Taking place from November 17–19, 2022, Innovation Weekend was a series of events celebrating equity in Philadelphia’s tech and innovation community.
Honoring both the work of our amazing partners — the local organizations who have long been dedicated to diversity in tech — and the work we hope to accomplish together, Innovation Weekend showed that Philadelphia is on its way to being the capital of equitable tech and innovation.
“Innovation Weekend has really been the culmination of a year of hard work. 1Philadelphia has really gained some momentum, we’ve gotten 75 organizations to really pledge their support for a vision of equitable tech and innovation. So Innovation Weekend is just really celebrating those partners and showcasing the impact that they have in Philadelphia for tech equity.” — Danae Mobley, Coded by Kids COO
Below is a breakdown of all the amazing events that made up the weekend and includes recaps, virtual panel recordings, photos, interviews, and more.
Philly Tech Stories — LIVE!
We kicked off Innovation Weekend with a virtual panel for students looking to get into tech.
As part of the City of Philadelphia’s Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative, 1Philadelphia partner Campus Philly has been working to amplify the voices of Black and Brown tech professionals, founders, and entrepreneurs who chose the Philadelphia region and its vibrant community to launch their careers. Through monthly features and dynamic interviews, they are sharing the stories of diverse young professionals working in tech or tech-adjacent roles, demonstrating why Philadelphia represents the future of tech talent.
For this event, Campus Philly brought their interview series to life by leading a conversation with three of Philly’s young tech professionals. What career advice did our panel have for students at the very beginning of their tech careers? Be open minded, network, and believe in yourself!
Thank you so much to our amazing panelists for sharing their experiences. Learn more about Dominique Clarke, Jobi John, and Anshika Nangia in the Philly Tech Stories blog series and watch the full panel discussion here.
Most Diverse Tech Hub Reception
Innovation Weekend was honored to host the concluding reception to the city’s Most Diverse Tech Hub Initiative. In addition to celebrating this amazing initiative and their goal to increase Black and Brown participation in the tech industry, attendees were able to connect with employers that are hiring in the region and network with the city’s top talent in tech.
“It’s really what the Commerce Department is about — making sure that people in this city have access to the best jobs available and 1Philadelphia is bringing folks together, bringing people to the table to ensure that that equity happens.” — Tempest Carter, Director of Strategic Tech Initiatives, Commerce Department of Philadelphia
Want to learn more about the Most Diverse Tech Hub Initiative? Read more about the Department of Commerce’s program here.
Create Your Career: Developing Your Pathway to Tech
Are you looking to change careers into the tech field? We were lucky to have an amazing panel of experts talk about how to find programming to help you learn the skills needed, what managers are expecting from career changers, and why employers are open to non-traditional techies.
“Get more people in your network. More network = more advancement. You don’t know who will be able to help you tomorrow.” — Ben Perrin Houssou
Jabari Adams (Managing Director, Company Relations at Launchcode), Ben Perrin Houssou (Per Scholas Graduate), Lauren Boyd (Senior Recruiter, Seer Interactive), and Nikki Pumphrey (Executive Director, Per Scholas) gave us some amazing tips on navigating your next career move. Did you miss the panel? You can watch here.
CBK Ventures Pitch Competition
The CBK Ventures Pitch Competition, an initiative from 1Philadelphia, Coded by Kids, Plain Sight Capital, and the City of Philadelphia, offers underrepresented Philly entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their idea and secure the funding that will bring their tech-based startups to the next level. Held during Innovation Weekend, the 2nd pitch competition showed how much tech talent is in our city.
“Exposure is key and events like the Pitch Competition, Innovation Weekend, and Founders Breakfast — these are things that are necessary and I am happy to be a part of this in the city of Philadelphia.” — Rudy Ellis, CEO of Switchboard Live and CBK Ventures Pitch Competition Judge.
The finalists did an amazing job pitching their vision for our judges and we are so excited to announce the winners:
1st ($25,000): Paytus
2nd ($15,000): Vital Start Health
3rd ($10,000): Barley
Emerging Founder ($5,000): Fitalyst
Emerging Founder ($5,000): Funding Fuel
Special thanks to all of our Pitch Competition sponsors, including City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Springpoint Partners, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT), Venture for America, and Comcast NBCUniversal for supporting Philly’s tech entrepreneurs.
Founders & Fund Managers Breakfast
The Founders & Fund Managers Breakfast was an opportunity for our panel of experts to discusses the challenges, lessons learned, and best practices for underrepresented people looking to raise venture capital in today’s economy.
Alex King (Plain Sight Capital), Blessy Thomas (Innovate Capital Growth Fund), Bruce Marable (Employee Cycle), and Omar Mechin (Ben Franklin Technology Partners) gave amazing advice on current trends and promising paths forward.
“The Founders Breakfast allowed the space for underrepresented founders to have a real-time information exchange with fund managers and startup founders. We had the chance to discuss the current investment climate and what founders should expect as they raise capital for their companies. We look forward to future exchanges!” — Alex King, Plain Sight Capital
We are so incredibly proud of all the Innovation League participants. Thanks to our partner BUILD and the amazing instructors, coaches, and mentors, these Philadelphia high school students have been able to learn so much over several weeks and work together to create the best tech solution for a community problem.
“I joined the Innovation League to really learn about how I wanted to break into tech. It really gave me a step forward into seeing what UI/UX designing is or what Innovation truly means.” — Team Platinum
“We are here to empower our students … and have them know that there is room for them in the innovation and tech space, and that is what this league provided.” — Veronica Barrington-Davis, CBK Instructor
Meeting twice a week, our students followed BUILD’s lessons, developed relationships with our coaches, had volunteers visit from Seer, TD Bank, and Penn Mutual, and went on a field trip to the TD Bank Workshop. Mentorship is a huge part of our programming, and we are so grateful to everyone who made this program possible.
Innovation League coach, Draft Studios UI/UX Designer, and former CBK Intern Jocelyn Chui was excited to participate as a coach to pass along her experiences. “The Innovation League program mirrors what I did this past summer for Draft Studios. Part of me volunteered to be a coach because I wanted to pass those experiences along, and the other part of me wanted to see students younger than me succeed. It’s a privilege to be able to participate in such a program with amazing people teaching and a stellar curriculum.” Learn more about Jocelyn here.
During Innovation Weekend the teams presented their projects and we are thrilled to announce the winners:
1st Place: Team Orbit
2nd Place: Team Winx
3rd Place: Team Star Platinum
Honorable Mention: Team M&Ms
Some of our Innovation League winners are not new to Coded by Kids. We love when students continue their CBK journey and participate in multiple programs and several league students took part in the Tech and Innovation Internship this past summer. Learn about the high school Team Zygotes here.
Special thanks to all of our Innovation League sponsors, including Listrak, TD Bank, Comcast NBC Universal, Penn Mutual, Comedic Relief, SEI, Seer Interactive, Independence Blue Cross, WSFS Bank, Guru, Morgan Lewis, and Boss Tech for supporting Philly’s next generation of tech and innovation.
We spent the first Innovation Awards at the Barnes Foundation celebrating 1Philadelphia’s vision for tech equity in Philadelphia as well as honored eight organizations and two government officials making an impact in our city:
1Philadelphia Fall 2022 Grantees
- Gaming Cxmmunity Co.
- Hopeworks Camden
- Launchpad Philly / Building 21
- Mom Your Business
- Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)
- Per Scholas
- U School
Innovators in Education
- Allan Domb
- Isaiah Thomas
“We’re so excited to be here with 1Philadelphia as part of their Innovation Awards. It’s great to be honored, but what’s even more exciting is to be around a group of folks who are really leveraging and making change.” — Dan Rhoton, Hopeworks Executive Director
Innovation Weekend was made possible through partnerships and support from Campus Philly, Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Technical.ly Media, Per Scholas, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Spring Point Partners, Comcast NBC Universal, Plain Sight Capital, Coded by Kids, BUILD, Perpay, Employee Cycle, PHL Most Diverse Tech Hub, Bank of America, The Lenfest Foundation, PACT, PWC, Penn Mutual, Seer Interactive, SEI, TD Bank, Boss Tech, Independence Blue Cross, and Venture For America.