3500 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19104

+1 (267) 973-7164  

Monday to Friday | 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Lancaster Avenue

21st Century Business Association

Who we are

The Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association (LA21) was founded in 2008 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Philadelphia and specifically serves the West Philadelphia community on Lancaster Avenue from 34th to 44th streets, on Market Street from 34th to 38th streets and the surrounding neighborhoods (see map above). We are located in a federally mandated “Promise Zone” serving communities in the Mantua section of West Philadelphia and University City. We are a CDC (Community Development Corporation) business association representing businesses and organizations along the Lancaster Avenue corridor, a rich cultural, historic, and business hub. We are also a Registered Community Organization representing Lancaster Avenue. 


The mission of Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association (LA21, CDC) is to partner with stakeholders to promote economic development, beautification and support new business ventures in the community. We serve the business needs of business owners on the commercial corridor and provide networking opportunities by promoting economic growth, advancing business-friendly public policies, and servicing our members through outstanding programs to help build their customer base. 


Our vision is to make Lancaster Avenue a desirable destination to shop, eat and locate a business through maintenance and beautification programs and the promotion of a positive identity for our members and stakeholders. With a positive sense of community and shared identity we can continue to leverage our assets through advertising, PR, events, sponsorship, festivals and the preservation of the historic and architectural character of Lancaster Avenue. 


LA21 has an 11 year track record of working with the community providing services and community engagement despite having few resources. We have been able to accomplish a lot over the years. A few highlights include:


  • Business Networking and Information Coffee Sessions/Community Meetings – hosted the first Wednesday of every month; purpose is to provide resources to members who have businesses along the corridor as well as communicate to the community in general
  • MED Week event in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Commerce
  • Annual Fall Lancaster Avenue Clean-up in partnership with Drexel School of Public Health 
  • 5th Annual Lancaster Avenue Day
  • A Partnership with Philadelphia Department of Commerce to host Immigrant Business Week in 2019
  • LA21 Education Programs
  • In-home computer training – mobile training
  • Business Basics workshop – in partnership with SCORE
  • Power-up – Free educational programs in partnership with Community College of Philadelphia
  • Annual West Philly Trolley Tour in partnership with The Baltimore Avenue Business Association
  • YES – Youth Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with E3 Center on Lancaster Avenue
  • 2nd Fridays in partnership with the CEC
  • Security on Lancaster Avenue by PEC and community stakeholders
  • Continuing Sustainable Programs
  • Business Smart Incubator program in partnership with Drexel University
  • Free Quarterly SWOT for businesses in partnership with UPENN’s Wharton School of Business


Our proven track record of having positive and strong relationships in the community as well as in providing a variety of empowering opportunities for business owners to thrive in the community has aligned us to expand our community business center and provide more technical assistance and skills training to our small businesses. 


The program consists of two hour, bi-weekly, mobile business development training sessions for a three-month period. In year one we have been able to serve 15 small business owners and their staff. The sessions focus on a maximum of five topics selected by the business owner (see programming below). Topics fall under either technical assistance for digital literacy or business skills training. For each training module, there is a set of learning objectives, action steps and literature provided through the use of laptops and tablets to ensure the information is evidence based.


Digital literacy through technical assistance and training course options:

How to use webinars to promote your services


  • Growing your business with social media
  • Microsoft 101 – Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Website design and updates
  • Google for business
  • Designing your own growth templates using technology to grow your business
  • Business skills training course options:
    • Business operations
    • Marketing your business
    • Financial management: budgeting, forecasting, cash flow, sales, and P&L and Balance Sheet statements
    • Writing a business plan
    • Presentation and communication skills
    • Networking
    • Logical thinking in making business decisions


A  Comprehensive Business Training Curriculum @ LA-ERIC – (Lancaster Avenue Entrepreneurship Referral Information Center)


LA-ERIC is currently developing a partnership with the Community College of Philadelphia, who is creating a more comprehensive and detailed small business training curriculum for the HUB.  


The LA-ERIC Hub will offer the following:

  • FREE Basic Business Training
  • Referral and Information Resources 
  • Work space to people looking to start or grow a business. 
  • FREE mentoring and guiding of clients’ businesses
  • Consultancy and advisory services for already existing businesses
  • Provision of technical assistance
  • Marketing consultancy


The space will serve as a hub for entrepreneurs and remote workers to connect via our free WI-FI, and for organizations and businesses to host meetings and workshops. 



Letter from the President

As a business owner on Lancaster Avenue, did you know there is an organization that will service your business needs, provide networking opportunities and build your customer base? The Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association (“LA 21”) is dedicated to promoting economic growth, advancing business-friendly public policies, and servicing our members through outstanding programs, benefits and services.


As an advocate for local development, LA 21 is dedicated to supporting and encouraging the continued growth of each of our member businesses. LA 21 strives to influence business-friendly legislation in all levels of government, participate in initiatives to improve the community, present professional enrichment programs, and provide our members with cost-efficient ways to run their businesses. Are you already a member? If not, then you should join Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association during our annual open enrollment this month.


We meet monthly to plan events, to discuss issues that promote and improve the quality of business life on Lancaster Avenue. You may have already participated in our Second Friday events that promote monthly business activity on Lancaster Avenue. Or perhaps you attended the annual Jazz Festival in Saunders Park Green.


Our annual membership drive began September 2012 and we invite you to become part of the one of fastest growing organizations in the city. Through our member-focused web site, you can discover what you need and where you need to go, who to call, and ultimately why becoming a member of the Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association is one of the best strategies for growing your business. Whether your business is a new or old, small or large, joining LA 21 makes sense for your business.


If you have questions or require additional information at any time, please contact us.


George Stevens

President

 Lancaster Ave. 21st Century Business Association.