University City group receives grant to support local businesses

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yesterday, the University City Keystone Innovation Zone received a grant for $172,500 from the state to support local start-up businesses.

Keystone Innovation Zones — a major state initiative introduced by 1965 College graduate and former governor Ed Rendell in 2004 — are designed to spur collaboration among the state’s many universities and colleges to help foster and grow local business.

The grant was awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

Senior Vice Provost of Research Steve Fluharty, an executive committee member of the University City KIZ, said Penn joined the University City Science Center and other universities in the district to form a partnership. Together, they proposed to the state a plan for supporting start-ups “emerging from the new technologies developed at our universities,” he said.

The grant will have two immediate impacts on the University City business climate. One will be increased funding — micro-grants for developing prototypes — given to young businesses. The other will come in the form of programs that will offer grant-writing assistance and support in obtaining future funding.

Noting the partnership’s success, Fluharty said receiving the grant is “one important step that will demonstrate that the whole is greater than its parts.”

University City KIZ’s partners and sponsors include Penn, the Wistar Institute, the UCSC, BioAdvance, Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

Original Article