Via the JPMorgan Chase’s PRO Neighborhood Initiative, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) contracted with Urbane to create an equitable economic development strategy for the historically underinvested Southwest area of Philadelphia. Around 93 percent of its residents are Black or African American, and nearly a quarter are immigrants from West Africa, the Caribbean, and other diaspora communities. With commercial and industrial development beginning to proliferate in adjacent areas, PIDC and Urbane set out to define opportunities to support community-led wealth generation in Southwest alongside citywide investment and growth.
Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC)
2018 - 2019
Capital Access Recommendations
The analysis of needs was conducted through three distinct lenses. The first examined the capital and operational gaps faced by small entrepreneurs from ideation to inception as they establish, grow revenue, and eventually scale up to take advantage of procurement opportunities. The second lens explored workforce pipelines from community-based entry points to more intensive training programs, taking into consideration the workforce needs of nearby anchor institutions and large employers. The third lens focused on place-based development opportunities – from arts and culture focused facilities to affordable housing to Opportunity Zone investments - that have the potential to be catalytic.
These lenses provided the basis for a comprehensive district identity strategy that challenged PIDC, the City of Philadelphia, and the various stakeholders in positions of power and leadership to adopt an economic development strategy that seeks to attract, retain, and invest in Black wealth generation in all ways, including Black-centered tourism and hospitality, talent attraction and cultivation, community governance and ownership models, innovation economy investment, physical and digital infrastructure investment, and Black diaspora focused supply chain development. Southwest Philadelphia is the natural place-based epicenter for this strategy, given its proximity to many of Philadelphia’s strongest economic and institutional assets and its place as a black diaspora hub for culture and commerce
By mapping out capital resources and existing local lenders and technical assistance providers, Urbane identified opportunities for PIDC to adapt and apply its existing product portfolio, facilitate community-led development, and leverage its role as a convener to make critical connections for audacious equitable investment strategies. The final deliverable lays out findings from the needs assessment along with a series of action steps for PIDC to invest in true community ownership, wealth-building, and self-determined district identity building among Southwest residents, businesses, and community stakeholders.
The engagement culminated in an indepth report and Executive Summary, weaving together insights from over 110 interviews with key stakeholders, including small business owners, community- and faith-based leaders, lending institutions and technical assistance providers, City agencies, and anchor institutions. The analysis included an infographic visualization of capital-related needs and challenges for small business, workforce development, and catalytic community development, as well as a map of place-based development opportunities to meet community needs, matched to identified PIDC products and tax-incentive programs. The report culminated in recommendations for PIDC product development and deployment, convening, and capacity building.