Referred to as the birthplace of American History, Philadelphia offers its citizens more than just philly cheesesteaks and Sylvester Stallone films. From offering small businesses grants to hosting free classes for starting a small business, The City of Brotherly Love has since been a city of timeless innovation thanks in part to one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin.
To help our fellow inventors and entrepreneurs understand the ins and outs of starting a small business in Philadelphia, here are the top 23 resources for inventors and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia as recommended by the bold and brave folks at Bold Patents.
Founded in 1740 by evangelist George Whitefield, the University of Pennsylvania has since developed into a school of innovation thanks in part to Benjamin Franklin himself in 1749.
Consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the country, the University of Pennsylvania has since had a plethora of students flock over because of its highly sought-out School of Medicine and Penn Integrates Knowledge program.
For those looking to combine their passions for business and medicine, the university’s Penn Medicine Center is an especially great place to start at.
Drexel University is a private research university that was founded in 1891 by Anthony J. Drexel to provide both men and women the opportunity to obtain a well-rounded, “practical liberal arts education.” At the time, this was seen as a very novel concept. Today, it continues to hold onto that tradition by being the only mandatory co-op in Pennsylvania and offering both an excellent engineering school and school of entrepreneurship to students of all different genders and backgrounds.
According to its Facebook, “Drexel offers a variety of educational and employment opportunities to students through study and internship programs in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.” This way, students can take what they know and apply it to real-life situations.
Just recently, the school’s video game team finished creating a video game that will be released in 2020 and is already included and being “wish-listed” on Steam.
Temple University is a top-ranked public research university that was founded in 1884 to help students become the next leaders and innovators in education, science, healthcare and the arts.
From creating nature reserves to hosting fruit tree adoptions, Temple University has since been a school that encourages its students to do more than get good grades in the classroom.
Not to mention that it is also the home of The Fox School of Business. This school is considered, “the largest, most comprehensive business school in the greater Philadelphia region.” Since its creation, the school has hosted a proud tradition of integrating technology and innovation in and outside of the classroom.
For those interested in trying different coffees from around the world, Temple University hosts a monthly International Coffee Hour.
From writing a business plan to filing tax and income forms, the City of Brotherly Love’s very own Business Services’ page offers a plethora of free online resources and workshops geared to all those looking to become the city’s next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs.
Founded in 1917, The Urban League of Philadelphia has been helping African Americans gain the skills needed to tackle Philadelphia’s competitive marketplace by offering them coaches and consultants to assist in areas such as sales, marketing, IT, and much more!
According to its website, “as of 2018: The Urban League Entrepreneurship Center trained 569 small business owners, resulting in the creation of 69 jobs and access to over $4 million in contracts and capital.” As such, the center is more than just a place to learn about business in general.
Here at the Urban League, anyone can become an entrepreneur starting on day 1.
For those who are between the ages of 18 and 24 and are interested in becoming the city’s next generation of entrepreneurs, The Urban League offers leadership, business development and career planning workshops.
Since 1983, the Small Business Development Center at Temple University has been offering businesses and startups free one-on-one business consulting, seminars, courses and a small business incubator.
One of these courses happens to be a veteran business trainingcourse, which is a new course designed to help veterans learn how to start a business from utilizing the lean canvas model to being able to file business taxes.
Speaking of which, the Center will be offering a course on Business Taxes on Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 12:00pm until 1:00pm. For those who wish to attend this free course, the registration deadline is 9/19/2019 at [8:00] AM (EDT).
In the meantime, here is a sample video of a typical MBA lesson:
The Philadelphia Inventors Alliance is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2017 by Jeffrey Dobkin to allow inventors to meet with other inventors in the area and share their ideas in a safe environment.
In addition to providing free advice on inventions, the alliance has a plethora of free online resources such as these tough invention questions to ask aninvention marketing firm.
Founded by award-winning inventor Andrea Rose on March 22, 2016, The Inventors Road Show in Philadelphia is a group that helps inventors pitch their products and raise capital in their industry.
For inventors looking to put their public speaking skills to the test in a real-life setting, the Road Show is considered one of the best places to do so. And no, this organization has NO relation with Antiques Road Show. Sorry to disappoint all of you history enthusiasts out there!
Home of the Founded in Philly accelerator, Philly Startup Leaders is a group of passionate entrepreneurs that has helped members of Philadelphia’s tech startup community connect with other inventors and entrepreneurs in the area.
From hosting meetups to listing co-working spaces throughout Philadelphia, Philly Startup Leaders has since been considered a valuable resource for many innovators in the area.
On Wednesday, November 13th, 2019 from 5-8 pm EDT, Philly Startup Leaders will host an interactive dinner on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in tech for those who are interested in attending.
StartupPHL is a group created by the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and PIDC to support entrepreneurs by providing funding and access to technology and entrepreneurial training to all organizations promoting entrepreneurship throughout Philadelphia such as its StartupPHL Venture Program.
According to the website, “The 2019 StartupPHL Venture Program is designed to support startup companies run by entrepreneurs from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds” This way, all entrepreneurs would have the chance to help change the city for the better.
