Skip to content

Various reports, including Pew and the Philadelphia African American Forum, indicate that there are opportunities for entrepreneurial growth in the City of Philadelphia; however, the number of African American owned businesses in Philadelphia is relatively small in comparison with the percentage of African Americans in Philadelphia.

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology will host a  series  in Fall 2019 at its Philadelphia location on the economy, jobs, and the potential for innovation in the City of Philadelphia, specifically addressing the youth, underserved populations, college students, and small and medium sized enterprises.  A look at the past, present, and future opportunities in the city of Philadelphia will be highlighted.  The events are free and open to the public.  The presentations: are from  4:30-5:30 pm are followed by light refreshments and networking from  5:30-6 pm

The lectures include “Perspectives on the City of Philadelphia from the Enterprise Center”, featuring Della Clark, president of The Enterprise Center,  on September 25th ;  “The Problem of Jobs – The Philadelphia Story” featuring Jeff Hornstein, Executive Director of The Economy League—Greater Philadelphia, on October 22nd; and “Getting to Equal:  United not Divided” featuring Andrea Curtis, President and CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia, on November 20th.

All the lectures will take place at Harrisburg University—Philadelphia, which is located at  1500 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA, Ground Floor.   There are no costs for the events but an RSVP is required.



President, The Enterprise Center (Philadelphia)

“Perspectives on the City of Philadelphia from The Enterprise Center”

Our activities are focused on the 3 core areas of BusinessCapital, and Community.

  • Our Businessdevelopment efforts accelerate the capacity of minority enterprises to compete in any marketplace through business education, management support, and connections to industry
  • Our Capital Corporation provides access to debt and equity capital that businesses need to start, grow, and succeed.
  • and our CommunityDevelopment Corporation catalyzes benefits for businesses and residents that spark revitalization in distressed, low-income neighborhoods.

Della Clark’s vision for minority entrepreneurship is not about counting the number of successful businesses but about making businesses count. Since 1992, Ms. Clark has brought this vision to fruition as President of The Enterprise Center (TEC) – an organization at the forefront of its region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, guided by the mission to cultivate and invest in minority entrepreneurs to inspire working together for economic growth in communities. The Enterprise Center accomplishes this by accelerating the capacity of minority business enterprises to compete in any marketplace through business education, access to capital, management support, and connections.

Motivated by her belief that businesses success is a team sport, Ms. Clark epitomizes the core values of collaboration and economic growth that drive the outcomes of TEC as operator of a MBDA Business Center of Pennsylvania (MBC-PA), a DOT Small Business Transportation Resource Center, and a U.S. Small Business Administration ScaleUp America Initiative. Under Ms. Clark’s leadership, businesses have been made to count through more than $602 million in contracts, $100 million in financing, and 2,713 jobs created through MBC-PA. Minority- and women-owned businesses have secured more than $4 million in loans to start, grow, and succeed through The Enterprise Center Capital Corporation. And, more than $5.5 million was raised to construct the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises, a 13,000+ square-foot LEED silver-certified food business incubator and hub of community health and nutrition resources in West Philadelphia since 2012.

One of Ms. Clark’s notable accomplishments was raising the $2.5 million necessary to renovate TEC’s building in West Philadelphia, which bears historical significance as the former home of “American Bandstand” and currently houses 34 full-time staff that operates and hosts entrepreneurial programs for minority and disadvantaged enterprises at pivotal stages of development.

Clark currently serves as a Board member for the University City District and Bridge of Hope CDC, and serves as a Trustee of the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. She is also a proud Eisenhower Fellow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Executive Director, The Economy League-Greater Philadelphia

The Problem of Jobs – The Philadelphia Story

Once the “workshop of the world” with a diverse manufacturing economy, the City of Philadelphia has lost a huge proportion of its historical economic base in the past 60 years. Today, Philadelphia struggles to find its competitive advantage. Yet it has tremendous assets that can be leveraged. This talk will explore the rise and fall of Philadelphia’s manufacturing economy, efforts to forestall its decline in the 1960s and 1970s, the racial and gender dynamics of its employment ecosystem, and contemporary strategies to create a sustainable local economy.

