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State of Young Philly 2013 offers new opportunities for young activists

Narcissistic. Apathetic. Cynical. State of Young Philly (SOYP), the annual, week-long activist celebration from Young Involved Philadelphia (YIP), rails against the unfortunate descriptors often associated with generation Y. This year, events run from Friday, October 25 through Saturday, November 2.
 
"There are a lot of articles out there stereotyping young people as the 'me' generation," says Mike Kaiser, Events Chair for YIP. “When you come out to YIP events, it's a totally different picture. We're trying to challenge that [perception]."
 
The week focuses on civic skill-building. Highlights include an opening night reception and civic engagement fair featuring Campus Philly, Groundswell, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, Need in Deed, Impact HUB Philly, the People's Emergency Center, and many others; Navigate Philly, a series of short presentations by local leaders on topics such as politics, media and education; Sustainability Night, an instructional event on recycling, composting and waste disposal; Get a Job, featuring advice from human resource professionals; and a "Welcome to Philly" happy hour featuring a "minimalist" Halloween costume contest.
 
Then, on November 2, YIP will host their first civic engagement un-conference. Participants will be encouraged to share ideas and best-practices.
 
"We know there are people out there making progress and positive change in Philly," says Kaiser. "This is a chance to bring everyone together to share that knowledge. We're trying to accelerate ideas and connections."
 
Last January, YIP's new board launched a quarterly "Learn, Grow, Do" series. It introduces Philly activists to fundamentals such as first-time home buying, networking and park cleaning. SOYP will give existing members the chance to reflect on their progress and engage new potential members.
 
"It really reaffirms that what we're doing matters," says Kaiser. "For new people it’s, 'Here’s something simple you can do to join this movement.'"
 
Source: Mike Kaiser, Young Involved Philadelphia
Writer: Dana Henry

New York City entrepreneur brings Local 215 food truck to Philadelphia

One of the advantages of operating a mobile food business is the ability to follow the market -- literally. That wisdom guided Alexander Buckner, founder of the Local 215 food truck and catering service, to Philadelphia.
 
Local 215 prepares their cuisine at Greensgrow's kitchen space and sources almost exclusively from family farms within 100 miles. The truck debuted last August at the The Food Trust's Night Market in Mt. Airy and re-launched this past spring after a winter hiatus.
 
Ironically, Local 215 was conceived while Buckner was living in New York City. The culinary entrepreneur had watched the popularity of food trucks spread from Los Angeles up the west coast. By 2011, high-concept street food had made its way east and was gaining traction in New York City -- unfortunately, the city's moratorium on vending licenses made starting a business prohibitively expensive.
 
Around that time, Buckner visited Philly and was impressed by the low startup costs and high density of young professionals and university students.
 
"It looked like Philadelphia was going to be next in line," says Buckner. "It has all the ingredients for a good food truck city."
 
Local 215 focuses on simple, "technique-driven" preparations. The menu features delicacies such as housemade Merguez lamb sausage in duck-fat gravy, braised duck, and fresh corn, slow roasted with shallots and topped with mascarpone cheese. 
 
"It's a balancing act to run a food truck or catering business that's all local," explains Buckner. "We actually do get almost everything from right here in Philly."
 
Local 215 truck stops at locations in University City, Callowhill and near the The Mann Center. Find them by checking their Twitter feed.
 
Source: Alexander Buchner, Local215
Writer: Dana Henry

Discover PHL helps launch PHLMade, a campaign to market locally-made products

Philadelphia might still be "the workshop of the world" -- only instead of manufacturing wool suits and steam engine parts, the city is producing up-cycled handbags, artisanal cheeses and smartphone apps.

PHLMade, an effort spearheaded by Discover PHL, wants to celebrate those products. They are currently offering a newsletter and plan to launch an online magazine and branding campaign around all the stuff made in Philly.
 
PHLMade has three main goals: To market Philadelphia as a "city of makers"; to appeal to outside and emerging companies who might want to make products here; and to help locavores and tourists buy products that are locally-made. Over the next year, PHLMade will create an original logo for products made in Philly and expects to hold conventions and pop-up shops for local wares.  
 
“It’s really to connect the marketing piece with the business piece and help to support the products that are coming out of Philadelphia," says Daniel Cohn, Founder of PHLMade and VP of marketing and communications at Discover PHL. “We’re really discovering stories in the city."
 
The online magazine -- featuring original content in addition to aggregated stories from local media outlets -- will focus exclusively on makers. It’s being developed by Brandon Davis, a native of Olney who publishes the national entrepreneurship magazine American Dreaming.
 
"Everyone in America is talking about American-made products and the importance of buying local," says Cohn. "PHLMade gives us additional opportunities to showcase Philadelphia as a city of innovation and of people who are still making things after all these years."
 
PHL-Made is looking to hear from makers, maker-enthusiasts and interested sponsors. They are launching a Kickstarter campaign this month to support the upcoming magazine launch.
 
Source: Daniel Cohn, Discover PHL
Writer: Dana Henry

Public Workshop completing construction on Philly's first GreenBuild Legacy Project

The Public Workshop is finishing construction on Philly's first GreenBuild Legacy Project. In the coming years, this play structure, located in Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, is expected to engage hundreds of thousands of local users.

The concept was selected by Delaware Valley Green Building Council. This November, they are hosting the international GreenBuild Expo in partnership with the City of Philadelphia. Previous legacy projects in other cities have largely focused on urban agriculture.

Alex Gilliam, founder of Public Workshop, announced plans for the project back in March. Since then, the organization's "Building Heroes" -- young adult and teenage project leaders -- have created an "adventure playground" using salvaged wood and fallen trees.

"We got excited about the potential of leaving a lasting project at Smith playground, but also engaging youth," says Fern Gookin, director of sustainability at Revolution Recovery and chair of the Legacy Project Committee.

The group's work transforms the natural landscape through designated play areas -- "The Jungle" has bendable beams that can be woven into caves, tunnels and huts; "The Forest" offers reclaimed materials for building temporary structures; and "The Whirlpool" is a shifting deck wrapped around a large tree, begging the user to look up at the canopy.

During the design-build process, the Public Workshop engaged local community groups and citywide organizations, including Urban Blazers and Mural Arts. Final workdays and upcoming Legacy Project events are open to the public.

"During the GreenBuild Expo, the spotlight on a national and international level will be on Philadelphia," says Gookin. "The Legacy Project will live on after the conference packs up and moves away."

Source: Fern Gookin, Legacy Project Comittee; Alex Gilliam, Public Workshop
Writer: Dana Henry
 

Inventing the Future: Fifth annual RAIN conference fosters entrepreneurship in the region

The fifth annual Regional Affinity Incubation Network (RAIN) Conference, held June 24 at the University City Science Center Quorum, kicked off with a simple request. Wayne Kimmel of SeventySix Capital asked the audience -- which featured entrepreneurs, investors and thinkers from across the region -- to forget about task forces and meetings. Instead, he wanted every attendant to show one local college student a piece of Philly.

"It's about engaging young bright minds," said Kimmel. "That's the amazing opportunity."

RAIN is a network of research parks and business incubators, including the Science Center, Select Greater Philadelphia, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the Delaware Emerging Technology Center and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The conference launched in 2009 with the goal of fostering support for entrepreneurship in the tri-state area. It has grown from 40 to 100 attendees, including many local entrepreneurs.

This year's event, dubbed "Supporting Startups: Capital, Community and Collaboration," featured two panel discussions. The first delved into first-round funding and crowdfunding; the second looked more broadly at startup resources such as StartUp PHL and other local support organizations.

"Every startup needs funding, funding and funding," said Jeanne Mell, VP of marketing and communications at the Science Center. "But the options that are available are changing rapidly, especially in light of crowdfunding."

At several points, speakers identified a growing number of coworking spaces, incubators and networking channels that are changing the face of Greater Philadelphia.

"These formal organizations have been joined by coworking spaces and other spaces of cohabitation for startups," explained Thomas Morr, president and CEO of Select Greater Philadelphia. "It's very exciting."

The University City Science Center has partnered with Flying Kite to showcase innovation in Greater Philadelphia through the "Inventing the Future" series.

Source: Wayne Kimmel, SeventySix Capital Jeanne Mell, VP of Marketing and Communications at the Science Center, Thomas Morr, President and CEO of Select Greater Philadelphia
Writer: Dana Henry

Campus Philly's Opportunity Fair plugs students into the regional economy

The Campus Philly Opportunity Fair, taking place June 20 at Penn's Houston Hall, isn't just about jobs. In addition to featuring over 40 of the region's largest and fastest growing companies -- including Bentley Systems, Monetate, Artisan and Urban Engineers -- the event will host local civic organizations and a series of workshops aimed at helping recent grads. The big picture goal: keeping students in Philadelphia.

The fair is free to anyone who graduated from college in the past five years. To develop a diverse roster, Campus Philly partnered with the City of Philadelphia and 29 local universities.

The idea for the fair was first conceived in 2008. At the height of the recession, they wanted to help graduates find local employment. The event has since evolved to meet the demands of a changing job market.

"Students often come to us not knowing where to start," says Ashlie Thornbury, director of career programs for Campus Philly. "They want to know who to talk to and how to get plugged-in."

Organizations like Generocity, Young Involved Philadelphia, the Mayor's Office of Civic Engagement and the Citizen's Planning Institute will encourage new grads to get involved with local issues. Workshops cover topics such as managing social media identity and developing career paths through volunteering. There will also be representatives from local graduate programs.

In the past five years, Philadelphia has experienced a population bump after fifty years of decline. Much of this incoming population has been under 30.  

"The Opportunity Fair a great way to showcase all that our region has to offer a recent graduate," says Thornbury. "Philadelphia has become a destination." 
 
Source: Ashlie Thornbury, Campus Philly
Writer: Dana Henry

Philly's third Vendy Awards reward mobile culinary innovation

For the culinary entrepreneur, Philly is a great testing ground. In addition to our thriving BYO culture, the city supports a growing army of food trucks. To celebrate, the New York City-based Street Vendor Project will host the third annual Philly Vendy Awards at Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown on Saturday, June 8.   

While metal boxes carting cheesesteaks, fruit salad and breakfast sandwiches are nothing new, the new generation of Philly concessions are creating portable versions of national food trends -- Korean tacos, anyone? The Vendy Award finalists, selected thanks to thousands of public nominations, pay homage to the growing diversity.

"Vendors are giving us more options," says Helena Tubis, event coordinator for the Street Vendor Project. "They're creating a location-based experience. There's a fun factor that's just a little different than your traditional dining experiences."

The event will showcase six sweet trucks (offering frozen yogurt, baked goods and, of course, cupcakes) and 11 savory trucks (including Asian fusion, build-your-own mac and cheese and vegan delicacies). Attendees are given unlimited samples and will vote to decide the People's Choice award, Best Dessert and Messiest Food. There's also a judges' award determined by a panel of experts, including Paul Kimport, cofounder of Johnny Brenda's and Standard Tap, and Emilio Mignucci of DiBruno Bros. Ticket proceeds benefit The Food Trust.

