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Buy Local Philly

When you buy local, you support the independent, one-of-a-kind businesses that make up the heart of Greater Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. Buying local keeps money in your community and builds a strong local living economy.

Follow us online @buylocalphilly.

The Buy Local Challenge

Did you know that the average American spends $646 during the holidays? That money is directed towards gifts, wish lists, holiday cheer, and letting family and friends know they are special. If that money is spent with locally-owned businesses, however, it has the ability to buy all of that and more, including a vibrant and thriving Philadelphia economy. This holiday shopping season, you have the power to invest in your city.

Consider this. For every $100 you spend at a locally-owned business (as opposed to a non-locally owned retailer), $25 more dollars are circulated throughout the Philadelphia economy. If each of Philadelphia’s 1 million adult residents diverted just $100 of their holiday spending to buying locally, we’d have an influx of over $25 million dollars that would otherwise be lost to outside suppliers, services, and investments.

There are a multitude of benefits that are derived from buying locally. Locally-owned businesses are more likely to source their goods from local suppliers. This develops our economy from within by taking full advantage of local talent, capital, and markets instead of importing these resources. The infrastructure assets that we are all taxed for are used more efficiently by small shops located on neighborhood or downtown commercial corridors, as compared to big box stores. And more money is kept in circulation within our local economy, benefitting non-profits, local jobs, and local families. In short, if Philadelphia wants to preserve its character and build an even more amazing future, buying local is the way to go!

Most of us are used to voting during election time as a way of choosing our leaders and expressing our values. Well, the way in which you spend is a way of expressing your values, too. Every time you spend with a locally-owned business, you are voting with your pocketbook for a vibrant economy, a healthy environment, and community empowerment. You are preserving the unique flavor that distinguishes Philadelphia from any other American town and encouraging local ownership of our economy.
So buy local!



Social Venture Institute 

  The Social Venture Institute (SVI) is a powerful experience that connects emerging and established entrepreneurs to resources while creating a supportive peer environment and provides a nationally-tested opportunity for successful business people to share their knowledge, experience, and insights with emerging entrepreneurs in our region.

Attendees can expect to hear the trials and triumphs from local and national successful entrepreneurs during the True Confessions sessions. Networking skills will be refined and put to use during Networking Activities and Exercises. Attendees can take a deep dive on business challenges during dedicated Breakout Sessions. They will get connected to vendors and resources at the Business Expo. A featured Case Study will allow participants to weigh in on real-life challenges of a local business.

SVI attracts an incredibly diverse audience, as measured by background, industry, and stage of growth. To help facilitate this diversity, SBN created a scholarship fund that targets entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs who are people of color or from low-income backgrounds. Some attendees meet new investors, others meet mentors, and others meet new suppliers and clients. Both Triple Bottom Line veterans and those who just started their sustainability journey will gain something valuable from SVI.

SVI Highlights:

True Confession Roundups: Lightning talks by successful social entrepreneurs who share their stories and expert advice.

Marketing Breakout Sessions: Specific sessions to better service your business’ needs.

Business Resource Expo: Exhibitors and sponsors offer information and resources from banks, service-based organizations, and more!

Coaching and Mentoring Sessions: 1-on-1 business advice from a professional coach.

Social Media Help Desk: Learn how to increase your followers and heighten your brand on social media.

Featured speakers: Inspiring lectures from professionals within the SBN community.

“The SVI team has created a non-judgmental space for entrepreneurs sharing a passion for sustainability to be honest and vulnerable and in essence instill great and inspiring strength.” - 2012 SVI Attendee




The Emerging Industries Project

The Emerging Industries Project is our methodology for collecting data directly from regional businesses, building productive relationships between job trainers and employers, and informing our collective work to grow the green economy.

LATEST REPORT: February 3, 2012, Mayor's Office of Sustainability and Sustainable Business Network are pleased to release their latest collaborative effort.

