Watch out, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York. There's a new player in town. Philadelphia looks to build a new identity as a center of urban innovation with the FastFWD program, a partnership that's pouring $1 million into local green business.
FastFWD is a partnership among The City of Philadelphia, GoodCompany Group, a social enterprise accelerator, and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. FastFWD was created through the City of Philadelphia’s participation in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. Bloomberg Philanthropies will fund the first two issue areas to be tackled by FastFWD.
Entrepreneurial innovation has a vital role to play in tackling today’s toughest urban challenges – the launch of FastFWD unlocks unprecedented opportunities for entrepreneurs to collaborate with cities to source, cultivate, and deploy solutions to pressing problems facing cities across the country.
Ten companies have been chosen as the first class for the accelerator, all with a focus on urban social innovation. There's a sustainable design studio, a crowdmapping tool to help combat sexual harassment and empower victims, a real-time neighborhood alert system, a visual artists hub, and more. Take a look at the diverse new companies launching through FastFwd.
2) Evergreen Cooperatives
The Evergreen Cooperative Initiative is all about creating an "economic breakthrough" in Cleveland. Evergreen Cooperatives are an alternative to a model where cities draw big corporations to bring tons of low wage jobs. They're building a local economy from the ground up by supporting new worker-owned, locally hiring businesses.
The Evergreen Cooperatives of Cleveland, Ohio are pioneering innovative models of job creation, wealth building, and sustainability. Evergreen’s employee-owned, for-profit companies are based locally and hire locally. They create meaningful green jobs and keep precious financial resources within the Greater University Circle neighborhoods. Worker-owners at Evergreen earn a living wage and build equity in the firms as owners of the business.
Evergreen isn't just looking to serve the Cleveland area, but to create a model that's portable for other communities. The Evergreen toolkit is under construction. However, the site features a great collection of stories and information about the impact these cooperatives have had so far. Find out more about the Evergreen Cooperatives.