Street Vendor Project has held the Vendy Awards in their home city for nine years. They brought the event to Philly because the local scene was booming: Over 15 trucks serve Love Park daily and The Food Trust has organized several packed Night Markets.

"There's just a huge influx in Philadelphia," says Tubis. "A tremendous amount of new vendors are doing unique offerings."

Source: Helena Tubis, the Street Vendor Project
Writer: Dana Henry

Inventing the Future: Random Hacks of Kindness winner creates afterschool program wiki

As Philadelphia prepares to close dozens of schools, afterschool enrichment -- a lifeline to arts, athletics and academics -- is also in peril. That’s why Chris Alfano, CTO of JarvUs and brigade leader of Code for Philly, and Faye Anderson, founder of Tracking Change, are building a wiki-based platform that identifies available programs. The team's project, What’s Going On?, won Philly’s fifth Random Hacks of Kindness (RHOK) this past weekend at Drexel’s ExCiTe Center.

This year's RHOK joined forces with hackathons around the globe under the umbrella of National Day of Civic Hacking. The event was organized by Technically Philly through partnerships with AzaveaCode for America, Drexel and the City of Philadelphia. There were five final projects and over 20 participants.

When the Alfano and Anderson first investigated the afterschool issue, they noticed that the data is often incomplete or outdated. Some programs, like the Free Library's Literacy Enrichment Afterschool Program, are burried in individual branch sites. For families with limited internet access and know-how, the lack of an accurate, central resource is a major barrier.

"They need to find things in the community and there's no directory," says Alfano. "Someone who's researching is going to have to be making phone calls and checking up on everything they find."

Instead of creating a static app, which relies on a developer for updates, What’s Going On? is a search engine built on public wiki pages. Users and program directors can submit program pages or update existing ones, creating a more comprehensive repository.

The winning app was first conceived during February’s Tech Camp, which addressed challenges in public education. According to Brian Kirk, co-founder of Technically Philly, relationships between hackers and hackathons have become increasingly common in the civic engagement space. For example, Sheltr, the second place finisher at RHOK, was first created during a hackathon several years ago. The team that worked on it during this recent event was a completely new group.

"There's a community that has an understanding of the data ecosystem and what's being built," says Kirk. "Without any big leadership change, we've seen it coalesce and get pushed further down the road."

Source: Faye Anderson, Chris Alfano, What’s Going On?; Brian Kirk, Technically Philly
Writer: Dana Henry 

The University City Science Center has partnered with Flying Kite to showcase innovation in Greater Philadelphia through the "Inventing the Future" series.

Philly hosts second GameLoop, an "unconference" for the gaming industry

For Philly's burgeoning community of indie game makers and enthusiasts, GameLoop is a chance to swap ideas, learn techniques and make new contacts in a growing industry. Philly's second incarnation of this event takes place at University of the Arts' Terra Hall on Saturday, May 18.

Dubbed an "unconference," GameLoop has no set agenda. Participants propose and decide on talks and roundtables at the beginning of the day during an open floor discussion.

"[The local gaming community] has brought together programmers, artists, musicians, designers, modelers -- you name it," says organizer Ray Merkler. "A rapidly growing indie game scene needs events like this to share ideas and create new relationships."

GameLoop originated in Boston in 2008. Merkler brought the concept to Philly in 2011, after meeting founder Scott Macmillan at the PAX East gaming show in Boston. Philly's first GameLoop drew 80 people, including leaders from Boston, New York and Baltimore. Topics covered included 2-D and 3-D design, prototyping, and business models, but Merkler says GameLoop isn't just about development or the industry. For example, someone looking to build a new narrative into a classic game, such as Dungeons and Dragons, is welcome to share.

"You can attract new talent into your city, or you can take the talent you already have and let it interact in new ways," says Merkler. "GameLoop tries to do the latter."

Source: Ray Merkler, GameLoop Philly
Writer: Dana Henry

Inventing the Future: A public call for 'Innovators Walk of Fame' nominees

The University City Science Center is now seeking nominations for their Innovators Walk of Fame. The inaugural members will be revealed during the organization's 50th anniversary celebration in October. In preparation, the Science Center is asking Greater Philadelphia to recommend regional candidates who have made an impact in science, technology, engineering, art or math (STEAM). There is also a category for innovative companies.
 
"We're not doing this prescriptively," says Stephen Tang, president and CEO of the Science Center. "We want to hear from the community."
 
Final selections will be made by a committee comprised of Science Center affiliates and members of the regional innovation and entrepreneurial communities. By opening in conjunction with Philly Tech Week and the Science Festival, the call for nominations is expected to draw on the city's growing enthusiasm for discovery and invention.
 
Not yet officially decided, the location of the walk -- think the musical stars on Avenue of the Arts -- will likely be on the Science Center's campus. The monument aims to draw public attention (particularly from local K-12 students) to these individuals and their accomplishments.

With leaders like Buckminster Fuller, biotech pioneer Hubert Schoemaker and radar technologist Britton Chance, Philadelphia has a powerful history to pull from. Tang is looking forward to nominations that reach beyond traditional science hubs.
 
"Innovation is kind of an ethereal concept," he says. "I think we will surprise people because they'll recognize that we've had geniuses in our midst for some time." 
 
Nominations can be submitted here through June 15.

The University City Science Center has partnered with Flying Kite to showcase innovation in Greater Philadelphia through the "Inventing the Future" series.
 
Source: Stephen Tang, The University City Science Center
Writer: Dana Henry

The GreenLight Fund, a growing network of best-practice nonprofits, launches in Philadelphia

When the GreenLight Fund, a Boston-based nonprofit network for children and families, decided it was time to expand, they searched nationally for the right city. After a year of research and many lengthy visits, they chose Philadelphia.
 
The fund has launched with $2.3 million dedicated to establishing two nonprofits -- Single Stop USA and Year Up -- in the region.
 
"A lot of it came down to where there was receptivity, where were folks excited about the model -- Philadelphia rose to the top of that process," says Matt Joyce, executive director of the GreenLight Fund Philadelphia. (Joyce works out of The Exchange, a coworking space for the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors recently profiled in Flying Kite).
 
To effect change on a local level, GreenLight works with community leadership to identify needs, then searches nationally for best-practice programs they can import. In Philadelphia, they met with members of city government, the Philadelphia Youth Network, the Philadelphia Education Fund, and the Community College of Philadelphia. From these discussions, college persistence and workforce development were identified as central issues for local youth.
 
The program is partially funded through the Social Innovation Fund, a federal program. Additional funding was provided by the William Penn Foundation, the Barra Foundation and the Bank of America Foundation.
 
GreenLight has operated in Boston since 2004, where they’ve established seven programs -- all are still operating and some have become independently sustainable.
 
"We were looking for an appetite for innovation and new ideas," says Joyce. "Among the folks we talked to, there was a lot of interest in trying to get some of the best ideas from around the country launched in Philadelphia."
 
Source: Matt Joyce, The Green Light Fund
Writer: Dana Henry

Inventing the Future: Philly Tech Breakfast builds bridges in the local tech community

Even when it’s not Philly Tech Week, the region has an ever-growing schedule of hackathons and startup events. Despite the crowded landscape, Philly Tech Breakfast has already racked up over 200 members -- including local notables from Philly Startup Leaders, Technically Philly and Drexel's ExCITe Center -- and they haven't even held their first meetup yet.
 
The group will meet every third Thursday in Mitchell Auditorium at Drexel’s Bossone Research Enterprise Center. The morning will feature three-to-six presentations from local tech innovators. According to Enterprise Law Associates' Gary Smith, a founding sponsor, Tech Breakfast is "technology agnostic," meaning that folks working on any tech-driven enterprise -- be it a videogame platform or a medical diagnostic device -- are welcome to participate.
 
"We wanted focus more on the fact that the companies are early-stage and in technology than on the fact that they're in a particular vertical," explains Smith.
 
By joining the greater Tech Breakfast network -- a listserv boasting thousands of members from Baltimore, Washington D.C., Columbia, Md., and Northern Virginia -- Philly can engage a broader community. A venture capitalist from Northern Virginia, for example, is more likely to build relationships and invest in a Philly software company if they belong to the same community.
 
"We’ll become part of a larger flow of information," says Smith. "There's a lot of talk about that, but not a lot of practical facilitation of that."
 
Current sponsors include Namsa, a medical product consultancy, Outlook.com, Technically Philly and Bizelo, an inventory management company for e-commerce. The event was organized by Bizelo founder Ron Schmelzer.
 
While these breakfasts are free to the general public, they are tailored to tech startup members and supporters. Meetings start April 25 with presentations from AxisPhilly, SnipSnap and Acclaim, among others. 

Source: Gary Smith, Enterprise Law Associates 
Writer: Dana Henry

Philadelphia Science Festival offers over 100 interactive events

Mummies, baseball and hallucinogens -- these are just a few of the marvels explored in the third annual Philadelphia Science Festival, created by the Franklin Institute. Running April 18 through 28, the festival offers over 100 events throughout the city.

Over the past two years, the Festival has engaged over 120,000 people, including 30,000 students. The hallmark of the fest is promoting "citizen scientists" and all events are interactive. Here are a couple of our picks:

For fans of local fare, Yards is offering Beer Chemistry: Perfect Pairings, a chemistry lesson with a brewmaster’s twist -- and carefully selected food and beer pairings. Elsewhere, Chef Max Hansen of Max Hansen Catering will illustrate the science behind farm-to-table with a four-course meal during The Sustainable Table: A Dinner Experience.

Sustainability seekers should also check out Sweet and Savory: Hives and Honey, a bee expo led by local beekeepers; Urban Farming at Bartram’s Garden, an exploration of agricultural science; and Naturepalooza!, an outdoor Earth Day celebration hosted by the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.

Those still awaiting the zombie uprising can watch local taxidermist extraordinaire Beth Beverly -- her accessories fashioned from road kill earned her a spot on AMC’s Immortalized -- demonstrate how to bring the dead back to life with Skinned, Stuffed and Mounted: Taxidermy Exposed. They can also help solve a mystery pandemic at Murder at the Mütter: Outbreak! and learn how to compile forensic evidence while listening to live music from Cornbread Five during Nerd Night: CSI.

Arts and culture lovers will appreciate a multi-media presentation from the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts [PIFA] on Icarus at the Edge of Time, based on the children's physics book of the same name. Breadboard will also open a Cellular/Molecular Exhibit showcasing local bio- and chem-inspired art. Meanwhile, the Science of Jazz will demonstrate sound waves at work using live scores.

And be sure to save room for the Science Carnival, the Science Festival's signature event featuring live science demos outside on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

For more on the festival -- and to check out a full calendar of events -- visit PhilaScienceFestival.org.