Building Energy Efficiency in Philadelphia: Current Landscape and Recommendations for Increasing Energy Efficiency in Philadelphia’s Housing Stock

Read past Emerging Industries Project reports:


Chapter 1: Redeveloping Local Sustainable Manufacturing

Chapter 2: Developing Construction & Demolition Waste Recovery

Chapter 3: Energy Efficiency and Retrofit

Chapter 4: Gray to Green - Jumpstarting Private Investment in Green Stormwater Infrastructure




The Green Economy Task Force

The Green Economy Task Force is a coalition of concerned citizens, businesses, government officials, organized labor, non-profits, and communities of faith that is working to build an inclusive green economy in the Philadelphia region that benefits our neighborhoods, our working families, and our planet. Convened by SBN in February of 2008, the Task Force has grown to include more than 650 Stakeholders and over 300 organizations. The Task Force is made up of teams, each focused on a critical component of the growth of green collar job opportunities in our region: policy that drives green-collar job growth, funding that supports green businesses and new technology, job training to prepare our region’s workforce for a changing workplace, and employer commitment to ensure that productive relationships are maintained between businesses and job trainers. The Green Economy Task Force is led by ten representatives, known as Committee Co-Chairs, from partner organizations.


June 2007 – SBN’s Executive Director, Leanne Krueger-Braneky, hears Van Jones speak at the Annual BALLE conference in Berkeley, CA and becomes inspired by his message of green collar jobs for low-income communities as a fulfillment of SBN’s vision for an economy that values people, planet and prosperity for all.

September 2007 – Judy Wicks invites Van to speak in Philadelphia in early 2008 and he accepts. Leanne convenes a working group to figure out how to use Van’s visit to have a deeper impact in Philadelphia. The working group includes Christine Knapp, John Churchville, Bernadine Hawes and Laureen Boles, who later become chairs of the GETF.

December 19, 2007 – President George W. Bush signs the Green Jobs Act as part of the Energy Bill, allocating $125 million for green collar job training, including $25 million for Pathways Out of Poverty. The legislation moves over to Appropriations where it sits, without funding, for the next 12 months.

February 21, 2008 – Van Jones travels to Philadelphia to speak at the Urban Sustainability Forum and meets Mayor Michael Nutter for the first time. The sold-out event was attended by over 600 people and nine webcast locations were set up across the region to accommodate the demand from participants. This event, and Van’s motivational words, was a major catalyst in the development of the GETF in Philadelphia.

March 6, 2008 – Philadelphia City Council approves resolution calling for joint hearings on adopting a Green Jobs Corps to help Philadelphia create qualified, trained workforce to support local green businesses and contractors.

March 7, 2008 – Philadelphia Inquirer runs commentary by Leanne on the possibilities for green-collar job development in the Philadelphia region.

March 20, 2009 – Van Jones returns for invitation-only Green Economy Strategy Session at City Hall. This strategy session brought together key leaders from green business, workforce development, green building, labor, youth development and local government to start work on a green jobs strategy for the Philadelphia region. Strategy Arts facilitates the meeting. From this meeting emerged the four committees of the GETF: Policy, Funding, Job Training and Employer Relations.

March 20, 2009 – SBN releases Building a Green Economy: Green Collar Job Development Initiatives in the Delaware Valley. This report is an initial look at the organizations currently training and hiring green-collar workers in the Philadelphia region.

April 2008 – GETF committees meet for the first time, choose Committee Chairs and set short-term (3 months) and long-term (one year) goals. John Churchville and Carol Austin chair the Job Training Committee; Karen Randal and Bernadine Hawes chair the Employer Committee; Christine Knapp and Natalia Olson Urtecho chair the Policy Committee, and Laureen Boles chairs the Funding Committee. Leanne becomes the convener of the Committee Chairs and Committees begin to meet monthly.

May 5, 2008 – Philadelphia City Council holds briefing on Green Collar Jobs. The briefing was the first step in bringing the green jobs issue to Council’s attention.

August 2008 – GETF releases recommendations for sustainable procurement policies for the City of Philadelphia, authored by Nick Frontino and Jonathan Rosenbloom. These recommendations outline how the $1.4 billion spent by the City annually on products and services could serve as an economic tool to stimulate green business development.

September 25, 2008 – Philadelphia City Council resolves to recognize September 27th as Green Jobs Now: A National Day of Action to Build the New Economy in Philadelphia

September 27, 2008 – SBN partnered with Green For All, 1 Sky and the We Campaign to participate in the Green Jobs Now! National Day of Action to Build a New Economy.

October 21, 2008 – SBN hosts book-signing for Van Jones’s bestselling new book, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.

