COVID-19 Relief Funding
In 2020, it became clear that new resources would be necessary to address the severe economic impacts of the pandemic. PIDC created new financial relief products, leveraged technology to deliver business support services to more businesses than we ever had before, and forged new partnerships while strengthening existing ones.
We were incredibly proud to launch many innovative programs to support entrepreneurs and small business owners across Philadelphia and the many people who rely on these employers for their livelihood during this unprecedented crisis. Here are a few new initiatives we temporarily put in place to support the growth and resilience of businesses during this critical time.
Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund
In March, the City of Philadelphia and PIDC launched the Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund as a tiered grant and loan program designed to support Philadelphia small businesses that make under $5M in annual revenue to help maintain payroll obligations and preserve jobs. This fund was designed to support businesses that were affected by shutdowns during the pandemic. More than $13.3M was awarded to 2,083 small businesses in Philadelphia. For further details on these statistics, view our full initial findings report from June 2020.
Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books, a coffee shop and bookstore located in Germantown; New Delhi Indian Restaurant, an Indian restaurant in West Philadelphia; and Freedom Apothecary, a woman-owned holistic wellness boutique in Northern Liberties that provides a platform for female-founded brands, received funds for pandemic relief.
Restart PHL Loan Program
In July 2020, PIDC launched the Restart PHL Loan program designed to provide flexible low-cost capital to small businesses with less than $5M in revenue as they re-imagined, pivoted, and sustained their businesses during this unprecedented time. This program provides financial support for costs associated with improved business resilience or growth, including working capital, fit-up, inventory, technology, mobilization, re-hiring, and employee training. The fund aims to invest in historically disadvantaged communities with a specific focus on minority, women, and immigrant-owned businesses located on commercial corridors in low-income areas. In 2020, PIDC provided a total of $1.5M in financing for 13 small businesses through the RestartPHL Loan, which ranged from $25,000 to $250,000.
The program provided pandemic relief to Peacock Laboratories, Inc., an immigrant-owned metal coating manufacturer in Southwest Philadelphia; La Fortaleza Physical Therapy Centers, a physical therapy center in Hunting Park; and Laurentius Salon, an LGBTQ+-owned hair salon in Bella Vista.
COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance Program
The 2020 state budget included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). Within this allocation, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) was allocated $225M for COVID-19 relief to small businesses through distribution to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), including PIDC Community Capital. The program provided grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. These businesses are at least 51% owned and operated by Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander individuals who have traditionally been discriminated against and disadvantaged when seeking financial services and financial products. Magaly Spa, a woman-owned, immigrant-owned health and wellness center in Oxford Circle, and Lil’ Pop Shop, LLC, a woman-owned, Asian-owned artisan popsicle and bakery shop in Spruce Hill, received funds for pandemic relief. Also, view Keeping Doors Open Impact Report | The COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance.
Business Support Services
In 2020, we further expanded our business support services — educational workshops, one-on-one counseling, and networking events — designed to support business growth. In March 2020, all in-person services transitioned to a virtual environment as we continued to connect Philadelphia’s small business community to trusted knowledge and resources.
PIDC hosted 46 workshops with more than 2,700 attendees. Topics included navigating legal matters as a business owner, managing business impacts and responses to COVID-19, managing cash flow, building credit, accessing financial resources, and maintaining emotional well-being during the pandemic and civil unrest. To deliver these workshops, we partnered with Lendistry, Scattergood Foundation, City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District Office, Women’s Business Enterprise Center (WBEC), The O’Connor Group, Vedere Group, Team Clean, C.H. Bonnett & Company, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, Spectrum Health Services, Octo Design Group, Your Outsourced CFO, Sirlin Lesser & Benson, National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Drucker & Scaccetti, Surety Bond Associates, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Business Resource and Innovation Center of the Free Library of Philadelphia, World Café Live, Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, and Philadelphia Arts & Culture Task Force.
We are also grateful for the financial support received from the Comcast RISE program that has allowed us to improve our programming and continue to provide high-quality content.
Even during a pandemic, we continued our partnership with the nonprofit Clarifi in hosting our third year of PIDC/Clarifi Boot Camp, which offers free financial coaching and credit counseling to entrepreneurs.
A collaborative effort between the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and PIDC, StartupPHL aims to support entrepreneurs in the City who bring energy, ideas, and vitality to Philadelphia as well as further enable the existing entrepreneurial talent that resides in the City’s different neighborhoods to flourish. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is the investment fund manager for the StartupPHL Seed Fund. With capital from PIDC and Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the fund made 11 investments in a diverse range of entrepreneurs by the close of 2020.