Inventing the Future: PIDC gives $500,000 boost to life science technology

Last Tuesday, local university research in healthcare technology got a big boost. As a third component in the StartUp PHL portfolio, the University City Science Center's QED Proof-of-Concept program -- which invests exclusively in medical research from Greater Philadelphia’s academic sector -- was awarded a $500,000 loan from Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PICD) Penn Venture Fund program.
 
QED -- the abbreviated Latin phrase Quod Erat Demonstrandum (proven as demonstrated) -- provides grant money and private sector guidance to help promising studies establish early stage proof-of-concept for commercial application, a cumbersome phase of the research-to-product process. Since 2009, the program has awarded $600,000 annually, divided into $200,000 grants for life science projects and $100,000 grants for research in digital healthcare, a growing field where life science meets information technology. 

According to Stephen Tang, President and CEO of the Science Center, university settings are ideal spaces for developing broad-scope medical science, thanks to their insulation from commercial interests. A diagnostic company, for example, might build a device to detect Alzheimer's disease. Meanwhile, a university has the freedom to research the molecular identity of the disease which can inform a range of diagnostics and treatments.
 
"The theory on innovation is you have to have very divergent thinking before you have convergent thinking," says Tang. "It's that very divergent thinking that [the Science Center] is trying to tap into and help to converge on commercial opportunities."
  
Past QED participants -- representing 22 regional institutions including Penn, Drexel and the Wistar Institute -- have gone on to launch promising companies. Vascular Magnetics, producers of a drug delivery apparatus created by Dr. Robert Levy, a professor of pediatric cardiology from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and his QED business advisor Richard Woodward, recently raised $7 million in their first round of financing. UE LifeSciences Inc., a medical device company that commercialized research in breast cancer detection by  Dr. Wan Shih of Drexel's School of Biomedical Engineering, eventually received a $878,422 grant from the Pennsylvania Department Of Health's Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement (CURE) program.
 
While the "Eds and Meds" capital has long been hailed for life science achievements, Tang sees digital healthcare as the next frontier. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, massive amounts of medical records have to be digitized. Furthermore, the bourgeoning field of Genomics -- the science of transcribing an individual's genome to detect genetic disease -- will require terabyte-sized data transfer and manipulation. 
 
Accordingly, the 2012 QED program made awards to mobile healthcare apps developed at Rutgers University. The $500,000 PICD loan -- which is repaid via licensing royalties and revenue from successful projects -- will expand QED within city limits, boosting Philly's role in the health IT industry. 
 
"[Philadelphia] has one of the largest concentrations of healthcare facilities, hospitals and doctors, as well as academic research," says Tang. "We're betting big that that domain will distinguish Philadelphia from other metropolitan areas in the world."

The University City Science Center has partnered with Flying Kite to showcase innovation in Greater Philadelphia through the "Inventing the Future" series.

Source: Stephen Tang, University City Science Center
Writer: Dana Henry

Inventing the Future: Navy Yard welcomes Quorum for energy entrepreneurs

The Navy Yard is fast becoming a national nexus for energy advancements. In addition to the Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EEB) Hub, the formerly derelict warehouse district has gained Viridity Energy, Oxicool, Pace Controls and the Mark Group in recent years.
 
Now the University City Science Center is bringing Quorum programming (Flying Kite, February 19, 2013) to the Navy Yard from March 14 through January 312014. Per EEB Hub’s request, "Satellite" Quorum will focus on Philly's growing clean energy and energy retrofit sectors.
 
"Flagship Quorum really is a broad program open to entrepreneurs in any part of tech-based innovation," explains Jeanne Mell, the Science Center's Vice President of Marketing Communications. "We're taking the principals we learned with flagship and applying them to a much more targeted sector."
 
At Satellite Quorum, "Coffee and Capital," a gateway to the tech investment community, becomes "Coffee and Counsel," in which a selected leader in energy enterprise fields questions from a small audience of entrepreneurs. The Science Center is also developing programming that addresses sector specific issues such as strategies for approaching building managers. Additionally, the series provides ongoing networking, a key component to startup acceleration.
 
As the first member of  Satellite Quorum's Strategic Partner Alliance,  Clean Tech Open, a national incubator, will help promote programming.  According to Laurie Actman of EEB Hub, the recent passage of Philadelphia's Commercial Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure Act, will give the retrofit sector even more of a boost, increasing the need for industry-specific programming.
 
The University City Science Center has partnered with Flying Kite to showcase innovation in Greater Philadelphia through the "Inventing the Future" series.

Source: Jeanne Mell, Kristen Fitch, The University City Science Center; Laurie Actman, EEB Hub
Writer: Dana Henry

Innovative private-public partnership earns $1 million in Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge

Last summer, while launching the city's Office of New Urban Mechanics [ONUM], Story Bellows and Jeff Friedman met with Philadelphia’s top social impact organizations. This process led to the idea of private-public collaboration with Good Company Group [GCG], a local incubator for environmental and social entrepreneurship.

The resulting concept, the Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership [PSEP], provides opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to tackle traditional public sector problems such as storm water management, gun violence and education. This past Wednesday, the group's proposal was one of five (out of 300) awarded $1 million in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge.
 
Two-to-three times per year, a PSEP advisory board will help the mayor’s office identify a key issue -- and the associated costs -- and provide a framework for startup proposals. During each session, ten applicants will access incubation services, data and information from related city departments, and coaching from public sector industry experts.  
 
"It's looking at problems that [city] government has, that drain a lot of resources, and reframing them as market opportunities," says Zoe Selzer, executive director at GCG. "It's not targeting one specific challenge -- it's creating a system that can target a lot of different challenges." 
 
PSEP partners include GCV, ONUM, the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology. The application to the Mayor's Challenge was overseen by Maari Porter, Chief Grants Officer for Philadelphia. According to Selzer, PSEP’s inclusion of non-government leadership was unique among Bloomberg finalists.
 
To refine the concept, the partners worked on government procurement strategies and established the need for pilot contracts (in lieu of grants) to support social startups. They encourage applications from Greater Philadelphia and across the country.
 
"It's a huge validation of the work we’ve been doing," says Selzer. "We really believe this is our opportunity to position Philadelphia as a national hub for social enterprise and as a place where [social] entrepreneurs grow and test their ideas and then spread those ideas around the country and around the world."

Source: Zoe Selzer, Good Company Group; Story Bellows, Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics
Writer: Dana Henry

Ignite Philly 11 provides lively showcase for city's top thinkers

Most know Christine Knapp as a sustainability ambassador via her outreach roles with Penn Future, the Next Great City Intiative, the Passyunk Square Civic Association and, most recently, the Philadelphia Water Department. But during Ignite Philly 11 (held last Thursday at Johnny Brenda's), Knapp gained a new title: karaoke master.

After sharing best practices from her 15 years of experience, Knapp inspired Indy Hall's Alex Hillman and Flying Kite’s Michelle Freeman to join her onstage for a rendition of Journey's "Don’t Stop Believing."
 
Such is the spirit of Ignite Philly, where local leaders put their titles aside to share their passions. Spoken word artist Erica Hawthorne gave a lively pitch for Small But Mighty Arts Grant, her mission to recover the 72 percent of art in Philly that’s gone "missing" due to lack of funding. Brett Hart of the Wooden Boat Factory explained how wood and the Delaware River are transforming the youth of his native Frankford ("This wood is like my life -- it's hard, but I’m trying to shape it into something," a student once told him). Hive76’s Jordan Miller, a Penn scientist, demonstrated how he generates living vascular structures via 3-D printing -- in sugar.
 
Ignite 11 also reflected Philly’s burgeoning love for open data. Mark Headd, the city's chief data officer, opened the evening by making a compelling analogy between Athenian Democracy and urban open data usage, warning that many Philadelphians still can't participate due to the digital divide (a problem he’s addressing with GetYourToga.org). Dave Zega and Jake Wells of ElectNext revealed their method for using data to verify the claims of politicians. Ben Garvey showed Ignite how data can be made visual -- and more digestible. And Stephanie Alarcon, Amy Gutherie and Georgia Gutherie of the Hacktory shared "Hacking the Gender Gap," a database that tracks causal experiences leading to the gender disparity in tech.
 
Other notable speakers included Amanda Feifer-O'Brien, the force behind a local movement to save beneficial micro-organisms via fermentation; Drew Beecher, president of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and leader of a national tree-planting campaign; and Ashvika Dhir, the Pennsbury High School Senior behind CauseHub.com, a meta-blog for teenage change-makers. 
 
Ignite 11 was hosted by P'unk Ave's Geoff DiMasi, Indy Hall's Adam Teterus and Breadboard's David Clayton. They also awarded Girl Develop It Philly -- presenters at Ignite 10 -- $1000 to provide tech class scholarships for 50 local women.
 
Source: Ignite Philly 11
Writer: Dana Henry

Wind power provider Clean Currents opens Philly office, hiring sales reps

When Clean Currents, a wind power company based in Silver Spring, Md., opened a third office at 15th and Walnut Streets, they wanted Philadelphia to know. Last week, they showcased a 20-foot model wind turbine in Rittenhouse Square, Love Park, Manyunk and at the Wachovia Center in South Philly.
 
The "See The Power" campaign incorporated social media contests to build buzz around the availability of locally sourced wind power. According to Gary Skulnik, the company's president and chairman of the board, selling this energy is only the first step.

The company -- which has a second office in Baltimore -- also publishes a bi-weekly newsletter on environmental issues and policy, holds sustainability webinars, campaigns for energy efficiency legislation, gives presentations on environmental issues at local grade schools and holds "green neighborhood challenges" with prizes such as rain barrels and compost bins.
 
"We really view ourselves as a front door to sustainability," says Skulnik. "Once people and businesses sign up with us, we like to help them take additional steps. I think they appreciate an approach that pushes the envelope a little."
 
In two years, Clean Currents has racked up thousands of customers including businesses, schools and embassies. They have over 12,000 e-newsletter subscribers. From 2011 to 2012, their revenues grew 400 percent. They are currently hiring sales reps to round out their five-person Philly office.
 
According to Skulnik, Clean Currents chose their new locale because of an environmentally conscious consumer-base -- he credits the Sustainable Business Network and the Delaware Valley Green Building Council for helping drive the movement. In an era of mass information, sustainability requires more than individual action.
 
"The only way we are going to solve [climate change] is by creating a ground swell of support for solutions," he says. "It’s really vital that we create this sense of community."

Source: Gary Skulnik, Clean Currents
Writer: Dana Henry

Nvigor connects local students to the dynamic world of startups

One of the hidden advantages of going to college in Philadelphia is accessibility to the local startup community. Practically every other week there’s a startup weekend, hackathon or Philly Startup Leaders (PSL) event.  
 
When Dias Gotama, an International Information Systems major at Drexel, started attending these events he was surprised to find there weren’t many other students. 

"An entrepreneurship ecosystem is growing really fast in Philadelphia," says Gotma. "A lot of events that happen aren’t well targeted to students -- they’re either really expensive or organizations don’t know how to reach students on a granular level."

