Innovation Philadelphia helps local entrepreneurs

Christopher Pinnock

The Philadelphia area, located some 3,000 miles from Silicon Valley, is rarely characterized as a high-tech region where college graduates would begin their career with the next big tech powerhouse. Young entrepreneurs who are looking to build the next Microsoft often view the San Francisco outskirts as their hallowed ground. However, Philadelphia is beginning to position itself as a regional leader of technological innovation and development, especially for just-out-of-college entrepreneurs.

Recently, Innovation Philadelphia, a quasi-public partnership in Philadelphia, introduced the Research Dollars program to help local entrepreneurs secure federal funding. Innovation Philadelphia’s mission is to enhance the Philadelphia economy as one of the leaders in global innovation and technological leadership.

According to a press release, Research Dollars is a totally web-based program created to help along the blooming entrepreneurs in gaining federal funding. In addition, the initiative will increase the amount and quality of the federal money for high tech businesses. A main focus of Research Dollars will be to educate the high tech entrepreneurs about the availability of federal funding programs. Innovation Philadelphia will provide a service to its applicants in which an independent board will review grant requests to help increase the professional appearance of them. In addition, Innovation Philadelphia will offer more support for grant applicants who show a strong fit between their project and any specific federal funding research topic. These applicants will receive Innovation Philadelphia funds that match up to one half of the cost incurred for the project, up to a maximum of $4,000.

“This is one of the many programs we’re launching to achieve our mission of enhancing the global innovation economy of Philadelphia by giving emerging technology companies more access to crucial funding,” said Richard A. Bendis, president and CEO of Innovation Philadelphia. In the firm’s press release. “For individuals and young companies trying to develop creative applications for new technology, the Research Dollars program helps those individuals and small businesses with promising projects to generate winning federal grant proposals.”

“The Innovation Philadelphia Research Dollars Program delivers a critical business tool for regional technology companies that need access and information on federal funding programs to help their businesses grow,” said Philadelphia mayor John F. Street. “By increasing the number of federally-funded proposals and awards, we can help emerging technology companies with delivering new technology to the marketplace and ultimately create high paying jobs in the region.”

Reactions to the initiative have sparked the interests of future entrepreneurs like Matthew Demchyk, president of the Villanova Entrepreneurial Society. “ Matching fledgling companies with government money while aiding in the writing of forceful proposals is a great first step to drive technological innovation in the greater Philadelphia area,” he said.

“I think its a great idea and would like to see more initiatives like it begun.”