses.”
“I want to thank Mayor Kenney, President Clarke and my Council colleagues for their leadership and support,” Councilwoman Parker said. “I also want to thank Dr. Generals and his team at Community College of Philadelphia for their commitment to make this program an overwhelming success.”
View the announcement:
# # #
Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker is in her first term representing the 9th Council District. Parker previously served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives serving the 200th Legislative District. More information at phlcouncil.com/CherelleParker