Nvigor -- a student organization he cofounded with fellow Drexel student Abhiroop Das and Pulak Mittal, a Penn student -- hopes to change that.

Students who sign up with Nvigor receive a list of events culled from the PSL listserv and Philly Startup Digest. Nvigor also helps organize student scholarships for pricey events such as Lean Startup Machine and Startup Weekend Health.
 
The group is working with the City's Office of New Urban Mechanics on a curriculum for students interested in civic-minded startups. In addition, they’re planning a Student Startup Conference for the upcoming Philly Tech Week.
 
Nvigor recently received sponsorship from Smart IMS -- they will pay for the group's membership at Culture Works, an organization that provides management resources and operational support. Eventually, Nvigor hopes to help students get part-time jobs or apprenticeships at emerging companies. They also plan to expand their services to suburban schools.
 
"If students come to these events, and they like them, word will spread about Philadelphia’s startup community," says Gotama. 

Source: Dias Gotama, Abhiroop Das and Pulak Mittal, Nvigor
Writer: Dana Henry

Philadelphia Game Lab, an incubator and co-working space for game developers, is set to open

With the recent success of companies like Flyclops, Final Form and Cipher Prime, mobile game-making is carving a niche in the city's creative economy. Now the community needs a home-base -- enter Nathan Solomon, founder of Philadelphia Game Lab, a combination co-working space and incubator.
 
"Over the past ten years, with alternative distribution channels, the industry as a whole is much more interested in actual creative stuff," says Solomon. "Philadelphia's not in a really great position to pull together teams of over a hundred people, but we are in a really good position to pull together people who have technical expertise and creative drive, and want to make their own games."

The Lab will open its doors at 22nd and Walnut Streets in late March. It will admit small "teams" (usually two to six people) and skilled individuals seeking teams. In addition to benefiting from the networking and support that comes with a game-centric community, teams can better access capital via partnering funders. Opportunities for mentoring and a Quality Assurance (QA) Lab for beta testing are also in the works.
 
While shrinking startup costs have made the game app industry more accessible, the market is highly competitive. "You don’t need to find that special backer or special publisher anymore," says Solomon. "At the same time, it's really, really hard to make a good game."
 
The Lab will open with four teams and hopes to serve 12 teams total. Solomon says he’s also planning programs with local universities designed to expose students to game making as a vocation.
 
Source: Nathan Solmon, Philadelphia Game Lab
Writer: Dana Henry

P'unk Ave launches apprenticeship program for wanna-be developers

Thanks to the limitless growth of open data, online organizing and open source software, civic participation has never been easier. Of course, while many Philadelphians engage with those virtual channels, few know how to build them.
 
Fortunately, South Philly's P'unk Avenue has launched an apprenticeship program to put purpose-driven urbanites on the fast track to technical competency. The web development shop -- whose recent clients include the Philadelphia School Partnership, PlanPhilly, The Food Trust, the Delaware River Waterfront Plan, the Conservation Center for Arts and Historical Artifacts and the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia -- is offering six months of real-world experience to nascent techies. They are currently considering applicants for May; a stipend is included.
 
"From the beginning [P'unk Ave] has always had that mindset of this being a place where people learn and grow," says founder Geoff DiMasi, a former multimedia professor at University of the Arts. "We’ve always been good at teaching people -- why not formalize that?"
 
P'unk Ave's "prototype" apprentice Joel Smith was teaching high school in South Jersey and seeking a career change before joining the company. He considered graduate school but wasn’t convinced it was the most efficient path.
 
"Literally, from the first day [of apprenticeship] I was building websites with a fair deal of autonomy," says Smith. "I was in an environment with professionals who were invested in my growth, but actually doing meaningful projects."
 
In addition to sharpening his code-writing skills, Smith has helped P'unk Ave compile a "cannon" of texts related to industry standards. DiMasi says he sees the apprenticeship becoming a signature of P'unk Ave while offering a gateway for passionate Philadelphians -- particularly minorities and women -- to join companies like his.
 
"You can teach people how to build a website, but you can’t teach them how to care about changing the world," he says.
 
Source: Geoff DiMasi, Joel Smith, P’unk Ave
Writer: Dana Henry

Philly's first LadyHacks lures women into the hackathon movement

Nationally, computer science programs award more masters degrees to men than bachelors degrees to women.

This statistic helped inspire "Visualizing the Gender Gap," a graphic representation of educational and professional outcomes for men and women. The project was one of several activist platforms created during Philadelphia’s first LadyHacks, a mostly-female hackathon held last weekend at WHYY in Center City.

"A lot of the Hackathons you see are competitive," says Tristin Hightower, co-organizer of LadyHacks. "We wanted to remove that element. We were trying to address stuff that impacts [women] as an under-represented group in tech."

Other projects included Miss Conceptions, a click-through info graph addressing female stereotypes; Power Solvers, a game aimed at increasing tech appeal to 11- to 15-year-old girls; Hacking the Gender Gap, a program that tracks positive and negative tech experiences by gender; STEM everywhere, a regional resource for Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) youth education programs; and SheTechPHL, a comprehensive guide for women looking to engage in the local tech scene.

The event had 64 female and one male participants. Most came from non-technical backgrounds (SheTech, for example, was produced by four English majors) and the teams received mentorship from local female leaders including Yasmine Mustafa of Girl Develop IT Philly, Gloria Bell of Philly Startup Leaders and Tracy Levesque of Yikes. Sponsors included Chariot Solutions, Azavea, Skout MediaMonetate, Yikes and Philly Tech Meetup.

Hightower and fellow Girl Geek Dinner member Sondra Willhite developed the concept as a solution for lackluster female participation in Philly’s hackathons. Eighty percent of attendees admitted that they had never contributed at a tech event before. By the end of the hackathon, most said they planned to participate again in the near future.

Hightower and Willhite will follow up with surveys to see if these newbies do, in fact, continue their pursuit, particularly with regards to the upcoming Philly Tech Week. Additionally, they're re-evaluating the event -- with help of attendee feedback -- in hopes of creating an annual LadyHacks.

"Hackathons have this stereotype that it's all the coders getting together and just coding," says Hightower. "But that's not all they can be. All these other people need to be involved—and can be involved."

Source: Tristin Hightower, Sondra Willhite, Lady Hacks
Writer: Dana Henry

Inventing the Future: Quorum, the 'clubhouse for entrepreneurs,' reaches $1 million milestone

After receiving a final contribution from the University of Pennsylvania, the University City Science Center closed its Open the Doors Campaign. The first fundraiser in the local institution's fifty year history raised over $1 million for Quorum. This "clubhouse for entrepreneurs" has a two-pronged mission: to provide a place where entrepreneurs can meet and present a programming series designed to help those entrepreneurs move forward.
 
Quorum -- equipped with meeting rooms, a lounge and a small auditorium -- is distinguished from traditional coworking spaces through open accessibility. Local entrepreneurs are encouraged to use the space to host meetings or to just drop by to work among their peers. No membership required.
 
"We really want to give people the chance to make informal connections," says Jeanne Mell, VP of marketing and  communications for the Science Center.
 
The roster of investment and advising opportunities includes Coffee and Capital, an educational meeting between an investor and 20 entrepreneurs; Office Hours, where local business experts -- including Jeff Libson from Pepper Hamilton, Jeff Bodle from Morgan Lewis and Allison Deflorio from Exude -- meet individual entrepreneurs to answer pre-submitted questions; Angel Education, which hosts a panel of entrepreneurs to educate angel investors about opportunities in emerging industries;  and How to Talk to Money, a new series by BizClarity's Steve Bowman on approaching investors.  
 
The concept emerged from recommendations made by Select Greater Philadelphia's CEO Council for Growth. Since opening in 2011, the facility has serviced 12,000 individuals and hosted 250 events. The Science Center has also partnered with the Navy Yard's EEB Hub on Satellite Quorum, to offer programing on energy-related ventures.
 
Open the Doors received support from 34 private companies and institutions, including Morgan Lewis, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Energy Plus. Moving forward, the Science Center expects to provide opportunities for ongoing sponsorship.
 
"As the money has rolled in, it's been used to support Quorum's programing," says Mell. "This is really the first step in our fundraising journey."
 
Source: Jeanne Mell, University City Science Center
Writer: Dana Henry

Our partner for the "Inventing the Future" series is the University City Science Center.

Young Involved Philly expands Board Prep Program to train next-gen leaders

If #WhyILovePhilly taught us anything, it’s that the city's young activists don’t lack enthusiasm. Young Involved Philadelphia (YIP) is aiming to channel that energy by expanding their Board Prep Program, a tool for training and developing the next generation of nonprofit leaders. Applications went live this week.
 
The program provides six weekly classes on topics including strategic planning, legal and ethical issues, fundraising, and financial management. Thanks to a recent $40,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, YIP added Lea Kleinman, a teacher at Harrity Elementary as director. They also plan to offer a second session of the program each year.

"More and more foundations are looking to fund organizations that are diverse," says Sophie Hwang, Vice-Chair for Outreach at YIP. "Philadelphia is at a point where it's really hungry for younger board members."

YIP acquired the Board Prep Program from Philadelphia's Young Nonprofit Leaders in 2010. The applicant pool has grown steadily since then, and last fall over 100 people applied for 30 spots. Hwang says successful candidates are often nonprofit employees or those with a strong interest in civic leadership.
 
"We’re framing the program so you can apply it in a board context," says Hwang, "but it definitely can help in your day to day operations."
 
At the end of the program, YIP holds a matching event where recent grads are paired with interested organizations. According to Hwang, those who complete the program almost always go on to serve on local boards.

Source: Sophie Hwang, Young Involved Philadelphia
Writer: Dana Henry

Inventing the Future: Drexel launches groundbreaking school to educate young entrepreneurs

Drexel University has been making headlines as a leading innovator in higher education. In addition to launching the Center for Visual and Decision Informatics, the school spearheaded the ExCITe Center (featured in the December 4 issue of Flying Kite). Now they’re taking it a step further, announcing the foundation of the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, slated to open in fall 2013. 

The curriculum has not been officially announced, but founding dean Dr. Donna DeCarolis says Close will put less emphasis on traditional business programing. Instead, the new school will stress actionable skills such as teamwork and inter-disciplinary collaboration. Students will develop expertise in a particular discipline -- whether it's engineering, science or the arts -- while building business know-how.

"It’s important in a very broad way that we teach our students how to be entrepreneurial in their personal and professional lives," says DeCarolis.

The Close School was founded with a $12.5 million endowment from the Charles and Barbara Close Foundation. It is one of the first freestanding schools devoted to entrepreneurship in the country. Close will offer incoming freshman a "living and learning community" where students dorm together and engage in venture-related activities. Sophomores and juniors can opt for an "entrepreneurship co-op," and receive funding and mentorship to work exclusively on their new enterprise.

Entrepreneurship, explains DeCarolis, is not just about starting a business. The ability to develop an idea and follow it through is increasingly valuable. Even within the corporate structure, today’s executives look to their employees for new ideas and a demonstrated ability to innovate.

