From Disenfranchisement To Empowerment: Uplifting Neighborhoods
Marilyn Kai Jewett
The Enterprise Center
The Enterprise Center (TEC) has promoted racial and economic equity since 1989 by supporting the growth of diverse small businesses and partnering with West Philadelphia communities on revitalization strategies. Their mission is to cultivate and invest in minority entrepreneurs to inspire economic growth in communities in the Mid-Atlantic Region. TEC services include one on one consultation for small businesses, providing certification as a Minority, Woman, and/or Disabled Business Enterprise, and connecting small businesses with procurement opportunities with 100 corporate and institutional partners.
TEC also has offices in Norristown and recently opened its Camden Cares Center after serving businesses in New Jersey for over a decade. Their CDFI just launched a special loan product for New Jersey businesses with funding from NJ-EDA.
TEC now has a community development corporation. “We chose to form a CDC so we could turn vacant and underutilized property into productive use for the community’s businesses, including the parcels that we acquired to develop Enterprise Heights at Farragut & Market Street,” explained TEC President Della Clark. The dilapidated supermarket that we transformed into the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprise is a stellar example of our CDC strategy. We have helped incubate hundreds of food businesses into sustainable operations. We will soon launch our Business Accelerator Kit and will continue to visit business corridors with our Biz on Wheels van to share information on accessing the free kit, which will contain a tablet and business software.”
Clark is looking forward to the April ribbon-cutting of its 52nd Street Community Resource Hub that was completed from the ground-up with 100% minority business enterprises.