October 17, 2019
|For Immediate Release: October 17, 2019|
Abby Douglas — United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
Kevin Lessard — City of Philadelphia
United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia and PIDC, Releases RFP for Equitable Entrepreneurship Assessment and Strategy
PHILADELPHIA – United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia and PIDC, today released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a consultant to comprehensively analyze the current entrepreneurial landscape in Philadelphia. The analysis and assessment will have a specific focus on the ecosystem of resources available to diverse business owners—including people of color, immigrants, and women—who have traditionally been underrepresented in the business community.
United Way is seeking a consultant to assess the existing landscape of resources currently supporting entrepreneurs in Philadelphia and to provide a set of recommendations on how to increase effectiveness, enhance collaborations, fill gaps, and address opportunities for further investment. The goal is to identify and provide support to high-potential, lower-resourced opportunities, with a focus on the resources available and accessible to diverse entrepreneurs and businesses at different stages of growth.
“This initiative is a major step forward in elevating opportunities for people of color, women, and immigrants who are underrepresented in the Philadelphia business community,” said Harold T. Epps, Commerce Director for the City of Philadelphia. “Philadelphia is a majority-minority city, but our minority business creation and growth trails peer cities. This assessment will help us identify solutions and new resources to break down barriers that inhibit the growth of businesses from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.”
This initiative—one of the priorities in the City’s inclusive growth plan, “Growing With Equity”—builds on existing investments by the City, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, and PIDC in enhancing Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial landscape. The City and its partners are committed to creating and supporting an environment where diverse business owners in all areas of the city can open and grow a business successfully.
Successful proposals in response to the RFP must address three major phases, to be completed over the next year:
National Research and Review — Conduct peer city research and review models for collaborative, regional entrepreneurship strategies across the country; report on best practices, case studies and replicable models.Local Needs Assessment and Recommendations — Comprehensively review Philadelphia’s local entrepreneurial landscape, including support organizations, lenders, philanthropic funders and more to identify opportunities available, with a focus on businesses owned by women, immigrants, and people of color. Facilitated Program Design — Collaborate with stakeholders and apply research findings to build a continuum of supports for entrepreneurs that covers the entire life-cycle of business growth by incorporating evidence-based, equitable strategies to support diverse entrepreneurs.
“United Way believes in a community where every person in every zip code has access to transformative, life changing opportunities to unlock their potential and build more prosperous lives,” said Bill Golderer, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. “The research from this RFP will inform a critical step to moving the needle on poverty: building an ecosystem that equips entrepreneurs with access to the resources they need to launch and grow thriving business that not only provide them with a sustainable income, but also have the potential to transform neighborhoods, create jobs and stimulate economic growth for others as well.”
Current racial and gender disparities in rates of business formation and growth are due in part to structural barriers, and this proposal seeks to identify those barriers and find comprehensive solutions. Diverse entrepreneurs generally do not have the same type of access to the necessary requirements to launch and grow successfully, which include access to capital, business and financial management education, and market opportunity. By identifying structural barriers and gaps in resources, this initiative will help all Philadelphia businesses and entrepreneurs grow.
“From our years of experience supporting the growth of entrepreneurs, PIDC is familiar with the particular challenges faced by people of color, women, and immigrants trying to grow their businesses in Philadelphia,” said John Grady, President of PIDC. “We are excited for the results of this assessment and the development of a strategy to help build capacity, strengthen effectiveness, and ultimately to identify opportunities for resources to accelerate the growth of these businesses.”