It's also about flexibility. "Students that graduate today, by the time they're in their forties, will have had ten or so jobs," says DeCarolis. "Many of those jobs will be self-employment."

Source: Donna DeCarolis, Drexel's Close School of Entrepreneurship
Writer: Dana Henry

Inventing the Future: Drexel undergrads snag top prize at Lean Startup Philly 3.0

Most everyday objects, particularly mobile devices, could benefit from an added solar panel. That was the original hypothesis of "Team Spore," winners of this weekend’s Lean Startup Machine Philly 3.0, held at Drexel University's Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship.

The team of Drexel undergrads -- Mark Brandon, Dylan Kenny and Jason Browne -- walked away with an AWeber account, a month-long membership at Seed Philly and web development through the Venturepact X incubator .

Lean Startup Machine (often incorrectly lumped in with Startup Weekend) focuses on building the concept rather than a working product. Participants spent three days testing their assumptions and interviewing potential customers.
 
Half of the 55 participants were students. To lure those students, organizer Kert Heinecke moved the event from VentureF0rth to University City. The Baiada Institute, the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at University of the Arts and AWebber provided several student scholarships. Dan Shipper, a Penn junior who cofounded Airtime for Email and Firefly, was a guest speaker.
  
Browne -- who met Brandon and Kenny at the event -- admits his concept was simple, but says the team benefited from rigorous testing. "Usually, if I have an idea, I jump right in," he says. "Taking a step back and thinking about [our concept] from a market -- not a marketing -- perspective was helpful."

Session mentors included Chris Cera from Arcweb, Ted Mann from SnipSnap, Brad Denenberg from Seed Philly, Jake Stein from RJ Metrics and Yasmine Mustafa, cofounder of 123Links and Girl Develop IT Philly.
 
Twelve teams made it to the finals. Second place was awarded to Paper Wool, a home goods design company and graduate of the Corzo Incubator and Good Company Ventures. Washington, D.C. team Busted, which helps customers find shop for bras online, finished third.
 
Source: Kert Heinecke, Lean Startup Machine Philly; Jason Browne, Team Spore
Writer: Dana Henry

PSL's Philly Community Map and Directory debuts

Philly’s tech community is on the map. Literally. On January 28, Philadelphia Startup Leaders (PSL) and WeWorkInPhilly (WWIP) launched the Philly Community Map and Directory, a GIS-enabled open-source guide to the individuals, companies, coworking spaces, resources, organizations and investors that make up our growing startup economy.  
 
Based on the WWIP directory created by Linus Graybill and Alex Hillman (cofounder of Indy Hall), the resource is intended to be "used by all, owned by none." Its development brought together a team of disparate techie founders including Hillman, Chris Cera of ArcWeb, Brad Oyler of W3Portals, Mel Baiada of BaseCamp Ventures, Brian Kirk of Technically Philly, Elliot Menschik of Venturef0rth and Bob Moul of appRenaissance.
 
"A lot of people are interested in finding better ways to interact with the tech community," says Cera. "[The Community Map] is a minimum viable product we did collaboratively to prove that we can all work together even though we have different goals and different stakeholders."
 
Member listings can include revenue, customers, number of employees and job postings. Cera points out that the project is not solely focused on the commercial aspects of the tech community -- new members can register companies or sign up as people.
 
Moul, who is president of PSL, expects the map will help entrepreneurs, startups and businesses promote themselves, while also making the local tech economy more attractive to inside and outside investment. The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, Select Greater Philadelphia, PHL Convention & Visitors Bureau, University City Science Center and Startup PHL plan to host the resource on their websites.
 
As of January 28th, 852 people and 328 companies have signed up via WeWorkInPhilly. PSL encourages anyone with a stake in the local tech scene to consider joining.
 
Source: Chris Cera, Bob Moul, Philly Startup Leaders
Writer: Dana Henry

Goldman Sachs gives $10 million boost to Philly small businesses

Philadelphia may be anchored by "eds and meds," but our small businesses -- web design firms, equipment manufacturers, eateries and shops -- help keep us afloat. According to the Sustainable Business Network's Taking Care of Business 2011 report, of the city's 90,000 businesses, 98 percent report less than 50 employees.

Some of those businesses will soon be getting a boost: Philadelphia was recently chosen for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Business Initiative which will provide up to $10 million in small business loans administered through the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC).
 
PIDC can serve a broader lending market than a traditional bank. According to Anne Nevins, Senior Vice President of Market Development for PIDC, promising businesses are sometimes held back by issues with credit or collateral. They may also be changing direction and appear risky to financial institutions. "We want to serve those businesses that are established and ready for a growth plan but for whatever reason can’t access the capital," says Nevins.
 
PIDC expects to serve several businesses in the manufacturing and professional service sectors needing $50,000 to $750,000 for new equipment, property, and working capital. They also identify restaurants, retail stores and revenue-earning nonprofits as potential benefactors. Nevins expects many applicants to be referred to PIDC from partner banks.
 
In total, PIDC expects to underwrite approximately fifty loans averaging $200,000, giving priority to businesses located in low to moderate income neighborhoods or those that employ lower to moderate income residents. Lancaster-based Community First Fund will provide up to $5 million in similar loans to 13 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. Goldman Sachs is also funding financial and operational education offered by Philadelphia Community College and support services through partner community groups for loan recipients. 
 
Since launching in Spring 2010, over 1,000 businesses in eleven cities have completed the program. Roughly 70 percent report increased revenues and 50 percent have created new jobs. 

Source: Anne Nevins, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation 
Writer: Dana Henry

Social Studies: Penn's new "lab" fosters social innovation

We've all been there: You pass by a trash-strewn lot or hear an account of school violence and, suddenly, you have an idea. Philadelphians are great at creating opportunity from seemingly hopeless situations. The road to implantation, however, can be littered with naysayers and fundraising bureaucracy. So how do you know your stroke of genius has merit?
 
The Philadelphia Social Innovations Lab—an outgrowth of the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal (PSIJ)— aims to help instigators test their vision against respective markets before fully committing. This may sound like private sector incubation, and that’s exactly the point. The 15-week program will provide mentorship, strategy development and return on investment modeling—opportunities not generally afforded to nonprofit and government organizations. They launch mid-January and will support up to 40 projects per semester.
 
With a combined 40 years of experience in social programming, Lab cofounders and PSIJ editors Tine Hansen-Turton and Nick Torres consider public sector innovations critical to a developed society. These services not only build our quality of life, Hansen-Turton explains, they also provide an essential step in workforce development via volunteer positions and help foster a regional culture that’s attractive to outside businesses and talent. "Connecting people and companies to the missions of these organizations makes not only social sense, but can translate into economic outcomes," she says.
 
Despite the economic setbacks of recent years, social innovations continue to thrive. The Nonprofit Almanac of 2011 acknowledges 1.5 million tax-exempt organizations in the United States—they are responsible for as much as five percent of GDP (source: National Center for Charitable Statistics). The Philadelphia region alone has over 15,000 nonprofit organizations employing 242,000 people and furnishing $11 billion in annual wages (Source: Philadelphia Foundation).
 
It was passionate PSIJ readers that inspired Hansen-Turton and Torres. In three years of quarterly publication, the pair has taken hundreds of phone calls from social innovation enthusiasts seeking input on their ideas. The pair partnered with Penn’s Fels Institute of Government (where they are adjunct faculty), PennDesign and PennPraxis. The first batch of accepted proposals were largely from Penn students, faculty and staff, and focused on health, education, and arts and culture.
 
In 2010, 26 percent of Americans over age 16 volunteered for a nonprofit (Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics). Locally, a new generation of visionaries—including Young Involved Philly and Philly Stake—prove our will is stronger than ever. "[Social innovation] is the foundation of America and our future," says Hansen-Turton. "We need to support [their leaders] with the tools and techniques that is afforded the private sector."

Source: Tine Hansen-Turton, Philadelphia Social Innovations Lab
Writer: Dana Henry

Retrofit Reverb: Navy Yard's EEB Hub jumpstarts local energy economy

If you're a commercial or multi-family building owner dreaming of an energy efficiency overhaul, now’s your chance. The Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EEB) Hub is offering $150,000 grants to building owners, facility managers, tenants, service providers and engineering firms for integrated energy retrofits—projects addressing whole energy systems, not just individual parts. The Advanced Energy Retrofit Opportunity (AERO) Fund will finance 20 projects early next year, and has extended the deadline for first-round applications to January 30, 2013.

Laurie Actman, deputy director of EEB Hub, calls Philly a "testing bed" for energy innovation: "We want to take examples from the work done here and promote them nationally," she says.

Retrofitting identifiable candidates—nearly half our building stock—could spur the creation of 23,500 jobs and $618 million in spending for the Philadelphia region, according to the Econsult Corporation. These jobs include service providers, equipment providers, architects, engineers and systems vendors.

"We’re trying to stimulate a lot of activity in the [energy retrofit] market," says Actman. "It’s hard to get [industry professionals] to work together at the same time on a design. We’re trying to create demand for that approach so the industry will take a more integrated approach themselves."

Established by the Department of Energy as the nation's largest research and innovations center for the energy economy (and based in the Navy Yard), the Hub plans to repeat the grant program throughout the next five years, investing tens of millions in our local retrofit economy. They aim for a 20 percent regional reduction in energy use by 2020.

"We see [The AREO Fund] as a permanent part of the city and the region," says Actman.

Source: Laurie Actman, EEB Hub
Writer: Dana Henry

Open for Business: Drexel's ExCITe Center launches in University City

It’s not every day a plainclothes professional opera singer performs to the hum of industrial knitting machines. Nonetheless, it was the perfect display of synergy for the opening ceremony of Drexel’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center at the University City Science Center. Held on Wednesday, November 28, the celebration showcased surprising STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) combinations and permutations.

"In academia, it’s hard to collaborate outside your department," says Dr. Youngmoo Kim, director of the ExCITe center and professor of computer engineering at Drexel. "The whole purpose [of ExCITe] is to create multidisciplinary projects at this nexus between technology and the arts. There’s so much synergy there."

The 11,000-square-foot facility features conference rooms, countless desktops, sound equipment and a knit lab, all available to Drexel faculty, staff and students, regional partner institutions and other universities. The space will host hackathons and other tech and arts related events.

Opening demos included an app for understanding live classical music and a digitally-enhanced grand piano. ExCITe also houses and provides seed funds to three startup projects: a Microsoft Kinect therapy game for people with cerebral palsy; a virtual reality opera project made in partnership with the Philadelphia Opera Company; and Sonic City, a Breadboard project incorporating city sounds into musical pieces.

The Shima Seiki Haute Technology Knit Lab houses four top grade fabric machines, a donation from Shima Seiki Manufacturing in Japan worth $1 millon. The facility is unheard of in academia and, according to Kim, rivals Nike’s Design Lab. Each apparatus prints items designed on CAD software; during the grand opening event, the machines produced knit kitchen gloves, custom seamless dresses and three-ply blankets.  

