Guest Commentator: Peter Hotz, President, vybe urgent care @vybecare

Why is it important for businesses to support neighborhood entrepreneurship?

It has been fewer than 10 years since Facebook launched the “Like” button.

We started this social decade believing in the potential of building huge lists of contacts and followers. We thought these online connections would evolve into online communities. Ironically, the social decade has had the opposite effect and taught us to appreciate something refreshingly low-tech — our physical neighborhoods. Our neighborhood is the place we care most about. We live there, children grow up there, and it’s filled with people and places that are the fabric of our everyday lives.

Our notion of entrepreneurship has also evolved down this same path. We once understood entrepreneurship to be an individual effort because we knew the CEOs of mega-successful companies by name. But not every new business needs to be a Facebook, Amazon or Apple. In fact, sustainable and scalable entrepreneurship is community-based. It benefits and even transforms neighborhoods through the grassroots effort of residents joining forces. People who start businesses in their communities are more likely to hire locally, and, as catalysts for economic growth, entrepreneurs also help to lower youth violence and crime.

So how do we foster this and make it sustainable? We can help new and emerging businesses thrive by providing access to business advisors, sources of funding, potential partners and more. Entrepreneurship is a learned behavior. Studies show that exposure to an entrepreneurial setting as a youth not only affects the decision to become an entrepreneur, but also the likelihood to thrive as one. Through larger businesses supporting these community efforts, we create economic opportunity for this generation, and we actually change the way the youth in that community think about their responsibility to continue social change and community development.

vybe urgent care is committed to being a part of this neighborhood change. We are so fortunate to live in a city with some of the best healthcare facilities and physicians in the world, yet the average wait to see a primary care physician for routine care is 37 days. That is why we’ve placed our centers in neighborhoods like Port Richmond and Roxborough, as well as Center City, South Philadelphia and suburban communities. Through our support of our local communities, vybe is addressing the disparity in healthcare access that exists throughout our city.

For us, this is personal. We believe everyone deserves great health care — affordable and delivered in a clean and compassionate setting. We constantly work to create an environment and experience so that patients feel better as soon as they walk in and hope that this approach to service rubs off on other neighborhood businesses. We also know that providing affordable healthcare benefits is an ongoing challenge for businesses of all sizes, and hope that we can be part of the solution to that challenge.

Neighborhood entrepreneurship spurs innovation, creates jobs and injects the economy with a fresh batch of higher productivity firms. It is the catalyst for local development and social change, and most importantly, ensures a quality of life that every neighborhood deserves.

This summer, the Chamber’s Roadmap for Growth Action Team is going out into Philadelphia neighborhoods for specialized entrepreneur exhibits. These events provide Philadelphia residents with the tools and knowledge to start and grow their own business, uplifting their community and stimulating economic growth for our city.

July 18: Ogontz »

July 25: South Philadelphia »

July 26: North Philadelphia »

August 1: Port Richmond »