October 30, 2013– Mayor Michael A. Nutter officially launched FastFWD, an Urban Innovation Refinery, a partnership between the City of Philadelphia, GoodCompany Group, a social enterprise accelerator, and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. FastFWD, formerly known as the Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership, is an initiative that seeks to recruit and support entrepreneurs in developing solutions to urban challenges. In its inaugural year, FastFWD will focus on public safety.
“Our Administration is committed to public safety, spending $1.8 billion last year on behalf of our citizens,” said Mayor Nutter. “FastFWD is a unique approach to engage and utilize public-private partnerships and to encourage private sector to work with government in the public interest. In FastFWD’s first cycle, our goal is to harness entrepreneurial talents, resources and innovative ideas to create solutions to the most pressing public safety challenges that our city, and other cities, face every day.”
FastFWD invites entrepreneurs to offer their most innovative public safety solutions, services and products for consideration. Entrepreneurs that submit the most promising ideas will be given capital, development support and access to experts to help refine and implement their ideas.
“As cities face greater challenges with increasingly fewer resources, the need for entrepreneurial innovation has never been greater,” said Story Bellows, Co-Director, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. “With the launch of FastFWD, we are calling on entrepreneurs to submit their brightest and boldest ideas for consideration. We look forward to seeing the depth of talent and creativity they have to offer.”
Applications are due by January 22, 2014.
Ten finalists will be selected in spring 2014 to participate in an intensive, twelve-week accelerator program. During the program, finalists will refine their proposal under the guidance of legal counsel, investors, industry experts and fellow entrepreneurs. Finalists who enter the accelerator program will receive $10,000 stipends provided by FastFWD.
Upon completion of the accelerator program, the finalists’ proposals will be eligible for implementation as a fast-track funded pilot.
Professor Katherine Klein, Vice Dean for the Wharton Social Impact Initiative added, “Wharton Social Impact Initiative is thrilled to be helping the city in spurring entrepreneurial solutions to urban challenges. The FastFWD process represents a cutting-edge approach, linking business, city government and the University to create sustainable solutions. There’s a palpable sense of excitement and optimism among all who are participating in this process, including the Mayor – a Wharton alum – and his team.”
“Above all, FastFWD will offer entrepreneurs access. The program will provide access to the core problems, prioritizing and presenting them as target of entrepreneurial opportunity, said Garrett Melby, Founder and Managing Director, GoodCompany Group. “FastFWD will also provide access to expertise for entrepreneurs to refine their ideas with subject-matter experts, and hone their business model with finance experts from The Wharton School.”
In addition, the City announced that FastFWD will partner with Impact Hub on entrepreneur engagement and Code for America on procurement reform.