Prior to his appointment as Executive Director of the Economy League, Dr. Hornstein served as Director of Financial and Policy Analysis for the Philadelphia City Controller where he advised the Controller and worked on critical issues relating to Philadelphia’s fiscal health.  Under Jeff’s leadership, the Policy Unit produced numerous data-driven policy analyses on topics including the City’s property tax system, tax delinquency and receivables issues, tax incentive programs, charter school finances, the efficacy of the City’s tourism and convention promotion entities, and the state of retirement security in Philadelphia.  In collaboration with the City’s Commerce Department, he began coordination of a citywide initiative to increase local spending by Philadelphia’s major eds-and-meds anchor institutions, and will continue to coordinate Philadelphia Anchors for Growth and Equity as Executive Director of the Economy League.

In his civic life, Jeff serves on the boards of Queen Village Neighbors Association, a civic association in Philadelphia, as well as the Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition, a citywide organization representing 25 civic associations.  He helped convene the Friends Of Neighborhood Education, a citywide initiative to build community support for neighborhood public schools.  He has also participated in several of our Leadership Exchanges and ran for City Council in 2011.

After leaving academia in 2001 with a PhD in business history and publication of a well-regarded book on the real estate industry “A Nation of Realtors,” Jeff spent a decade in the labor movement.  He helped low-wage workers in the service and education sectors build workplace and political power.  Born in Brooklyn, a product of public schools in Matawan, NJ, with degrees from MIT, Penn, and the University of Maryland, he has called Philadelphia home since 2001.


Andrea Custis, President and CEO, Urban League of Philadelphia

“Getting to Equal:  United not Divided”

This talk will discuss the importance of civic engagement, the power of one and impact of collaboration.  We will focus on GOTV (Get Out The Vote) and the 2020 Census.

Andrea Custis was named President & Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Philadelphia (ULP) in July 2017.

A seasoned corporate executive, Ms. Custis has 30 years of sales, marketing, human capital and operations experience with Fortune 50 companies. In 2011, she retired from Verizon Communications Mid-Atlantic region. She was President & COO of Verizon Avenue providing bundled communication services to multi-dwelling communities nationwide. Ms. Custis was Group President of Sales and Marketing for Advanced Services. A change-agent in her own right, Ms. Custis led massive culture change efforts across Verizon in various departments.

Throughout her distinguished career with Verizon, Ms. Custis was known for her innovative and performance driven results. She managed a team that was rated first in the nation for three consecutive years in consumer phone, data and television product sales and services and maintained the highest customer retention rates nationally.

A respected public speaker, board member and mentor to many, Ms. Custis has established herself as a true public servant. For six years, she proudly served as a member of the Urban League of Philadelphia Board of Directors, where she sat on the Fund Development Committee. Ms. Custis served on the Board of Directors of Verizon Communications of Washington, D.C. She has also shared her talents and enthusiasm for community engagement by sitting on boards for Inroads, Inc. (Philadelphia, PA); Delaware Valley Child Care Council (Philadelphia, PA); Academy of Applied Electrical Sciences Board of Governors (Philadelphia, PA); DC Scores (Washington, D.C.); Atlas Performing Arts Center (Washington, D.C.) and Capitol VoIP Solutions (Washington, D.C.).  A strong advocate for education, Ms. Custis is a former member of the Board of Trustees at Lincoln University (PA) and was a member of the Advisory Council for Career and Vocational Education with the School District of Philadelphia. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Ms. Custis has been recognized by Ebony magazine as “One To Watch,” one of The Network Journal’s “25 Influential Black Women in Business,”, and “Executive of the Year” by the Consortium of Information and Telecommunications Executives and Hispanic Support Organization.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Morgan State University in Baltimore and a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.  Ms. Custis is also a graduate of Boston University’s Leadership Institute, a National Science Foundation Scholar of Princeton University, and most recently, a graduate of Georgetown University’s Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program.

Ms. Custis is a mother of two and currently resides in Philadelphia.

About Harrisburg University

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private non-profit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email,

326 Market St, Harrisburg, PA 17101
P: (717) 901-5100 Contact Us