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Philadelphia residents turn entrepreneurs with HUD’s aid

Philadelphia Entrepreneurs
Philadelphia Entrepreneurs

Several Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) residents have begun business and entrepreneurial ventures thanks to a fellowship program sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Designed to foster entrepreneurship, the program provides necessary resources, mentorship, and training to stimulate local economies and benefit PHA by breeding innovative in-house businesses.

One notable entrepreneur has established a clothing brand gaining recognition, while an upcoming gourmet food stall owner has successfully carved a niche in the local market.

The HUD-sponsored program is driving economic growth and instilling a sense of self-reliance and confidence among PHA residents, embodying the spirit of the American dream.

Notable participants include Nija Wiggins, Reshay Kennedy, James Clarence, Alisha Thorne, Olivia Bloom, Marcus Hansing, and Sophia Hamilton, who have pioneered in fields ranging from gourmet food stalls to technologically advanced home security solutions.

Introduced in 2021, the fellowship offers PHA residents comprehensive support in starting or developing a business. It includes training in financial management and marketing, mentorship from industry professionals, and potential networking opportunities.

Technical support, shared working spaces, and regular workshops on various business topics are also provided. The program creates a community of fellows, encourages open communication, and fosters innovative business idea generation.

Even after the program ends, fellows receive ongoing support including post-program follow-ups, progress monitoring, and assistance in troubleshooting business problems.

Kelvin Jeremiah, PHA’s President and CEO, recognizes the value of these services in addressing the opportunity deficit that typically affects disadvantaged communities. He believes in their importance in tackling the daily challenges these communities face.

The entrepreneurs participating in the PHA program are at various stages of their entrepreneurial journey.

Fostering entrepreneurship among Philadelphia residents

Some are new — others are looking to expand their businesses. Regardless of their experience level, they share a common thirst for knowledge and the determination to elevate their businesses.

The PHA program offers practical sessions designed to address each participant’s unique challenges, networking opportunities, and guidance from mentors and industry experts.

All entrepreneurs completing the fellowship have been approved to operate as PHA vendors. Plans are underway for a marketplace allowing PHA residents to sell their low-cost products. This project is expected to boost the local economy, fuel job creation, and provide affordable goods.

A fundraising campaign to support these initiatives has been launched, with sponsorship and partnership opportunities available for businesses and individuals eager to contribute to this empowering project.

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