A homegrown business is expanding

The homegrown business accelerator program DreamIt Ventures continues to expand. Started in Philadelphia five years ago, DreamIt first branched out to New York and then Israel. In mid-June, the organization announced that Comcast Ventures would continue to fund its program for minority-led entrepreneurs that it began in 2011.

Doing all this has meant adding hands to help.

Now Karen Griffith Gryga, who has been a venture capitalist, angel investor, and entrepreneur, last week joined as a managing director in Philadelphia. That expands the organization to eight professionals, including its three founders (David Bookspan, Michael Levinson, and Steven D. Welch) as well as Kerry Rupp, who remains managing partner.

Most recently, Gryga was chief executive officer of FashInvest L.L.C., a networking venture to link investors and fashion entrepreneurs that she had founded with Delaware venture capitalist David Freschman. She also has been executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Angel Group, which is hunting for someone to replace her.

What awaits Gryga at DreamIt? Probably a pile of applications from start-ups that want to be one of the 15 participants in DreamIt's fall program in Philadelphia, which begins Sept. 7. The deadline to apply is Friday, and the only way to do so is at www.dreamitventures/apply.

So far, 80 businesses have gone through the DreamIt program, including New York's SeatGeek Inc., a ticket search engine that has raised several million dollars from investors, including celeb Ashton Kutcher, and Boston's SCVNGR Inc., a mobile payment system developer that recently raised $12 million.


Plenty of fireworks

It's not every workweek that gets bifurcated by a national holiday, but that's the beauty of the Fourth of July.

Still, even a barge-load of fireworks may not be more anticipated than Friday's employment report. Job trends have weakened in recent months, and economists have gotten glum and glummer over job-creation prospects for the third straight summer. In May, employers added just 69,000 jobs.

Automakers may still be oohing and aahing over their U.S. sales for June when they release results Tuesday. The industry has been running at an annual pace slightly below 14 million vehicles so far this year. Cherry Hill-based Subaru of America Inc. will be hard-pressed to equal May's 48 percent increase in sales to 29,724 units.

July is also the start of the third quarter, but the volley of earnings reports from the second quarter won't begin to decorate the heavens until Pittsburgh's Alcoa Inc. first discharges its payload next Monday.


Contact Mike Armstrong at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or @PhillyInc on Twitter. Read his blog, "PhillyInc," at www.phillyinc.biz.