A knit-bot machine prints three-dimensional fabrics complete with electronic sensors. At the opening, a staff member hooked a spiraled piece of fabric into a control system and rolled it across the table remotely. Observers seemed impressed by the novelty, but Kim says knit-bot technology has implications for the future: One day you might be able to change the color and cut of your shirt with the press of a button, and sensors-enhanced fabrics could help individuals monitor health and weight. In addition, skins from these textiles could make plastic robots more resilient, while external sensors could help disaster-relief androids respond immediately to challenging environments.

Kim runs Drexel's Music Entertainment Technology Labratory, home to robots that dance and play music. He conceived of the center nearly two years ago while holding cross-departmental faculty meetings as a solution to academic silos. It wasn’t long before other key local institutions, including the Science Center, the Philadelphia Opera Company and the Franklin Institute, joined the planning.

"We can do great things here with Drexel folks, but there’s great people with ideas at Penn, UArts, Philadelphia University, Temple and Swarthmore," says  Kim. “They’re people that we know. A lot of people throughout the region, not just in academia, helped shape this."

Source: Youngmoo Kim, Drexel ExCITe
Writer: Dana Henry

Founder Factory: It's a great time to start a business in Philadelphia

Now is a great time to start a business in Philly: Philadelphia Startup Leaders has steadily grown to 1,800 members and launched PSL University, The City gained its first seed fund and an Office of New Urban Mechanics, and First Round Capital is taking lead in bringing more VC’s back inside our urban boundaries. The upcoming PSL Founder Factory—at World Café Live on Thursday, Nov. 15—will prime entrepreneurs with true-to-life lessons from exemplary risk takers.

“There are similar challenges that companies at any stage face,” Gloria Bell, event organizer for PSL and founder of Red Stapler Consulting, says. “Each year we have focused on a different aspect of building and running a startup using the collective wisdom of local entrepreneurs.”

Previous Founders Factories helped hopefuls polish their pitches and investor sweet talk.  This year, in response to member surveys and talk-list discussions, PSL broadens the programing, hosting talks from a diverse range of experienced local entrepreneurs—Leadnomics, PTM Solutions and Chariot Solutions, are represented—followed by workshops and small group discussions. Topics cover the essentials including customer development, internal metrics, and company culture.  Josh Kopelman of First Round and Michael Golden, co-founder of GSI Commerce and president and founder of ShopRunner, are the keynote speakers and will share the changing realities of entrepreneurship.  Hint: Kopelman, an accomplished Wharton grad and founder of successful tech ventures including Half.com, recently moved First Round near two of Philly’s thriving universities. It’s a sign of things to come.

 “There has been such tremendous growth in the startup community,” Bell says. “The recognition of business and city government of the contribution of the startup community to the overall economic health of the region has been a strong motivator. The area's entrepreneurs are well-equipped to build strong, sustainable, profitable companies."

Source: Gloria Bell, Philly Starup Leaders
Writer: Dana Henry

Temple-hosted 'incubator' aims to solve Philadelphia region's STEM gap

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, local businesses, community colleges, education professionals and tech advisors met at Temple University for the first Delaware Valley STEM Workforce Development Conference. The ongoing incubator, which addresses issues related to the gap in STEM education and the growing number of tech-sector jobs, launched an “enabling committee” to foster partnerships between businesses and schools in Greater Philadelphia. 

According to Ed Zenzola, conference speaker and principal of Zenzola Group, our education system increasingly requires the expertise and advice of small to large business owners to stay relevant in the digital economy. Nationally, over three million STEM-related jobs are unfilled because employers can’t find qualified workers.

“You could hire an engineer, but you still have to train them,” Zenzola says. “There’s not enough happening in K-12 to build the imagination for students to want to go into STEM fields. Even when we do have students going through STEM curriculum, the curriculum isn’t designed to produce the work ready skills that the employers need.”

The conference, sponsored by Temple’s College of Engineering and the Global Program Partners, included presentations by Tracy Welson-Rossman, Founder of TechGirlz; Craig White,President & CEO of Philadelphia Gas Works, and Albert Frattarola, Director Global Technology, Southco. Many noted the STEM gap is not simply a higher ed issue.
 
“[STEM qualifications] are particularly critical at the technician level,” Zenzola says. “We just don’t have enough people coming out of high school, community colleges and vocational schools with work ready ]technical skills. People might think [Philadelphia] has a lot of welders—we don’t. Welding is becoming increasingly specialized.”

Zenzola, like many presenters, advocates project-based STEM learning for K12 and looks to the business community for leadership. Dr. Jamie Bracey, an educational psychology professor at Temple and director of Philadelphia's Math Engineering Science Achievement Initiative, has seen the dramatic effect of workshop learning on students and says guidance from the private sector also helps teachers do a better job.
 
“Educators need direction as to what business project they’re going to need in five years and 10 years so we can align the programs," Bracey says.“I love seeing the corporations that are the end users inside education and the people who are starting businesses having a much stronger voice in the classroom.” 

Source: Ed Zenzola, Jamie Bracey, Delaware Valley STEM Workforce Development Conference
Writer: Dana Henry

Lots to celebrate, including three winning projects, from State Of Young Philly 2012

By all accounts, the fully revamped State of Young Philly 2012 was a breakout success. From the 12 events that sold out at more than 75 attendees apiece, to the closeout dance party where local leaders and dedicated volunteers partook in the Electric Slide, Young Involved Philadelphia (YIP) proved it could pull off a civic-advocacy conference that was bigger, livelier and more ambitious than any seen in Philly to date. 

“It’s that whimsical optimism you have when you’re young,” Sophia Hwang, Outreach Coordinator of YIP, says. “But [YIP] is also rooted in doing good work.”

Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims came by Hamilton Hall at University of the Arts for Saturday’s closing ceremony to commend YIP. He encouraged everyone in the audience, which he recognized as Philadelphia’s rising leadership, to run for political office. 

SYOP’s greatest achievement, however, may have been the launch of three projects, winners of the culminating YIP Challenge: It’s My Life in the education track, OKWork!Philly in the economy track and Bike Generator Demonstrator in the sustainability track. All three received $1,000 seed money and YIP will continue to provide them with networking and public relations assistance.

Lawanda Horton Sauter, CEO of Mission Incorporated, will pilot It’s My Life at four area high schools and help students use live theater to safely practice situation related to their sexual health. Sauter was inspired by her young, HIV-positive client and has been researching staggering realities of rising STD rates among youth.

“[The YIP Challenge] really encourages the next generation of social entrepreneurs to do things that impact the community instead of just worrying about the bottom line for their companies,” Sauter says. “[YIP] made this possible by opening it up to so many people regardless of what their ‘connections’ were.”

OKWork!Philly was created by four UPenn recent graduates—David Wengert, Anne Misak, Maurie Smith and Elizabeth Frantz—three of which are currently seeking employment. Their concept harnesses the networking power of LinkedIn to create a more effective web platform for local hiring.

“It benefits Philly to have jobs filled faster,” Misak says. “We want one central place where you can see a job posting, apply directly through the website and then see who in your network is connected to the employer and ask them to write a personalized recommendation. [OKWork!Philly] will save time and money on both the employer side and job seekers side.”

Aaron Roche, a structural engineer who graduated from Drexel, met recent transplant, Becky Schwartz, during SYOP’s Sustainability 101 event. Together they teamed up with Matt Weaver to develop Bike Generator Demonstrator, a design project that powers light bulbs and small electronic appliances using human-power generated from a bicycle.

“One of our goals is to generate interest in energy efficiency,” Roche says. “How can these common appliances be powered in such a simple way?”

According to Hwang, it takes just one voice to start an avalanche of change:  “A single individual came to State of Young Philly last year and said, ‘it was good but not good enough.’ We met with him, had coffee, and this [year’s programming] was what we did. We’re young, we’re nimble, we’re flexible, so if you have an idea, let’s run with it.” Hwang says.

As noted by YIP’s board chair, Claire Robertson-Kraft, Philadelphia now retains twice the local university graduates it did a decade ago and offers an increasing number of “friends of” groups connected to YIP. SYOP 2012 may be a sample of what YIP will show us for years to come.

Source: Sophia Hwang, Rudy Flesher, Claire Robertson-Kraft, Young Involved Philadelphia
Writer: Dana Henry

A different State of Young Philly aims to create tangible outcomes

Young Involved Philadelphia (YIP) kicked off its third annual State of Young Philly on Thursday with a standing-room only crowd at the Kimmel Center’s Innovation Studio and full-fledged ambition.

“State of Young Philly, for all intents and purposes, is totally redone from the previous two installments,” says Jason Wolfson, YIP's Programing Committee Chair. “The first two have been very positive in terms of getting people excited, getting people to want to do more, getting people more involved in their community. What we really want to do now is make that tangible.”
 
Drawing support from over 50 participating change-making organizations, this year’s catalogue offers 12 total events from “key issue” areas: Economy, Education and Sustainability.  

Instead of simply listening and networking, participants are guided by action-oriented questions. Sophie Hwang, YIP's Outreach Coordinator, offers an example from the Education Track: “Not everyone has a computer but most everyone has a mobile device. So how can we use mobile technology to better inform parents?”
 
Last year’s State Of Young Philly gave birth to the educational nonprofit, Philly Core Leaders. This year’s installment encourages similar results, offering $1,000 in seed money to winners of the YIP Challenge.

“People can get inspired by attending the first couple of events, meet new people, build teams and submit a proposal,” Hwang explains.
 
It’s passion and drive balanced with fun. One night, City Councilman Bill Green’s office hosts a pitch competition for educational entrepreneurs. The next, DIY experts give how-tos on composting, making all natural cosmetics, and altering refrigerator coils to save energy.
 
“We’re going to have events for everybody, regardless of how knowledgeable you are in a particular field.”  Wolfson maintains.
 
When else can you visit the home of an internationally-renound orchestra and leave with your very own homemade deodorant?

Source: Jason Wolfson, Sophie Hwang, Young Involved Philadelphia
Writer: Dana Henry

Ben Franklin Technology Partners' mapping initiative gives state energy economy visibility

For years we’ve been hearing of the “new energy economy,” a vision of a diversified and cooperative energy industry amalgamation promising cleaner air, lower energy bills, and more green jobs. The recent release of Energy Economy Map by Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ statewide network is evidence that it's actually happening.

Using open-source, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the map exhibits over 2,000 Pennsylvania energy companies, research programs, and related resources, largely concentrated in Greater Philadelphia.

“The intent of the map is to drive economic development, collaborative opportunities and partnership across the state," says Jim Gambino, Vice President of Technology Commercialization at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania. “It gives companies and universities an opportunity to present their projects.”

According to Gambino, sustainable building design and materials, clean energy storage, and smart grid technology are areas of continued market growth. Some of the map’s projects have intriguing titles, including Drexel University’s Human-electric Hybrid for Urban Commuting and Temple’s Multiple Stream Waste-Derived Energy Production.