December 15, 2008 – John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awards $125,000 to SBN, the first funding for green jobs work.

January 15, 2009 – Urban Sustainability Forum hosts forum on green jobs titled, “The Green Economy: Economy and Environment Working Hand in Hand.” The forum discussed best practices from other places, people, and individuals working on green jobs. Representatives from Greencorps Chicago were on hand to share how their community landscaping and job training programs work.

January 28, 2009 – Green Economy Task Force holds first Stakeholders Meeting at the Center for Architecture to report on our progress since March 2008.

February 4, 2009 – SBN leads delegation of local leaders to Washington, DC to educate local lawmakers about work in Philadelphia and to ask them to fully fund the Green Jobs Act. The Philadelphia delegation met face-to-face with two Senators and four members of the House of Representatives. Included in the delegation were representatives from the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, Philadelphia Youth Network, Energy Coordinating Agency, AFL-CIO, Philadelphia Water Department, Sierra Club, Empowerment Group, Sustainable Business Network, PennFuture, Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Zoning Code Commission, West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution, as well as local business leaders. GETF follows Green for All’s lead and asks for $500 million to fund the Green Jobs Act.

February 17, 2009 – Obama signs economic recovery bill including $500 million for green collar job training.

February 2009 – SBN hires Kate Houstoun to lead its green collar jobs initiatives, including overseeing the Green Economy Task Force

February 28, 2009 – Vice-President Joe Biden holds the first meeting of his Middle Class Task Force at the University of Pennsylvania. The focus of this meeting was on green jobs as a pathway to a strong middle class, and attendees included Vice-President Biden, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. Speakers included Van Jones and Mayor Michael Nutter. Leanne, Kate and GETF Co-Chairs attend.

March 23-25, 2009 – SBN’s Kate Houstoun attends Green For All’s Community of Practice Metropolitan-scale energy efficiency projects in Oakland California.

March 25, 2009 – Kate Houstoun tours Cypress Mandela Building Trades Training Facility in order to explore similar apprenticeship programs in Philadelphia.

April 29, 2009 – City of Philadelphia Launches GreenWorks, the strategic plan for greening the city. GreenWorks aims to: reduce Philadelphia’s vulnerability to rising energy prices, reduce Philadelphia’s environmental footprint, deliver more equitable access to healthy neighborhoods, create a competitive advantage from sustainability, and unite Philadelphians to build a sustainable future.

May 2009 – SBN hires Elliott Gold as Policy Fellow to write the first two chapters of Emerging Industries Project looking at Sustainable Manufacturing and Construction and Deconstruction Waste Management.

May 11, 2009 – SBN holds Recovery Act 101 in conjunction with US Small Business Administration and Department of Commerce. The forum educated small business owners about resources needed to prepare and position themselves to participate in the new programs and initiatives created by the U.S. Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

June 2, 2009 – SBN holds a forum on manufacturing in Philadelphia called the Philadelphia Materials Project. This forum launched the first chapter of the Emerging Industries Project on sustainable manufacturing.

June 16, 2009 – Briefing to the PA Black Caucus in Harrisburg on Green Collar Jobs.

July 31, 2009 – The first green jobs family reunion is held at Marathon Grill on 10th and Walnut Sts. Nearly 50 people involved with the GETF gathered to socialize and relax together.

August 1, 2009 – SBN brings in Zac Sivertsen, an Americorps VISTA, as Green Jobs Associate to help staff GETF and develop a Green Economy Task Force Toolkit to help grow green jobs coalitions in other communities.

August 15, 2009 – Kate Houstoun speaks on a Green For All panel discussing Turning Federal Investment Into Real Opportunity at Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh, PA. Netroots Nation is the country’s top convention for progressive online activists.

August 18, 2009 – SBN holds first Energy Efficiency business roundtable for businesses with less than 20 employees. Nine business representatives attended the event, which was facilitated by Strategy Arts.

August 20, 2009 – A second Energy Efficiency business roundtable is held for businesses with more than 20 employees. This session was attended by 5 representatives from businesses with an average of 213 employees per company. This session was also facilitated by Strategy Arts.

