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First Tech Startup to join Camden NJ

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Penji

First Tech Startup to join Camden NJ

Penji is a new tech startup who recently launched in Camden NJ. Instead of having costly all-inclusive packages that design agencies typically offer, Penji offers unlimited graphic design, unlimited revisions, at a flat monthly rate. The startup launched on October 21st 2017, a day after Camden Catalyst, a startup pitch competition hosted by Waterfront Ventures to bring startups into the city.

camden nj

 

Penji solves a unique problem that startups, small businesses, and agencies tend to have. According to Penji, startups and small business owners spend too much of their time attempting to design their own marketing materials, logos, business cards, etc. And even if they hire a company or a freelancer to help them, it often costs quite a bit more than they originally thought. 

” It’s a huge time waster. And that’s why we created Penji, to solve that graphic design problem for startups and small businesses.” – Johnathan Grzybowski (Cofounder)

Penji’s unique mission

Penji also has a unique mission. The startup plans to be one of the first community conscious startups to plant their flag in Camden NJ. For Penji, being a community conscious startup means giving back to their community on a consistent basis and in ways that truly helps their community. The startup plans to offer jobs and opportunities specifically for students and residents in Camden. Their goal is to hire as many talents as they can from the city with the hope of keeping those talents in Camden. Camden is home to major school institutions such as Rutgers, Rowan, Camden County, and Cooper. Despite having these big names investing in the city, few job opportunities currently exist for students graduating from any of these 4 colleges.

“The only way to successfully revitalize Camden sustainably is if our students are willing to stay in the city and invest in the city themselves. And they can only do that if there are good paying jobs available in Camden. Currently there aren’t many available, and we plan to change that.”- Khai Tran

Penji

The startup already hired 4 students from Camden and have plans to hire more as they grow in Camden. Things are definitely looking up for Camden NJ as the interests for startups are growing from surrounding cities. The Camden city has been struggling with bringing in new businesses for the past few decades and many efforts have been put forth to revitalize the city. Things may be different this time around if enough startup companies join Penji in Camden and invest in the city.

Melissa Le (office manager of Waterfront Lab, Camden’s very own co-working space) is optimistic that Camden will be revitalized this time around.

“We’re feeling good about Camden’s revitalization and we know it will be successful if enough key industries get involved. Having major companies such as American Water, Holtec, and Subaru is a great start, however we need more interests from startups and small businesses to make Camden’s growth sustainable.”

 

 

 

Business

Camden Historical Society Exec Bullies Intern, Intern Pushes Back

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Asian immigrant woman fought back when the boss at her paid internship tried to get her to work without pay. Helen, who asked that her true identity remain anonymous, worked for the Camden Historical Society while attending Rowan University. When the executive director, Jack O’Byrne, threatened to withhold payment for the hours worked unless she agreed to finish the work on her own time, Helen and her friend pushed back.

Nhu Tran, a friend of Helen’s, took to social media in defense of her friend. Her Facebook and Twitter posts brought attention to the matter.

In an exclusive interview with Owners Magazine, Helen explains that she took a paid internship position with the Camden Historical Society in the fall of 2020. The position was for the on-the-job experience and extra funds.

The Historical Society hired Helen to work underneath someone to develop a website and deploy an open-source software platform. Shortly after they brought her onboard, things quickly changed.

“I was informed that I was supposed to work with the person who interviewed me to launch a website,” Helen says. “We started and somehow, two weeks later, the person who worked with me left. I was left alone without notice.

“Jack, the person who hired me, demanded right away that I had to launch the website before December 31st. He didn’t ask about my experience or background or anything.”

With Helen’s co-worker gone, her boss expected her to do the work of two people. Still, they only allowed her to work 12 hours per week with no guidance or supervision.

“The first thing I noticed was the lack of support. The person who hired me never emailed me. He never showed up to meetings. In fact, I only met him once during the first meeting.”

When Helen submitted her hours toward the end of her internship, O’Byrne finally responded to an email. However, it was not the response Helen was hoping to hear. After a discrepancy about the hours worked, O’Byrne said that he had mailed a check for the hours that Helen worked but would issue a stop-payment unless Helen determined how she would provide the work to his satisfaction.

“At the time I was really scared of him. I don’t know how a person could react like this and how unprofessional to even say things like that. You know? To threaten to not pay someone when they worked during a pandemic is very unprofessional. How cruel is that?”

O’Byrne’s email could have intimidated her into forced compliance. Instead, Helen fought back. Helen sent an email to both Jack and another superior, Josh, defending herself and laying out the internship’s unfair conditions.

Helen cited that the job duties were different from the job offer, that they promised her hands-on experience with a supportive team, that O’Byrne had missed demonstrations of the project, and that it was wrong to coerce someone to work unpaid hours by withholding a paycheck.

While O’Byrne didn’t respond, Josh wrote back to Helen.

Nhu Tran posted screenshots of the email exchange between Helen and her superiors. This was Josh’s response:

“Jack’s previous emails escalated pretty quickly, and the tone was far from ideal, causing confusion and misunderstanding for both of us. I am writing to apologize for those previous emails, and to let you know that I will be the primary contact about this project form now on, including about hours/payment. Jack has removed the hold on the check, so it can be cashed. (Let me know if you do not receive it or you have issues cashing it.)

I am sorry for putting you in this situation during the end of the school year/holiday season, which probably added some unwanted stress.

In the points in your last email, I realized the extent of the work you have been doing by yourself, without much input from me or others from the Historical Society. Moving forward, I want to make sure I am providing you with the information you need, and I will make sure that my co-workers at the Historical Society will be aware of your work updates/ provide some input as we begin to publish the site.”