At this time, they are NOT accepting applications for the Venture Program. However, anyone who is interested in learning more about how to become his or her self-starter can come and participate in any of StartupPHL’s multiple events.
Established in 1995 with a grant from the United States Small Business Administration, the Women’s Business Enterprise Center (WBEC) provides entrepreneurial training for women business owners and entrepreneurs in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Southern New Jersey.
From offering certification to qualified women business enterprises (WBEs) to assisting corporations in creating world-class supplier diversity initiatives, the organization has since been the city’s third-party certifier for women-owned businesses.
On November 21, 2019, from [5:30] – [8:30] PM EDT, the WBEC will be hosting its annual fundraiser to support women business owners and entrepreneurs. Tickets are $200 for each person and are expected to go on sale very soon.
The Philadelphia Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs is a network of female founders of small businesses. Their programs include a wide variety of events, such as the founder’s roundtable and excellent resources for scaling one’s business.
Originally, the group started out as the Women’s Investment Network (WIN). However, since then, it grew and matured into the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs, or AWE, a dynamic network focused on advancing women high-growth entrepreneurs in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Want to join an existing startup? They have opportunities for networking, awards, and access to incubator-style workshops are included so there is plenty for everyone.
This long-standing group’s goal is to build a green and thriving economy in the region. They do this by educating and growing a broad base of local, independent businesses and educating policymakers and the public about green business practice.
Since its founding in 2001, the group continues to advance a triple bottom line economy in the Greater Philadelphia Area.
For those interested in learning more about the group, the Sustainable Business Network will be hosting an open house at Redbud Native Plant Nursery on September 18th, 2019 @ 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm EDT.
Looking to refine your startup business? Join local entrepreneurs with The Original Philadelphia Entrepreneur & Business Meetup group hosted by Rick Tashman. They strive to give you the resources you need to make your startup excel, and avoid the startup valley of death.
This group meets on the first Friday of every month to help fellow innovators like you to refine your business and transform you into the next Fortune 500. So if you would like to have the chance to practice your pitching skills and network with other members, the next meetup is on Friday, October 4, 2019, from [11:30] AM to [1:15] PM.
The cost is free and members can either buy their lunch or bring their own.
We mentioned this organization a number of times on our previous resource pages (such as our Chicago resource page), but for those of you who don’t know, SCORE is a national organization which has gained a reputation for being very accommodating by offering free, confidential counseling (both online and offline) and free to reduced cost services such as workshops and meetups.
As for the Philadelphia branch of SCORE, it remains as one of the nation’s top non-profit organizations for small businesses alike since 2006. Regardless as to who you are and where your business stands in today’s economy, all fellow business owners are welcome to schedule an appointment with SCORE.
In the meantime, for those looking to get a little bit of help on their finances, SCORE Philadelphia is offering a free workshop titled “Meet the Lenders” on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, from [9:00] AM to [12:00] PM EDT.
Here, fellow business owners can meet with fellow volunteers to see if their business portfolio presents a match with a lender, followed by a more detailed interview (if requested).
In today’s world of globalization and constant communication, being able to speak in a public setting (especially towards a group of investors) is an extremely important skill to have on hand. That’s where the brave and bold folks at Blue Bell Toastmasters come in.
For the past 4 decades, Blue Bell Toastmasters has been helping fellow inventors and entrepreneurs just like you improve their speaking, listening, and leadership skills by providing them with a “ supportive-friendly, yet professionally-fun “laboratory” to learn, grow, and advance at your own pace.”
To do so, they provide you with a Mentor who will help you learn and understand how the program works so that you too can learn how to pitch like your favorite contestants on Shark Tank!
According to their Meetup site, the next session is on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, from [7:00] – 9:00 pm EDT and it is free and open to the public.
Do you have a startup that’s past the initial stage? In that case, Dreamit Ventures may just be the place for you!
For those of you who don’t know, Dreamit Ventures is an award-winning 3-4 month growth accelerator is for you. It is designed to help post-seed, mature startups with either product market fit, and revenue or early traction.
Since this group’s founding, Dreamit Ventures has since funded 250+ technology startups across the health, education, technology, consumer and enterprise sector such as such as Lia and LocoRobo.
For those who are interested in an accelerator like Dreamit, at this time, they are accepting applications for the program.
Are you a faculty, student, post-doc, or staff member of Penn. with an entrepreneurial spirit? In that case, Penn I-Corps may just be the place for you!
Free and open to everyone at the University of Pennsylvania, the I-Corps program works with Penn faculty, staff, post-docs, and students to test and validate startup ideas through customer discovery and refine their market researching skills.
No matter what your background is, all teams are welcome to attend. Plus, according to the website, teams are awarded grants of up to $2000 just for participating!
***Note that those who apply the earliest will receive the biggest grants. ****
NextFab is a network of membership-based makerspaces that provide access to tools, technology, education, events, and services for makers of any skill level. From 3D printing to jewelry making, Nextfab will work with your hardware focused startup 24/7 so that it too can succeed in today’s competitive market.
For those who are interested in learning more about NextFab, they will be hosting a free happy hour session on September 20 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT. Prior to that, there will be a tour at 5:30 pm for those who are interested in learning more about what the facility can do for them.
