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U.S. Department of Commerce Awards New Grant to Support Immigrant Entrepreneurship and Exports in Philadelphia

Philadelphia (October 24, 2017) – The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians and the University City Science Center a $500,000 “i6 Challenge” grant through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.

Startups in the Greater Philadelphia region face challenges in establishing strategies that will enable them to effectively scale into global markets and think globally from the start. With the EDA investment, the Welcoming Center and the Science Center will jointly launch the Global Startup Accelerator (GSA) in January 2018 to foster the global innovation ecosystem in Philadelphia. The GSA will leverage the knowledge of successful immigrant professionals and international communities in the region, to help local early-stage life sciences and technology startups as they plan for future expansions in foreign markets. The GSA will start with two specific regions: one focused on entry into the European marketplace and another focused on entry into the Indian marketplace.

“Recent census data shows Philadelphia as being the fastest growing metro region for foreign-born residents,” says Welcoming Center President & CEO Peter Gonzales, Esq. “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.”

“Immigrant entrepreneurs play a vital role in shaping Greater Philadelphia’s economy” says Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA, President & CEO of the Science Center. “Together with the Welcoming Center, we’re ensuring that the exciting new ventures in our innovation ecosystem can benefit from the wealth of knowledge and experience of our immigrant entrepreneurs to help the region thrive.”

"The Welcoming Center and Science Center are natural partners to take this program forward,” says Vice President of Soft Landing Programs at the European American Enterprise Council, Blandine Chantepie-Kari. “Both will do what they do best: act as neutral intermediaries that can convene and centralize the major players in Philadelphia’s startup ecosystem. The two organizations are well connected and able to bring stakeholders together from across academia, industry, and government to improve efficiencies and outcomes in the startup space.”

By 2022, the anticipated impacts of this program are expected to include 240 direct new jobs, $6 million in new foreign investments, and $12 million in new follow on investments.

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About the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians

The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians promotes immigrant integration and economic advancement through education, training, employment, and entrepreneurship, both for foreign and American born. It works with individuals and small businesses alike, providing technical assistance to entrepreneurs on the road from ideation to implementation. One of the keys to successfully supporting entrepreneurs is understanding the cultural and personal challenges the people behind the businesses face. The Welcoming Center has extensive experience in this realm and this knowledge will be an important asset for the GSA. For more information about the Welcoming Center, visit

About the University City Science Center

Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For 50+ years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, graduate firms and current residents of the Science Center’s incubator support one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond. For more information about the Science Center, go to


Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians:

Lina Duffy, 215.825.7770,

University City Science Center :

Jeanne Mell, 215-966-6029,

Kristen Fitch, 215-966-6156,

Media Contact:

Kristen Fitch

Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing