Philadelphia Invests $750,000 in Tech-Focused Efforts to Empower Future Talent Pipeline

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce recently announced that six organizations have been selected to receive a combined $750,000 through the PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative, which aims to position Philadelphia as one of the top—and most diverse—tech hubs in the nation. Through this initiative, the City is investing in organizations and programs that enhance technology skills for the future talent pipeline, provide resources to startup tech businesses, enhance the Philadelphia Tech Industry Partnership and generate partnerships between local colleges and universities including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

“We are committed to ensuring Philadelphia’s tech talent pool grows equitably to reflect the diversity of our residents. The PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative is now in its third year of investments to increase access, economic mobility and opportunity for all,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Philadelphia has all the ingredients to become a national leader in fostering a more diverse, innovative tech sector. The goal is to enhance technology skills for the future talent pipeline, enabling more Black and brown Philadelphians—young adults and adults—to be trained with the skills they need to succeed in one of the fastest growing and world-class industries. Our Administration looks forward to the positive impact that these investments will have this year and in years to come.”

In January, the Administration released Equity and Opportunity for All: Moving Philadelphia Forward, a report outlining the Administration’s core priorities for 2023, one of which is Driving Inclusive Growth and Economic Opportunity.

“We are committed to investing in our city’s long-term economic competitiveness in every neighborhood and commercial area while spreading our impact within the global economy,” said Anne Nadol, Commerce Director. “Alongside our citywide partners, Commerce will continue to fuel the inclusive growth of tech workforce’s skills and tech-based companies in Philadelphia. That includes by matching Black and brown talent—especially Philadelphia public school students—to local tech companies for learning and imagining innovative possibilities that can enhance the future of our city and region.”

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“This year is the largest cohort of organizations funded by the PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub with the goal of increasing access to our tech and innovation ecosystem,” said Dawn Summerville, Deputy Commerce Director, Office of Business Development and Workforce Solutions. “The PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub started in 2020 as one of several ongoing initiatives outlined in the City’s Respond, Restart, Recharge, Reimagine plan to drive an inclusive and equitable recovery. Philadelphia’s diversity is one of our city’s best assets and technology is a key element of our economic future. Commerce will continue to work towards attracting and retaining companies of all sizes adding to our diverse sectors within the Philadelphia market.”

Through the PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative, the City of Philadelphia sought proposals from organizations, which were evaluated on their ability to deliver innovative programming in three different categories:

1. Tech Talent Pipeline Development 

Organizations that were awarded funding for this focus area will work to retain Black or brown residents in higher-ed and expose those students to tech employment opportunities; create pipelines for trainings and career opportunities for underrepresented populations; connect and place students into paid internships with Philadelphia-based companies; establish connections with local colleges, universities and education providers; establish Historically Black College or University (HBCU) initiatives to grow the employer pipeline internships with local and regional HBCU’s; expand the number of private sector employers in Tech and Tech-enabled industries that provide internships. The organizations selected for this category are Venture for America, Coded by Kids, and Diverse Force, which were each awarded $100,000.

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2. Most Diverse Tech Startup Pitch Competition

The organizations that were awarded funding for this focus area will utilize the funds to invest in underrepresented startup founders through an innovative pitch competition. The goal of this pitch competition is to provide growing capital or seed funding for black and brown tech companies. The pitch competition will also help provide mentorship, discounted space and technical assistance for diverse and innovative firms. The organizations selected for this funding are The Enterprise Center and Mom Your Business, which were each awarded $125,000.

3. Tech Industry Partnership Management

The company that was awarded funding for this focus area will manage the Philadelphia Tech Industry Partnership, which since launching in 2018, has convened a network of more than 75 companies, consisting of a range of tech and tech-enabled companies of all sizes, to join together as an active network. They will manage this partnership by facilitating convenings of tech startups and tech employers of all sizes to identify sector and talent needs; cultivating a culture of inclusivity, with a focus on specifically creating pathways to help diversify the current workforce; and building out the network of employer partners committed to providing internships, on the job training, unsubsidized employment, and targeted mentoring. Technically Media was awarded $200,000 to manage the partnership.

Technically Media, awarded for the third consecutive year, will also continue to serve as a resource and platform to communicate and elevate the work of all six organizations awarded funding through the PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative, focusing on ensuring that residents and the business community know that Philadelphia is a place to attract and hire quality, diverse talent in tech and tech-enabled industries.

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“Together, we are enhancing representation, increasing access and funding the brightest new voices in Tech citywide,” said Tempest Carter, Director of Tech Initiatives, Office of Business Development and Workforce Solutions. “The cohort also serves as an innovation lab, and workshop space where organizations can convene to discuss strategies for tech-related jobs of the near term and the future in Philadelphia.”

In 2018, Philadelphia launched a platform for a Tech Industry Partnership. Over the last few years, this Partnership has connected with or invited a network of more than 75 companies, consisting of a range of tech and tech-enabled companies of all sizes, to join together as an active network. The PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative was born out of the North Star conference convened by the City and partners, including Black & Brown Founders, in 2018 as well as the Philadelphia Tech Industry Partnership.

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