Northern Liberties Business Improvement District and Community College of Philadelphia Launch New Retail Ready Bootcamp Incubator Program for Growing Small Businesses

The Northern Liberties Business Improvement District (NLBID) in partnership with Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) launches the first-ever Retail Ready Bootcamp designed to help businesses who are considering their first or next brick and mortar location. This special new incubator program comes at a very important time as the pandemic enters a new phase and businesses not only look to reopen, but to expand and capitalize on their pandemic pivots. The twelve-week courses will focus on creating a sound business strategy for opening a retail store in the current economic environment and is intended to help the businesses build confidence about their decision to move into a commercial space.  It will run from April 7th to June 23rd, and include a once a week, three hour live evening Zoom classes with instructors from the CCP’s Power Up Program.  Limited to just 15 participants in this inaugural class, applications are now open until March 12th. Businesses will be selected and notified by March 22nd. The $350 entry commitment is refundable when the business completes the Bootcamp. Interested businesses can find out more and apply at: https://www.explorenorthernliberties.org/retail-ready-bootcamp-applications-open/.

NLBID has created this program, along with the CCP, under CCPA’s umbrella of their Power Up Your Business Program. It is the only program of this kind being presented by any business district in the entire Philadelphia region.

“We realized that if the BID was going to tackle vacancy, we were going to have to be proactively helping to create successful business owners,” said NLBID Executive Director Kristine Kennedy. “Part of Northern Liberties’ character is local ownership and neighbors supporting one another.  We’ve seen a swell of kitchen table business startup since March and watched those that were already brewing really grow. The neighbors have really rallied around them. Our aim is to ready them for signing a lease with confidence and giving them the tools to be successful business owners.”

Kennedy added “It’s a win-win-win for CCP, the BID and the businesses who are accepted.  The CCP is very excited about bringing their Power Up program more tactically into neighborhoods, we are assisting new and existing businesses make good decisions and businesses learn about how best to approach growth.”

Qualifications for businesses to apply include operating for at least one year, gross revenues over $30,000 (profit and loss required), and a demonstrated effort in retail expansion.  There is a $350 commitment fee which will be returned to the business upon completion of the course. Participants will be chosen by a panel including members of the NLB Board, staff and CCP Power Up program managers.

“We are encouraging businesses who are considering a retail location to apply,” added NLBID Retail Recruiter Pam Simpson. “We feel businesses with these qualifications have created a good foundation on which to grow into a retail space and this bootcamp will teach them what they need to know to get their business to the next level.”

For the first year, the organizers are keeping the number at 15 businesses to ensure a more personalized and virtually hands-on approach especially during these challenging times.

“We are keeping this first one intimate so participants can get to know each other and interact with the instructors,” said Simpson. “There will be mentoring and coaching along with the classes.  Participants will have access to experts and information that is invaluable and will leave with a plan to move forward with their business.”

Once selected, the fifteen participants will partake in 3 class modules that will cover Business Structure which will include topics such as budgeting, legal, insurance and HR;  Financing your Businesses with topics on capital, credit, and understanding taxes; and Getting Retail Ready topics such as storefront improvements, reading commercial leases and leasing vs. buying.  The series provides a solid foundation for businesses at various stages of their development such as existing storefronts with a reliance on walk-in business, digital-first operators considering a brick-and-mortar location, and kitchen table startups ready to grow.

“This bootcamp is an opportunity to meet other business owners who are going through the same considerations, a chance to learn from and work with superior mentors and instructors and a time to concentrate and work on their business for its growth,” said Simpson. “We know a lot goes into a decision to leverage the first or next store and this Bootcamp is designed to walk a business owner through the process of determining their next, best move.”

Applications are now open. The program deadlines are as follows:

Now – applications open
March 12th – applications close
March 22nd – selected attendees notified
April 7th – First class begins
Jun 23rd – Graduation

For businesses and community leaders looking to support this effort, sponsors are being sought to help offset the costs of the program. Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Pam Simpson at pamsimpson@explorenorthernliberties.org.

For more details about this and Northern Liberties Business Improvement District, visit: https://www.explorenorthernliberties.org/

ABOUT NORTHERN LIBERTIES BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT

Northern Liberties Business Improvement District was formed in 2018 to provide supplements to the municipal services of the City of Philadelphia; maintain a safe, clean and vibrant commercial district for the benefit of the residents, users, and owners within  the district, and to citizens of Philadelphia and the region; to create opportunities for the business and residential communities to come together to make improvements to the district; and develop and implement programs and services that ensure that Northern Liberties continues to be a desirable place to live, work, shop, invest and visit. For more information, see explorenorthernliberties.org.

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