This session is open to the public, by the way. So if you’re new to the world of makerspaces, don’t be shy! Come give NextFab a try.
Operated by the University City Science Center and Drexel University, ic@3401 is a longtime Philadelphia incubator that focuses heavily on helping early-stage tech startups succeed in and outside of Philadelphia by providing them with funding and counseling.
Opened since 1999, Robin Hood Ventures has been investing in early-stage, high-growth startups in enterprise, physical sciences, IT, and life sciences , en route to building great companies such as Docdep and Lia.
To do so, they collaborate with venture capitalists, institutions, and other angels in their network in order to provide these companies with the best help that they could possibly get.
According to the websites, its investments generally range from $250k to $500k. For those who are interested in applying, all companies must:
Have a sustainable and scalable business model and potential for high return
Require $750,000 to $1.5 million to reach the “next level”
Have an opportunity for a Robin Hood Board seat
Valuation in line with early-stage opportunities
Be within a three-hour drive from Philadelphia
Have proprietary technology or other proprietary position
While some people today imagine a library as a place to check out a book and rent a movie, here at the Free Library of Philadelphia, fellow innovators can take advantage of the library’s free Business Resource & Innovation Center.
Opened since June 2, 1927, the Free Library has provided its fellow patrons with all the resources that they would need to succeed from hosting English Language Learning (ELL) classes to providing fellow entrepreneurs with a semi private space in the Parkway Central Library’s business center to practice and record their pitch in front of a video camera
According to its website, “in 1973, the Free Library has had a record for holding an outstanding training and outreach program, offering over 70 courses (!) in 2016 with an average attendance of 25 people. In addition, the library scored a 42.45 on last year’s Network Achievement Report (NAR) – the second highest score in the entire network.”
For those looking for a library that provides fellow innovators with professionally trained staff and free, reasonably accommodating services, the Free Library is a great resource to utilize.
When it comes to bringing ideas and inventions to market, there’s no question that the patent filing process can be so confusing to navigate.
That is why here at Bold Patents, we exist to help our clients through the legal processes of intellectual property in Houston. This way, they too can get their innovations to market as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible.
Because they focus only on patents, they are able to find the lawyer(s) that best fit a certain company’s needs.
If you would like to know more about what a patent is and what the steps for finding the patent that’s right for your invention, then check out this article on what is a patent.
There you have it! The top 23 resources for inventors and entrepreneurs in Phildelphia:
University of Pennsylvania – Great for those looking to combine their passions for medicine and business
Drexel University – One of the very few private research universities of its time to offer men and women the opportunity to obtain a “practical liberal arts education”
Temple University – Home of the largest, most comprehensive business school in the greater Philadelphia region
Offices for Small Businesses
City of Philadelphia Business Services – A great place to learn how to write a business plan and file tax and income forms for free
Urban League of Philadelphia Entrepreneurship Center – Helping African Americans become the next generation of innovators since 1917
Temple University’s Small Business Development Center – Great for Veterans looking to learn how to become their own bosses
Philadelphia Inventors Alliance – A great place for inventors to meet up with other fellow inventors in the area
The Inventors Road Show Philadelphia – Great for inventors looking to raise capital and pitch their ideas in an open, safe environment
Philly Startup Leaders – Home of the Founded in Philly accelerator
StartupPHL – Great for entrepreneurs of socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds looking to learn how to become their own bosses
Women’s Business Enterprise Center -Philadelphia’s very own third-party certifier for women-owned businesses
Philadelphia Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs – A nice network of female founders of small businesses for women business owners to interact with
Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia – A great group of people who know how to help businesses go greener
Original Philadelphia Entrepreneur & Business Meetup – A nice group of innovators that meets on the first Friday of every month to help others just like you to refine your business and transform you into the next Fortune 500
SCORE Philadelphia – One of the nation’s top non-profit organizations for small businesses alike since 2006
Blue Bell Toastmasters: Public Speaking & Networking – Great for those who want to pitch like the next contestants on Shark Tank!
Dreamit Ventures – An award-winning accelerator designed to help post-seed, mature startups with either product market fit, and revenue or early traction market themselves in today’s competitve market
Penn I-Corps Accelerator Programs – Free and open to all faculty, student, post-doc, or staff member of the University of Penn. looking to become the next generation of entrepreneurs
NextFab- Great for established hardware based startups looking to network
ic@3401- A longtime Philadelphia incubator for those with a passion for combining business and technology together
Robin Hood Ventures – Ideal for early-stage, high-growth startups in enterprise, physical sciences, IT, and life sciences looking to gain funding
Free Library of Philadelphia – One of the few libraries in the United States to provide fellow innovators a place to practice their pitches for free
Philadelphia Patent Attorneys
Bold Patents – Your future go-to place for all of your patenting needs!
Now tell us, what do you think of these resources? Are there any others that you recommend that we add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!
Legal Note: This blog article does not constitute legal advice. Although the article was written by a licensed USPTO patent attorney there are many factors and complexities that come into patenting an idea. We recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice for your particular situation. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists by simply reading and applying the steps stated in this blog article.