Mayor visits Coded by Kids after-school program providing tech training to young people in Philadelphia
Philadelphia, May 7, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger announced today a new round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants to organizations that provide programs and events to support entrepreneurship in Philadelphia. The funding supports the goals of providing opportunities to young people in neighborhoods all across the city; increasing the diversity of Philadelphia’s technology sector; and fostering greater collaboration among universities and better connecting students to startups in Philadelphia.
“Through Startup PHL our goal is to create opportunities for all Philadelphians to participate in the new technology-driven economy,” said Mayor Nutter. “Programs such as Coded by Kids, TechGirlz, and FirstHand are reaching into diverse communities throughout our city and providing the skills and confidence needed to work in the technology sector, or even to start a company. This is all part of our commitment to establish Philadelphia as a thriving startup city with opportunities available to all.”
John Grady, President of PIDC, said, “We are proud partners in the StartUp PHL initiative. PIDC is pleased to help support entrepreneurship in Philadelphia with this multifaceted initiative to increase the availability of capital and make Philadelphia an attractive place for entrepreneurs.”
The latest round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants provides funding to four organizations, bringing the total number of programs supported by this initiative to fourteen. The programs funded in this round include:
- University City Science Center FirstHand Program ($25,000) – a youth STEAM initiative serving Philadelphia youth from under-resourced schools and the teachers, professionals and families from their communities. The Startup PHL funding assists in lab equipment acquisition for the FirstHand Lab, a dedicated lab space for students.
- Drexel University, Regional University Business Plan Competition ($23,500) – Startup PHL funding will help establish a multi-university business plan competition run by a new consortium of university-based entrepreneurship programs and incubators. Drexel University’s Chuck Sacco, organizer of this initiative, commented, “A number of us at university-based entrepreneurship programs wanted to find new ways to have entrepreneurially-minded college students work across the region and build their networks at other universities and colleges and within the community. A regional business plan competition will be a great way for that to occur”.
- Coded by Kids Instructor Pipeline Project ($19,870) – Coded by Kids provides inner city children with free, engaging, challenging and creative tech education program. Startup PHL funding will establish an adult training program for instructors in the Coded by Kids workshops.
- TechGirlz Entrepreneur Bootcamp in a Box ($10,000) – TechGirlz hold workshops and an annual entrepreneurial summer camp serving middle-school girls. Startup PHL funding will expand the existing and successful TechGirlz Summer Entrepreneur Bootcamp materials into sharable, lesson plan formats so other groups can teach the program. TechGirlz founder Tracey Welson-Rossman commented, “This Tech Entrepreneur Camp is unique in this country and we are extremely happy to be partnering with the City to have more girls understand how they can participate in the tech and startup economy. Innovation is gender blind.”
Later today Mayor Nutter will visit the Coded by Kids after-school program at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center to see how this initiative is providing a coding-focused education program that would normally be out of reach for many Philadelphia residents and is preparing prepare both children and adults for careers in web development.
“Providing tech education opportunities to Philadelphia residents who have traditionally lacked access to these opportunities is critical to the social and economic success of our communities,” said Coded by Kids founder Sylvester Mobley.
Startup PHL is an initiative of the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department, PIDC, and First Round Capital to provide funding for early-stage companies and to support programs that develop the startup community in Philadelphia. Through Startup PHL Funds and co-investments from First Round Capital eight Philadelphia startups have received more than $1 million in combined seed stage or angel investment since October 2013, and through the Call For Ideas Grants fourteen organizations have received almost $300,000 in funding to support entrepreneurship programming.
“Philadelphia’s emergence as a hub for startups and technology companies is one of the most exciting trends for the future of this city,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. “This Administration, through Startup PHL and a range of other initiatives, is proud to support the work of entrepreneurs across Philadelphia who are building companies, developing exciting new products, and providing innovative, challenging job opportunities for the growing number of people who want to live and work in our city.”