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Corner Office: Small Business Success

by Eustace Kangaju
Invoice2Go ranked Philadelphia ninth among the top 25 cities where America’s small businesses are thriving in 2016. Why? Because of its strong, seasoned entrepreneurial infrastructure, consisting of entrepreneurs, technical service providers, investors (public and private) and an otherwise diverse startup landscape.

The main reason that Philadelphia is a great place to start a business is the entrepreneurs and business owners themselves. There is buzz about entrepreneurship in the city that attracts spirited people with ideas, young and older, who want to make the world a better place. Entrepreneurship is promoted and encouraged in the communities, area high schools and universities.

The city boasts a network of technical assistance and support services providers to assist both new and existing businesses. These organizations are visible in the public and private sectors. One such organization is the Temple University Small Business Development Center (SBDC), one of 18 SBDCs in the Pennsylvania Network of Small Business Development Centers. SBDCs provide free management consulting services and educational programs for new and existing small businesses that are designed to help businesses grow and succeed. The Temple SBDC alone serves over 800 entrepreneurs and business owners yearly.

This entrepreneurial activity creates a need for capital to finance new ventures and existing projects. The demand is met by traditional and non-traditional banking institutions and venture funds. The City of Philadelphia launched its own funding initiative, Startup PHL, which is a public/private venture fund that serves tech startups. The venture and non-traditional banking community also specialize in providing capital for specific industry ventures that meet their criteria.

Philadelphia has a diverse startup universe that includes professional services, hospitality, arts, life science and technology. Technology and life science industry clusters are strengths in the region and have a specialized support network that includes incubators such as the Port of Technology and accelerator programs such as Dreamit Ventures. The presence of world-class research universities makes Philadelphia a force in the life sciences.

The outlook for Philadelphia is bright because it is filled with opportunities for entrepreneurs to take advantage of what it has to offer to new as well as existing businesses.

Eustace Kangaju is the Executive Director of the Temple Small Business Development Center.

Published (and copyrighted) in Philly Biz, Volume 1, Issue 3 (February, 2016).
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