A Navy Yard and Comcast Corp developer. said Thursday they are each putting $1 million in financial aid to support the business aspirations of women and people from underrepresented groups in Philadelphia.
Ensemble/Mosaic, a joint venture of Ensemble Real Estate Investments and Mosaic Development Partners, said it was seeking to diversify the workforce and business ownership in the sprawling $2.6 billion project in the South Philadelphia through a non-profit organization initially endowed with $1 million. Comcast is offering $10,000 each to 100 businesses with 25 or fewer employees who have battled the pandemic.
These are the latest efforts by Philadelphia institutions on social equity issues, sparked in part by the killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed. Nearly a dozen new investment funds have launched in the Philadelphia area, aspiring to raise at least $300 million or more for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, or BIPOC, business owners. businesses.
Leslie Smallwood-Lewis, co-founder of Mosaic, said “diverse populations should feel welcome at the Navy Yard.” To achieve this, the developer creates the nonprofit with the initial funding of $1 million and ongoing funding with 2% of net operating income after debt service on the buildings it leases to tenants. . The group inaugurated its first building dedicated to life sciences in March.
The first grant of $100,000 will go to a worker training program run by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. at the Navy Yard. Going forward, the Ensemble/Mosaic TNY Empowerment Foundation will also help BIPOC women and businesses relocate to the Navy Yard with grants or loans and help diversify contractors and construction workers, said the ‘organization.
Smallwood-Lewis said the foundation will also expose a diverse population to the real estate industry through internships and mentorship.
Kate McNamara, senior vice president of the Navy Yard at the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., a public-private agency, said she was “incredibly excited” and could add 16 to 20 participants to the worker training program in the facility. coming year with the new funds. The Navy Yard Skills Initiative launched in 2020 and graduated 53 participants, 98% of whom offered full-time jobs, McNamara said. The program works with specific employers.
In its latest round of funding, Comcast said it would distribute $1 million in Philadelphia to small businesses owned by people of color, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and Asian Americans, as well as women. . Comcast first offered the grants in April 2021. The latest round is part of a $5 million nationwide program.
Chanda Anderson, the owner of Chanda’s Hair Studio and Uptown Hair Salon, both in Cedarbrook, told Comcast that her 2021 grant has helped her “stay afloat; I used it to purchase hair for my clients and generate income. At a time when I was seeing one client a day in my house versus five to seven clients a day before the pandemic, this has helped more than you can imagine.
Beginning June 1 through June 14, eligible businesses in Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh and the Twin Cities, in addition to Philadelphia, can apply for a $10,000 grant at www.ComcastRISE.com. A total of 100 grants per city, or 500 grants in total, will be announced and awarded in July 2022.
Third-party panels will choose the winners, Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Bilotta said.
“While we know that no single organization alone can solve historic and systemic inequalities overnight, we are committed to taking concrete actions that can have long-term impact and change,” said Dennis Mathew. , senior vice president of Comcast. He said the funding “will provide more entrepreneurs with the resources and tools they need to grow their business.”
Under the same program, Comcast has awarded nearly 400 marketing and technology packages to small businesses in Philadelphia owned by people of color and women. Businesses can also request these plans at www.ComcastRISE.com.