TL;DR it paid off. The Camden Historical Society paid the money owed to Helen.

“I knew that he was 100% wrong. I’ve been through this so many times and I have just let it go. And the only feeling I’ve had was regret. I know it’s really hard to stand up for yourself against someone who’s treated you badly, but you have to believe in yourself and do it.”

Helen is appreciative of the support she received from Nhu. “I’m blessed that I have a lot of support from my friend. I reached out to a lot of people who were too scared to get involved. She told me that I need to stand up for myself. I chose to do it, and everything blew up.”

What’s next for Helen? She recently took a position working for Penji. “I’m so excited to work with them. I’m going to continue developing my career, becoming a strong woman who stands up for her rights.”

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Business

How Millennials Are Changing The Workplace

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Millennial

Millennials are reshaping the traditional corporate structure. With new CEOs entering the workforce, more companies have been adapting new tactics for managing, motivating, and improving. Millennial entrepreneurs have set the new standards to doing business, focusing on collaboration and efficiency. Soon by 2025, millennials will accommodate 75% of the workforce. This will replace the baby boomers, who have been recorded as the largest generation in the workforce. This instant switch leaves other generations questioning their management. These are 4 ways millennials are changing the workplace:

Emphasizing Technology

Millennials are the generation born after year 1982 and before 2004. This was essentially the era of technology beginnings. To be raised in the ever changing state of development, this generation foresees big things for the digital future. This need for rapid growth has created various platforms for creators, entrepreneurs, and more. Millennials have a profound belief that technology is the future, and so we should precisely use it to our advantage. Networking has been perfected with Linkedin, while Youtube is colonized by content creators, and Slack has better connected employees.

Open To Change

Millennials were born to alternate between innovation and tradition. To be raised in the era of constant development, generation Y has cultivated the skill to be open to change. Arguably, change is intended for growth, so that is how Millennials greet it. The digital age has disrupted traditional systems for the better, a concept that was impossible in the past. Due to the inconsistency they’ve experienced growing up, millennials have subdue their harsh conditions by advocating innovation. Although innovation is a new idea, generation Y strictly believes this is an optimal lifestyle.

This generation does not believe in a constant, that everything has potential. Camden embodies that figure of high potential. Organizations are racing into the city of Camden, for it is the next startup hub for Millennial entrepreneurs. With the economy’s rapid growth and welcoming nature, businesses are rushing in to secure their space. Just outside of Philadelphia, the city of Camden possess hope, just what entrepreneurs need.

Work With Purpose

Millennials differ from baby boomers in one drastic motive. The new generation seek a sense of control and innovation that past generations seem to lack. Millennials deeply value purpose, to even go the extra mile in changing jobs for content. Perhaps it’s due to their entitlement, but Millennials are stubborn to the belief of following your inclination. 60% of employees confess that it is critical to allow them the capacity to do what they do best. Many Millennials will settle in the lower paying job, as long as it allows them the ability to express their talents.

As observed in the city of Camden, non-profit organizations scatter throughout in order to rebuild the city of hope. Devoted organizations and passionate millennial entrepreneurs in the city are growing and giving back to the community.

Work Flexibility

The typical 9-5 business hour job is declining as Millennials continue to enter the workforce. The Census Bureau estimated that 13.4 million Americans work from home. The data will only increase when more Millennials start to work. This new career outlook stems from the disfavored opinion against office confinement. In the strong devotion for both work and freedom, Millennials compromised with the issue by creating careers from the comfort of their own home. Freelance work has been the popular option for Millennials, since it allows independency.  

 

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Business

How To Attract Millennials To Your City

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Location matters in the means of professional success. Millennials are reported to be getting married and starting families later than their parents. This means that their main focus is strictly on their professional career, so these matters are taken seriously, as they involve these factors into determining where to live. Millennials select cities that will help them thrive. This goes vice versa, cities need to attract people in order to be sustainable. The city of Camden has been successful with this process. With the increase of millennial entrepreneurs entering the city, the better the economy gets, as it is shown around the waterfront.

To create more jobs and attraction, cities must attract the job-seeking millennials. There are 3 determinants for millennials to move into your city:

Affordability

Someone who is financially responsible will always consider the cost of living foremost. Cities that contain a high population of millennials often have low employment rates and affordability. If the city is popular but does not meet within millennial’s budget, then it wouldn’t be worth the cost. Money is the only physical asset that holds us restricted. The city of Camden holds that title of affordability. Tax cuts are what attracts entrepreneurs mainly, however the overall value of the stay is well worth it. Camden is located outside of Philadelphia, just close enough to go into their city to network without paying Philadelphia’s cost of living.

Entrepreneurship

Millennials are an ambitious generation. A reporting claimed that 54% have either wanted to start a business or have started one already. This characterized millennials as hard-working and motivated individuals. A location that showcases trails of entrepreneurship deliver a desirable reality to people. Silicon Valley embodies this example, as it is the most known startup hub for technology companies in America. Famous companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google are in that area, so the status of Silicon Valley is held at a high standard.

Another location that is maintaining that status is Camden. Due to Camden’s location outside of Philadelphia and surrounding fortune 500 companies, millennial entrepreneurs are inspired to bring their startup here. There are multiple different types of organizations located here with 76ers as one.

Accessibility

Millennials are attracted to cities that cater to their needs. About 66% of Millennials identified  decent quality transportation as a main influence to choosing a location to live. People typically pick the option that meets their social needs. To obtain that, a low cost transit is ideally looked for in a city. Cities with an ineffective quality transit fail to attract Millennials. 

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