Community College of Philadelphia will offer free workshops to small local businesses next year in the hope of strengthening the city's commercial corridors.
The city is providing $800,000 for a year's worth of Power Up Your Business workshops and classes, with a three-year renewal option.
"One of our major goals is to ensure that our city is a growing business center, and that is dependent on the success of businesses of all sizes in all neighborhoods," Mayor Kenney said. "We have seen great growth in Center City and the surrounding areas, and we want all of our neighborhoods to experience that opportunity."
Kenney said there are about 265 commercial corridors throughout the city. The idea is to help small businesses in those areas that are struggling to grow.
Starting Jan. 11, CCP will offer workshops that cover small business financial management, personal and business credit, and neighborhood-based marketing. The workshops will be held at the college's main campus and three regional centers, starting with the Northwest Center on Jan. 11.
Any Philadelphia-based business may sign up for the workshops at http://ccp.edu/business-and-industry/store-owner-series. The college will also offer 10-week training programs for up to 25 businesses at a time for a total of 100 businesses in one year. The college will match the participants with a business coach and introduce them various existing small business resources.
Because of the limited number of spots, businesses are encouraged to apply for the program. The business must have been in existence for at least a year, have at least one full-time employee, and have annual revenue of no more than $1 million, said Carol DeFries, the college's vice president of workforce and economic innovation.
To apply, businesses may go to http://ccp.edu/business-and-industry/power-your-business/peer-based-learning-experience.
Kenney said he remembers how much the business corridors in South Philadelphia, where he grew up, affected the neighborhoods.
"When the neighborhood business corridor is strong, housing values are strong," Kenney said during Monday's announcement. "When the neighborhood business corridor is strong, it's safer, there are more people working, there's more of a community feel in the neighborhood."
More than half of the 17 City Council members showed up at Monday's announcement of Power Up Your Business, advocating for the small businesses in their districts and throughout the city.
Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, who represents the Ninth District, said that during the budget debates over the sweetened-beverage tax, small businesses were discussed, but not enough.
"Consumption was driving the argument, and to me not enough was talked about ownership," Parker said, adding that those discussions led to a wider discussion about helping small businesses.
Councilman Alan Domb, a businessman who owns a lot of Center City properties, said small businesses and restaurants improve neighborhoods.
Domb noted that one of every four leases in Center City is a restaurant.
"Every successful corridor needs restaurants, needs coffee shops, because you can't eat over the internet," he said.