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Backed by $500K, this upcoming program will help startups go global

In a push to help Philly companies scale past U.S. borders, the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians and the University City Science Centerwill launch a program called Global Startup Accelerator (GSA) by January 2018.

To fuel the accelerator, the duo of Philly organizations secured a $500,000 i6 Challenge grant through the U.S. Commerce Department’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.

The GSA hopes to rely on the knowledge of “immigrant professionals and international communities in the region” to help early-stage life sciences and tech startups as plan for expansions abroad. To start, the accelerator will host two cohorts of 25 businesses: one focused on targeting the European market and another on the Indian market.

Science Center CEO Steve Tang, who frequently stumps for immigrants and their role in the country’s economic growth, said the program will allow new companies in the tech ecosystem benefit from the knowledge other immigrant entrepreneurs have gathered.

(BTW, here’s a list of 12 notable immigrant entrepreneurs in the Philly area.)

“This is an opportunity to harness the value of the immigrant entrepreneurial community in the city, not only as local job creators, but also as mentors, opening doors to global opportunities for the local startup community,” said Welcoming Center CEO Peter Gonzales. Earlier this year, the nonprofit also secured some grant money to create a business incubator for immigrant youth.

No word yet on if the program will include some investment on the companies themselves, but the organizations project that by 2022, the GSA will have created 240 direct new jobs, $6 million in new foreign investments and $12 million in follow-on investments.

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Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing