PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) – Leaders, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders gathered for the first-ever “1Philadelphia” Innovation weekend this weekend, which was a culmination of several events to celebrate those working to build an equitable tech ecosystem in the city.
1Philadelphia is a fairly new initiative spearheaded by leaders of the local nonprofit Coded by Kids, which started in 2014, in South Philadelphia at a rec center. Danae Mobley, COO of the nonprofit and Director of 1Phialdelphia says the goal is to put the city on the map as the capital of equitable tech and innovation.
“We have such potential and talent here, she said. “We know that tech is everywhere. It’s ubiquitous. We’re all consumers of it. But if we’re consuming it, why are we as black and brown people not being the creators and leading in it? So it’s important because it impacts every part of your life.”
The 1Philadelphia Innovation Weekend brought hundreds together for that goal. She says some of the highlights–an innovation bowl that gave out $11,000 in prizes to students, and the announcement of 8 grantees that are receiving $250,000 to help tackle underrepresentation in Philadelphia
“We have a grant and we will be doing this every year,” she said. “Some of them are tackling tech equity through apprenticeships, some of them are tackling tech equity through a model of teaching youth entrepreneurship. And that’s what we want to see. Because we know not one approach is really going to solve the problem or put a dent in it.”
Organizations receiving the grant include Hopeworks, Mom your business, The U School, and more. Mobley says their innovation awards also honored two council members doing the work, Isaiah Thomas and Allan Domb.
“We really thought [Thomas and Domb] exemplify trying to push for a high quality programming and entrepreneurship and tech and innovation for our students,” she said.
1Philadelphia is still looking for members to take the pledge and join the mission.
More information can be found on their website.