Innovation Philadelphia announced its first investments to support the creative economy the same day that the mayor signed a budget containing no funding for the city-supported organization.
Innovation Philadelphia made loans totaling $150,000 to Brown Partners, a minority-owned advertising and communications firm, and DreamIt Ventures which runs a “business boot-camp” for start-up firms.
Executive vice president Kelly Lee said the fund demonstrates how serious Philadelphia is about encouraging the growth of design, entertainment, media and other “creative” enterprises.
Investing money in private companies is nothing new for this city agency. Its Economic Stimulus Fund made about a dozen investments, including putting $100,000 in a Conshohocken start-up called TurnTide Inc. in 2004.
Several months later, the huge security software company Symantec Corp. bought TurnTide for $28 million. That one deal returned $600,000 to Innovation Philadelphia. Such home runs don’t come often.
Innovation Philadelphia has been relentless in getting its message out. I’ve probably received more newsletters, studies and e-mail updates from it than any other economic development agency.