The following post has been adapted from content provided by Rich Sedmak, Founder of Schoolyard Ventures.
What does it take to increase inclusivity and diversity in the PHL startup ecosystem? At Startup Corps and Schoolyard Ventures, we believe that developing a talent pipeline of traditionally under-served youth is necessary to leverage the talents of every Philadelphian. Over the last 3 years, over 400 high school students in Philadelphia have experienced launching their own companies and non-profits. With the help and support of funding from our StartupPHL Call for Ideas Grant, these students have had access not only to entrepreneurial programming and mentorship, but to micro-financing as well, to make their ideas a reality.
Through entrepreneurship programming, students in our city have received access to a supportive, entrepreneurial environment and culture that encourages taking calculated risks, in addition to a platform to access networks that they otherwise might not have access to. Via the micro-funding program, we’ve learned that as little as $250 can help a young person launch a business that could change their lives, as well as build skills and improve the lives of others in our city.
By developing talent among under-served populations and by providing students with access to networks, capital and knowledge not available in their schools, we’re hoping to provide every student in our city with the opportunity to participate in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The StartupPHL Call for Ideas program funds innovative and exciting proposals that support Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. You can apply for the fifth round of Call for Ideas online now.