September 2, 2009 – Business/Trainer Dialogue for Energy Efficiency Chapter is attended by 4 businesses from the prior two roundtables and 7 workforce development organizations from across Philadelphia. The discussions at these three events led to the production of the Energy Efficiency Chapter of the Emerging Industries Project, produced by Strategy Arts.

September 25, 2009 – World Green Energy Symposium panel organized and moderated by Kate Houstoun. This panel discussed creating green jobs and training for people with barriers to employment and included Sheila McKenna of the Community College of Philadelphia, Steve Williams of the Partnership CDC, Walt Yakabosky of the Energy Coordinating Agency, Micah Gold-Markel of Solar-States, and Jerome Shabazz of the Overbrook Environmental Education Center.

October 9, 2009 – Second GETF Stakeholders Meeting held at the Wharton Business School on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The meeting was attended by close to 120 stakeholders and included the release of the first 3 chapters of the Emerging Industries Project, and discussion about a GETF Pledge. Following the large group meeting there were three breakout sessions that dealt with 1.) the new GETF website, 2.) lessons learned from applying for money from the ARRA, and 3.) creating a state-wide partnership for green-collar jobs and access.

October 15, 2009 – BuildGreen Conference panel on job trainer funding moderated by Kate Houstoun. The panel brought together Sally Silver of Smart Energy Initiative of Southeastern PA, Liz Robinson of the Energy Coordinating Agency, and Ronni November of PA Workforce Development to talk about how programs created by the Stimulus Package are preparing individuals for green jobs in the marketplace.

October 23, 2009 – SBN and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau host Green Careers Workshop for Women in Philadelphia. For the first panel, representatives from 4 green economy businesses gave presentations about the types of job opportunities available to women in green roofing, energy efficiency, recycling, and solar panel installation. A second panel made up of women holding green jobs discussed their experiences finding and holding green jobs. The event was attended by nearly 150 individuals from across the city.

January 13, 2010 – Dawn Moody becomes the first Green Ambassador in the Green Economy Speakers Bureau. At the time Dawn was an energy auditor with the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA), a non-profit organization that weatherizes low and moderate income homes. Since becoming an Ambassador, Dawn has been promoted to a managerial position with ECA.

January 18, 2010 – JOIN Partnership receives $1 million grant from the US Department of Labor to fund the Green Jobs Readiness Partnership’s (GJRP) development of customized learning pathways to move low-skilled adults into green career pathways. GRJP brings together the Federation of Neighborhood Centers, a network of neighborhood centers in South Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, and SBN.

February 3, 2010 – Huyen Tran is hired by SBN to be the Green Partnerships Associate to manage the future FNC/JOIN partnership and the BUC Industry Partnership.

March 10, 2010 – The fourth chapter of the Emerging Industries Project, “Gray to Green: Jumpstarting Private Investment in Green Stormwater Infrastructure” by SBN Policy Fellow Sarah E. Francis, is officially released at an event at the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

February 19, 2010 – The GETF Job Training Committee convenes sixteen training organizations that have received funding to train adults for green occupations from energy efficiency to manufacturing: Community College of Philadelphia, Federation of Neighborhood Centers, JEVS Human Services, Goodwill Industries, Partnership CDC, Energy Coordinating Agency, Maxwell Education Group, American Cities Foundation, Connection Training Services, Bartram's Garden, Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Committee, Philadelphia Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters, Foundations Inc, Metropolitan Career Center, Veterans Green Jobs, and Veterans Multiservice & Education Center. At the meeting attendees discuss ways to partner and share resources to provide better service to their clients.

April 28, 2010 – SBN holds a Launch Breakfast for the newly formed Business United for Conservation (BUC) Industry Partnership. This initial meeting brings together 41 companies to learn about becoming a member of BUC and to begin to discuss business needs in the conservation and pollution mitigation sector.

May 4-6, 2010 – Leanne and the Green Economy Department staff attend the Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference in Washington, DC. The GETF leads a workshop on Philadelphia’s Stormwater management plans and the recently released Gray to Green report.

March 11, 2010 – Cory Suter becomes the second Green Ambassador in the Green Economy Speakers Bureau. Cory is the founder of BioNeighbors Sustainable Homes, a white and green roofing company in West Philadelphia. BioNeighbors works with Partnership CDC, a West Philadelphia non-profit organization, to train people with barriers to employment about installing green and white roofs.



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