Through PhillyiHub, budding entrepreneurs turn ideas into action plans.

Since 2016, Mt. Airy CDC has spearheaded the PhillyiHub’s business training program that is FREE to qualified and approved candidates. The program is managed by Mt. Airy CDC Business Services Coordinator Aaron Crump, and the curriculum is led by The Business Center for Entrepreneurship & Social Enterprise, located in Mt. Airy.

The Business Center has been providing consulting, educational workshops and business support services to deserving small businesses for over 20 years. Their mission is to equip adult and youth small businesses with the necessary tools to start, sustain and expand their operations. Since 1999, the center has provided small business workshop training, teaching small business owners how to design and implement a business plan and scale. To date, the program has served over 3000 clients.

In fall 2021, with the support of the Wells Fargo Open for Business initiative, Mt. Airy CDC announced a new partnership with Fairmount CDC to expand the program to the neighborhoods the latter serves: Fairmount, Brewerytown, Francisville, Sharswood, and Spring Garden.

As of 2024, the program is currently funded through a generous grant from TD Bank.

The next PhillyiHub cohort begins May 30, 2024.

We are no longer accepting applications for the May cohort. Please check back for future dates.

About PhillyiHub

PhillyiHub was launched by Mt. Airy CDC in 2016 as the Philadelphia Immigrant Innovation Hub. Since the opening reception with Mayor Jim Kenney, the iHub has cycled through several cohorts of students, drawing from immigrant populations, existing businesses looking to grow, and startup entrepreneurs.

Cohort members make connections with fellow business owners, learn about a wealth of available resources, and visualize their businesses — and business plans — on a road map identifying strengths and weaknesses.


Camille Simpkins is a Relationship Manager with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC).  In her role as Relationship Manager, Camille supports businesses in Greater Philadelphia. For the past two years, she has served as the board secretary and instructor for The Business Center.

William Dorsey has spent his career addressing the financial and technical assistance needs of small businesses. He has served as a consultant and instructor for The Business Center over the past 10 years and sits on the board of the Southeast Pennsylvania Fair Housing Rights Center.

Typical Curriculum

** PLEASE NOTE: Curriculum is subject to change for future cohorts. **

A schedule of six, three-hour weekly classes is led by Camille Simpkins and William Dorsey via Zoom.

The outline of classes is tentatively as follows:

WEEK ONE: Meet and Greet/Business Model Canvas

Winter 2020 graduate Sulaiha Turner at her final presentation with a completed Lean Canvas Model
  • What are the key skills, resources, and knowledge you need to be an entrepreneur?
  • Do you have the right product or service?
  • Identifying the right customers that will pay for your product or service
  • How will you fund your startup?

WEEK TWO: Personal Financing Intro to Research & Resources

  • How do you price your product or service?
  • Determining the amount of capital you need to start your business
  • How much money do you need to keep the business going (cash flow)?

WEEK THREE: Industry Studies & Social Media Marketing Strategy

  • Determining market demand for a product or service
  • Customer interviews and market research
  • Competition and industry research
  • Utilizing the Lean Canvas model to validate your idea
  • Branding and articulating your message and unique value proposition
  • Strategies for startups to find the right customers

WEEK FOUR: Operations Planning & Legal Forms

  • Location of the business
  • Licensing, legal, and insurance
  • Hiring the right team and outsourcing
  • Developing operational processes for a sustainable business model through systems and technology

WEEK FIVE: Projections & Financials/Final Preparations

Fall 2018 cohort graduation

WEEK SIX: Visualizing Your Business Through the Lean Canvas Model/Slide Deck Presentations

  • Each person presents their business model canvas and gets feedback from classmates and invited guests
  • Share community resources and next steps
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