The Energy Economy Map was piloted at the Navy Yard by BFTP-Southeastern Pennsylvania and funded by the state's  Department of Community and Economic Development and tghe Governor’s office.

It’s not the typical stagnant, end-of-the-year-let’s-evaluate-how-we’re-doing report. The map, created in partnership with Philadelphia-based Azavea, evolves as users update entries on their energy work. 

“It’s really up to the registrant to enter the kind of information they see as important,” Gambino says. “We’re really looking for the users to provide the additions to improve the map.”

Eventually, BFTP-SEP expects the dynamic resource will attract more capital to the region.

“Early on we had determined in our analysis that we had significant energy assets here in southeastern Pennsylvania,” Gambino says. “[Outside companies and investors] will get a sense of the relative strength and vibrancy of both traditional and alternative energy communities in Pennsylvania.”

Source: Jim Gambino, David Cohen, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Writer: Dana Henry

Philadelphia region ranks first nationally in arts and culture job creation

Arts and culture has a $3.3 billion impact and accounts for 11 jobs per thousand residents in Greater Philadelphia, ranking the region first in job creation among 182 cities across the country, says a new report from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
 
Arts, Culture + Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia, released on Monday, follows up on previous reports issued by the Cultural Alliance that measure the vast impact of the region's arts and culture sector. This report's finding are among the most impressive, with the sector contributing 44,000 jobs and $1 billion in income to the region. That includes $169 million in tax revenues for state and local governments.

The City of Philadelphia ranked behind only Washington, D.C. and San Francisco inper-capita cultural expenditures in a ranking of major cities, ahead of Chicago, Seattle and Atlanta.
 
Other highlights include:
 
-- The sector's $3.3 billion economic impact includes $1.4 billion of direct spending by organizations and audiences and $1.9 billion in indirect expenditures.
 
-- People working in the arts and culture sector and living in the City of Philadelphia earn a combined $500 million.
 
-- Cultural tourism accounts for $230 million in direct spending, 39 percent of cultural attendees and 44 percent of total audience spending (cultural visitors spend $45 per excursion versus $24 by locals).
 
-- Cultural audiences spend $237.8 million on meals before and after events and $84.3 million on overnight lodging.
 
The report was made possible by the William Penn Foundation, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, Bank of America and the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. It included data gathered from 345 local arts and cultural organizations through the Pennsylvania Cultural Data Project.

Source: Karim Olaechea, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
Writer: Joe Petrucci

Coming round the mountain: Philly Startup Weekend 4.0

Here comes the one of the Philly tech community's favorite events: Startup Weekend Philadelphia. Version 4.0 is back at the Univeristy of the Arts, and is being organized by tech twins Melissa Morris-Ivone and Chris Baglieri, who take the reins from Brad Oyler. "UArts has always been incredibly supportive of Startup Weekend," says Baglieri. "The space encourages collaboration, offers teams plenty of space to work, and is in the center of town, with ample nearby parking, so convenient to all."
 
Morris-Ivone looks forward to standouts from April's event, which hatched Yagglo, Tubelr and SeedInvest. Those companies, among others, are still moving forward. And taking a cue from the concept of leaving a good thing alone to flourish. Morris-Ivone reports there will not be any dramatic changes. "It's a recipe that works," she says.

Adds Baglieri, "Every Startup Weekend is different in terms of the backgrounds it attracts, that's part of what makes every event unique. 4.0 has reached capacity on non-technical tickets. We're strong on the designer front too. While there's a good showing of developers, that's the area that probably needs the greatest promotion. I met Melissa at Startup Weekend 2.0 and that pairing has made a world of difference for me. As a developer, there's nothing quite like finding a partner in crime designer that you can work with. If there was ever a Startup Weekend in this city where a developer can find their designer match, 4.0 seems to be the best so far."
 
As far as judges, Baglieri and Morris-Ivone say Chris Fralic  of First Round Capital returns. "We set out to further diversify the judges panel a bit this time around, involving individuals outside the investor community." New faces on the panel are largely conversions from previous Startup Weekend coaches and include Bob Moul and Ted Mann, as well as Morris-Ivone's colleague Apu Gupta, CEO/Co-founder of Curalate.
 
You can register for Startup Weekend through Eventbrite.

Source: Chris Baglieri, Melissa Morris-Ivone, Startup Weekend Philly
Writer: Sue Spolan

Pizza Brain's viral dream opens in glorious reality in East Kensington

Walking into Pizza Brain is like walking into a dream. In 19 months from conception to grand opening, the combination museum and slice shop went from an idea in Brian Dwyer's head to multifaceted reality. "We want people to come in and have an otherworldly experience," says Dwyer, who hopes patrons feel grateful and confused, or perhaps the other way around. "You can't walk in and say these guys just phoned it in."
 
The public grand opening is tonight (Friday, Sept. 7) and at least a thousand people are expected, but earlier this week, we were treated to an intimate press preview. Located in the East Kensington section of Philadelphia on Frankford Avenue, Dwyer insists he doesn't care about the hype. But the New York Times has already been down three times, and there's a dedicated Wikipedia page. Dwyer's pizza collection is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records. "The second we got attention, we knew we had to deliver," says Dwyer.

Both Dwyer and co-founder Mike Carter say that while the neighborhood has a lot on offer, good pizza has been sorely lacking until now. Joe Hunter and Ryan Anderson are also partners. Pizza Brain's toppings range from standard to unusual, and it is a sweet potato, apple and goat cheese variety that is both one of the most unusual combinations and the tastiest. 
 
Dwyer, by nature an artist, says his collection of pizza memorabilia includes album covers, cartoons, comics, memorabilia and images. "When you look at the photos on the wall, you see America."

The custom built bar is fabricated from old pianos found on Craigslist. In the courtyard of what Dwyer describes as a weird hippie pizza commune, encompassing the pizza shop, Little Baby's Ice Cream and a number of residences, a large mural by Hawk Krall depicts famous Philadelphians like Ben Franklin and Tina Fey enjoying a slice.
 
Dwyer is a yarn spinner, a larger than life persona bursting with energy. The son of a schoolbus driver and a foreman at an air conditioning plant, he moved to Philadelphia from Syracuse to attend Temple University's film program. 
 
"There's tremendous freedom in putting your roots down," says Dwyer, who attributes the rapid success of the business in part to Circle of Hope, a community based non-denominational church. Additionally, people have simply shown up to pitch in, out of the blue, driving from as far away as New Orleans.

"A dream is typically up here and it's safe," says Dwyer, pointing to a head of fiery red hair. This dream has gone viral. And it's coming to a mind near you.

Source: Brian Dwyer, Pizza Brain
Writer: Sue Spolan (with help from David Greenberg)

Philly Geek Awards 2012: Girls, tears and robot-on-robot action

Philadelphia loves its geeky girls, as evidenced by the preponderance of female award winners at the 2012 Philadelphia Geek Awards. Geek of the Year went to Tristin Hightower, cofounder of Girl Geek Dinners, and Event of the Year went to Women in Tech Summit.

"Girls, if you are a little bit tech or geek curious, Philly is a good place to be," remarked Hightower. When CloudMine's Brendan McCorkle posted her quote on twitter, Nick Robalik quipped, "Maybe even binary-curious."
 
Geekadelphia's Eric Smith, co-organizer of the sold-out, black tie event with Tim Quirino, reports that an overflow audience of 500 attended at the Academy of Natural Sciences. "The museum was sold out last year, and was sold out again this year in record time," says Quirino. "It's incredible to see a packed house dressed to the nines just to support the local Geek community."

A sci-fi inspired, LED-enhanced podium glowed in an ever changing rainbow of color and video. The awards themselves, created by NextFab Studio, also glowed. The podium and visuals were created by Klip Collective. Quirino says of the awards, "NextFab took my robot illustration to a whole new level. Robotic lasers cut the form of the robot out of clear, thick, acrylic and etched the details in.  Imagine that. A robot creating a robot!  Then they built the base out of wood, which housed a simple electronic circuit that contained three LED lights that lit up the acrylic robot making it look like a hologram from afar."

"The passionate speeches by some of the winners were really quite moving. Scientist of the Year, Youngmoo Kim from Drexel University, and Geek of the Year, Tristin Hightower, gave particularly lovely speeches," says Smith. Adds Quirino, "Eric doesn't want to admit that he teared up a little bit. It's ok, Eric. I did too."
 
Kim says, "I was honored to be nominated alongside my Drexel colleague Andy Hicks, who does amazing things with light and mirrors using mathematics. And Paul Ehrlich is a giant in the field of population biology. Hopefully this award highlights the incredible work being done by scientists and researchers throughout the region.
 
"I met a bunch of people doing very cool things spanning all kinds of 'geek-doms.' I mentioned this during my acceptance speech, but I absolutely believe that within the auditorium, there's the collective intelligence, passion, and experience, in short the 'geekiness,' to address some really tough problems (education, unemployment, digital literacy) and transform Philadelphia. And I look forward to working together with everyone to make that happen. And whoever put together the podium (very cool trapezoidal obelisk with video projections on the surfaces) should receive a special award. That was awesome!"
 
Accepting the award for Startup of the Year, Curalate's Apu Gupta said, "We have to thank all the 13-year-old girls out there. Because they use Pinterest. Also, Brendan likes them." 
 
Other winners included Zoe Strauss, for her Foursquare campaign associated with the citywide photography exhibit earlier this year; BlueCadet Interactive won for Web Development Team of the Year; the Viral Project of the Year went to the Opera Company of Philadelphia's Random Acts of Culture, and Hacker of the Year was Georgia Guthrie. A complete list of winners can be found here, and you can see pics of attendees taken by Photobot 3000 here.

How drunk did Smith get at the afterparty that went for hours at National Mechanics? "No comment. Though if anyone found a size 10 shoe (right) at National Mechanics, please email me at geekadelphia@gmail.com." We heard you had a big shoe, Eric.

Source: Eric Smith, Tim Quirino, Youngmoo Kim, Apu Gupta, Tristin Hightower, Phillly Geek Awards
Writer: Sue Spolan

Azavea and Temple prof team up to pack digital heat against crime

It's a new chapter in intelligence-led policing. Azavea, in partnership with Temple University's Center for Security and Crime Science, has released ACS Alchemist, a free open source software tool that harnesses census data for the purpose of reducing crime. Funded by the National Institute of Justice and helmed by Jerry Ratcliffe and Ralph Taylor, ACS Alchemist will be used by crime fighters and researchers nationally. 
 
ACS Alchemist has the power to be of immense value to police commanders in precincts and districts, city planners, as well as locally  to Commissioner Ramsey and team, says Ratcliffe. "Crime is not the best predictor of crime. Where crime was last year will not be where crime is this year." Rather, one must look at where crime was last year with the additional information of demographic changes.
 
