For Philadelphia to address its highest-among-big-cities-poverty rate, it needs to increase entrepreneurship and job development in every neighborhood.

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia today applauded the announcement that the City of Philadelphia will implement a new “Business Owners’ Bill of Rights” as part of its efforts to improve customer service and improve the relationship between government and the business community.  First proposed almost a decade ago by the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, the new initiative is a key part of an overall plan to address the city’s highest-among-big-cities poverty rate by inclusive, neighborhood level economic growth.

“Through the Chamber’s PHL Neighborhood Growth Project (NGP), we are advocating for growth at the neighborhood level through business creation and expansion,” said Rob Wonderling, President & CEO of The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. “We applaud the City of Philadelphia and thank the SBN for their leadership in moving this initiative forward, because we believe it represents some of the concerns we are hearing on the ground from small businesses across the city. We look forward to continuing to work with the business community and city leaders to increase the inclusive, neighborhood growth that is so important to reducing the city’s too high poverty rate.”

The Business Owners’ Bill of Rights announced by the City includes:

  • The right to transparent, fair and consistent application of rules;
  • The right to timely responses to inquiries;
  • The right to receive guidance from the Office of Business Services;
  • The right to review;
  • The right to language access; and
  • The right to polite, professional and respectful conduct.

“The SBN is proud to have worked closely with the Commerce Department, the Special Committee on Regulatory Review and Reform, and the Managing Director’s Office to create the strong set of principles outlined in the Business Owners’ Bill of Rights,” said Anna Shipp, Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. “We look forward to seeing this new focus on customer service, transparency, and consistency within City agencies, and to continuing to work with the City to support other improvements that further support local businesses, which are critical to the health of our economy.”

The City’s launch of this new initiative is timely, coming just days after a new report by the Center City District (CCD) and Central Philadelphia Development Corporation found that the majority of new jobs being created in the city are lower wage positions.  As one of the study’s authors stated, “In order to deal with unemployment, in order to deal with poverty, we frankly need much more robust job growth than we’re getting.”

The first step to increasing job growth and reducing the city’s poverty rate is making it easier for entrepreneurs and neighborhood businesses to grow and thrive.  That’s why, this spring, as part of its efforts to address Philadelphia’s highest-among-big-cities poverty rate, NGP called for the adoption a Business Owners’ Bill of Rights in order to “clear the way for entrepreneurs to focus on getting off the ground without getting bogged down in city processes or running up costly legal bills. And it would bring fairness, equality, and transparency to the process of business formation so that underrepresented communities and minority small businesses get a guaranteed fair shake in the process.”

The PHL-NGP is a broad coalition of business leaders, including the African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and dozens of civic and business leaders from across the city.  Beginning this spring, the Chamber has been engaging with community leaders, voters, and candidates in honest dialogue about the challenges facing the City of Philadelphia and its efforts to reduce the poverty that limits what the city can achieve.

“The adoption of the Business Owners’ Bill of Rights will start an important process, and the Chamber and its NGP allies look forward to continuing to work with the city and its leaders to improve business growth in every neighborhood,” closed Wonderling.