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The PennApps Fellows Internship Program just got $25,000 richer.

PennApps Fellows, a new internship program launching this summer that will bring 10 students from all over the country to work at Philadelphia startup companies, was one of five winners of the second round of grants awarded by the Philadelphia Department of Commerce’s Startup PHL Call for Ideas.

These awards, which are intended to support entrepreneurship and student engagement with Philadelphia’s tech community, will grant up to $500,000 in total to help jumpstart local startup projects.

“We fit that almost perfectly,” Engineering sophomore and PennApps Fellows co-founder Fabio Fleitas said. “We want to get people to come here to work on Philly startups and grow the Philly startup community and entrepreneurial community [through PennApps Fellows].”

While other cities like New York and San Francisco already have reputations as hubs of technology and entrepreneurship, the program aims to show that Philadelphia has its own similar growing atmosphere, Engineering sophomore and PennApps co-founder Sean Lynch said. Swarthmore College sophomore Ascanio Guarini also co-founded the program.

The $25,000 will primarily be used to help secure housing for the interns in University City, Fleitas said.

Fleitas and Lynch say that the grant is essential to the success of the program. If this summer is a success, it will create a strong foundation for future years. “This summer will validate that this program works,” Lynch said.

“Without it, we couldn’t have actually pulled it off,” Fleitas added.

They hope the money will also show local companies who might offer internships through PennApps Fellows in the future that it is a worthwhile program and that the basic concept is a good one.

“Obviously even the city agrees, because they gave us $25,000 to do this,” Fleitas said.

The other four winners of the $25,000 grants were Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, Zivtech Developer Boot Camp, NextFab Fellows Coop Program and Startup Leaders.

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