"Normally, there's a census every ten years. In the intervening years, we have no idea what changes are taking place in the population," says Ratcliffe, a former East London police officer turned internationally known researcher. New immigrant groups or a surge in a particular age range can play a major role in crime analysis. Ratcliffe says that there are changes at the Census Bureau which will lead to a rolling collection process and yearly updates, which is a huge leap forward in terms of understanding demographic changes, poverty, unemployment and travel patterns. While the evolution of data collection is a great leap forward, tens of thousands of data points are stored online in a confusing and complex manner. Some researchers just give up, says Ratcliffe, who never meant to become an academic, but a mountaineering accident in his 20s retired him from active duty on the force.
 
"I've been working closely with the Philadelphia Police Department for nearly 10 years," says Ratcliffe, who has some programming background. He became interested in how changing demographics affect the likelihood of crime, but says the project required programming skills beyond his abilities. Enter Robert Cheetham of Azavea, who himself used to work for the Philadelphia Police as a crime analyst. "Azavea makes the indecipherable actually fathomable," says Ratcliffe.
 
Cheetham, for his part, says he has been working with the police in one capacity or another for a decade, and gives props to the current leadership. "Ramsey is very much interested in data driven policing. It's the center of what he did in DC, and he brought that set of ideas with him."
 
Previously, Ratcliffe worked with the Philly PD to create The Philadelphia Foot Patrol Experiment, during which violent crime was reduced by 23% by when teams of officers walked the beat past the city's most crime ridden corners. Incidentally, Ratcliffe says the number one reason for crime is not poverty, lack of education, drugs or poor upbringing. Rather, it's opportunity. 

Source: Jerry Ratcliffe, Temple University, Robert Cheetham, Azavea
Writer: Sue Spolan

1K in 1 day, Wordpress for women event, gets local thanks to AWeber

A thousand women around the world will be getting help building their own Wordpress websites as part of the new One K in 1 Day initiative, a completely free event which takes place Sept. 9 and is organized by UK-based Startup Training School. Here in Philadelphia, AWeber will host a local, extended version of the program, with help from website designer Lisa Snyder of Silver Hoop Edge
 
"Startup Training School is a customer of ours," says Liz Cies, Public Relations Specialist for AWeber and event organizer. "We do email marketing software for small business." In addition to hosting the Philly meetup, AWeber is giving 250 free accounts to the first 500 people who register.
 
Women interested in participating need to register in up to two places: once for the international live webcast, which happens from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and once for the in-person event, which runs from 10:30 to 2:00 at AWeber's Huntingdon Valley offices.
 
The point, says Cies, is to assist women in establishing an online presence for business or personal use. "The big focus is to help women learn to market themselves online," says Cies.There will be Wordpress experts on hand, and registrants will receive a checklist of to do items prior to the event, such as purchasing a domain and finding a web host.
 
Other local One K in 1 Day meetups are scheduled to take place in Eilat, Israel and Austin, Texas. Organizers say building one's own website does not need to take lots of time or money, and women with children can participate completely online, in the comfort of their own homes.
 
Startup Training School, founded by Lea and Jonathan Woodward, hosts monthly online sessions to teach all facets of web based marketing and content creation. By the way, AWeber promises that there will be confections on hand.

Source: Liz Cies, AWeber
Writer: Sue Spolan

In a better place: Project Liberty's newest participants get to work

Project Liberty has moved into a much better place, both literally and figuratively. The new media incubator announced its next trio of participants this week. Rumble, StartUP Production and Transout are all startups that have a good reason to be smack in the center of operations at Philly.com, helmed by Interstate General Media.

IGM, formerly known as Philadelphia Media Network, has moved from the iconic white tower at 401 North Broad to the old Strawbridge and Clothier building on Market Street between 8th and 9th. Project Liberty is a collaborative effort by Interstate General Media, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which provided $250,000 in overall funding, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Dreamit Ventures (which just announced expansion to Austin) and Drexel University.

Joining Project Liberty is Cory Donovan, who relocated to Philadelphia from Virginia this past winter when his wife moved north. He takes on a newly created 20 hour per week post as Project Manager.

Mark Block, VP of External Relations for IGM, says, "We as a partner and The Knight Foundation agree there was room for improvement." SnipSnap, Cloudmine and ElectNext, which made up the first round of entrepreneurs at the incubator, experienced a number of challenges that have informed changes in the program's location, format and management.

"We addressed issues on a number of fronts," says Block. "The incubator sits in the exact center of the floor, with access to all divisions of the company. It's a fully open space, and an open environment." Block adds that participating Drexel Co-op students are seated between the IT Department and Project Liberty, becoming a liaison. Donovan's day to day presence is in contrast to the initial cycle, where guidance was only intermittently available.

Donovan and Block go way back, having attended Johns Hopkins for business school together a decade ago. "It's important that an institution that includes The Inquirer and philly.com provides resources for up and coming companies," says Donovan. "At the end of the day, our goal is that companies stay here in Philadelphia."

Of Donovan's previous work experience as the Executive Director of the Roanoke - Blacksburg Technology Council, Block says, "Cory's expertise comes into play. He knows the kinds of contacts and resources these companies are going to have to reach out to."

Rumble, whose founder Al Azoulay is from the Middle East, combines social sharing with mobile media.  StartUP Production's Zaahah is a social search engine, developed by James Sisneros, and Transout’s tapCLIQ breaks ground in the fast growing area of mobile advertising.

Source: Mark Block, Cory Donovan, Project Liberty
Writer: Sue Spolan

Free and Open Source Software Convention coming to Philly next month

The creators and supporters of free and open source software have always bucked the current of commercialization. It's events like FOSSCON, the Free and Open Source Software Convention, that allow developers to gather and gain strength in numbers. FOSSCON 2012 takes place Saturday, Aug. 11, at Venturef0rth at 8th and Callowhill. 
Organizers are looking for free software enthusiasts, user group members, coders and users to join them at the grassroots event, aimed at creating a common meeting place for people all over the Northeast US.
 
"We've been doing FOSSCON for 3 years now," says Jonathan Simpson, event coordinator. "The first year was actually in upstate New York, but we moved to Philly.  I live outside Philly myself so it's personally a lot easier running an event an hour away instead of several." Plus, he adds, Philly is a pretty FOSS-friendly city.
 
The event features six general-interest talks, and workshops on topics including development, community building, hackerspace activities, and more. Ubuntu PA and Hive76 will be on hand for demonstrations and workshops. 
The community will have a chance to explore topics from 3D printing to privacy. Keynote is Bradley M. Kuhn, Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy.
 
"There are other FOSS events around the world and in the US," says Simpson, who mentions CPOSC in Harrisburg, and SELF, which serves the Southeasterm US. "This is the only one that goes by the FOSSCON name, but there is a longer term plan to spawn others."
 
FOSS tends to put control in the hands of users, says Simpson, and that represents a threat to the control of media companies, as well as to most of corporate America. "FOSS, as well as the culture it encourages, endangers that control." Simpson also cites Linode, which has been a conference sponsor for years, as a great example of a successful services based FOSS company.
 
"The temptation to close the source of software is real, especially in the startup world where competition is really aggressive. FOSS are beneficial in the long run, but those benefits are often ignored to protect short term gains. Reminding computer scientists and entrepreneurs of the benefits of FOSS, and that their latest project is 90% dependent of those FOSS softwares, is important work," says Simpson.
 
Basic admission to FOSSCON is free, but organizers encourage attendees to level up to paid admission of $25 to help keep the event open to as many people as possible.

Source: Jonathan Simpson, FOSSCON
Writer: Sue Spolan

Secret to Monetate's success? Don't talk about Monetate

Fast growing Monetate's Blair Lyon, VP of Marketing, has been getting an increasing number of inquiries on the company's customer acquisition strategy, which does not rely on traditional methods. There's a secret to Monetate's marketing success, and it's all about content.
 
Monetate's content marketing platform represents industry best practices, resulting in a dramatic increase in lead conversions. "Since launching the content program a little less than a year ago, there's been a thousand percent higher lead flow than we had previously," reports Lyon. "In terms of the buzz metrics, which includes brand awareness through things like retweeting and sharing, it's well over 600% higher than before we started the program."
 
Monetate gives away content in exchange for loyalty among B2B customers. "One of the things that drew me to working here was the chance to explore this non-interruptive form of advertising," explains Lyon. "We develop content that answers questions and has a high educational value." Not only does Monetate operate two blogs, but under the Resources tab of its website, it offers video, case studies, white papers and eBooks, all of which fall within the purview of  the marketing team.
 
When Lyon arrived at Monetate after founding his own interactive ad agency TMX, much of the company's blog content referred directly back to Monetate. But no more. "Eighty plus percent doesn't talk about Monetate at all." The conversation is shifted away from Monetate and toward the customer.
 
Lyon sees content as a way to enter the customer's circle of trust. If a CMO, CIO or IT Director finds great information on the Monetate blog, the company will be top of mind when it's time to make purchasing decisions. 
 
"We identify different types of buyers. In our case, there are 8 distinct persona types we want to influence. The next overlay is the sales process," says Lyon, who creates a taxonomy of sales targets. Awareness, research, evaluation and final contracts each have their own sublevels, leading to a total of 8 categories. "We do a lot of A/B testing," says Lyon, whose team will pull articles or change headlines depending on the metrics.
 
There are a total of 11 full time people on Monetate's marketing team, three of whom are tasked specifically with content marketing. "We have a director of content marketing, a managing editor, and a senior editor." Compared to the cost of running ads in the Wall Street Journal, what amounts to easily several hundred thousand dollars in annual salaries pales by comparison, given the results.
 
Lyon points to the way information is packaged, and puts a lot of stock in infographics, which are shared and reposted for months after they're released. 
 
He adds that the various ways to package information work well in combination. "I don't think any single program works in a vacuum." An infographic may go out with a press release, video, webinar, or white paper. "We present a well rounded story with a lot of content elements. We're always thinking about packaging and repurposing as many ways as possible."
 
The Conshohocken-based firm, which provides cloud-based technology for ecommerce marketers, experienced nearly 300% revenue growth in 2011 and continues to expand rapidly. Monetate CEO and founder, David Brussin, was just named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 for the Greater Philadelphia region.

Source: Blair Lyon, Monetate
Writer: Sue Spolan

Next month's Geek Awards will be ladies night

After the Philadelphia Geek Awards organizers finalized the nominees for next month's big bash at the Academy of Natural Sciences, something else had changed besides the categories for the second installment of what organizers have lovingly described as the Daytime Emmys version of the Webbys.
 
"It wasn't until after we finished going through nominations that we realized there were more women this year," says Tim Quirino, cofounder of Geekadelphia, the all-things-geeky blog and community that continues to grow. 
 
Make no mistake, this year's Geek Awards -- already sold out for Aug. 17 (but overflow tickets have just been released) - are indicative of Philadelphia's feminine firepower. No fewer than nine lady nominees dominate the event's 14 categories, which moved away from the "new" theme to include more static categories (like Indie Game Developer of the Year) that will have more staying power. 
 
Most notably, three women are up for Geek of the Year, including Tristin Hightower (Girl Geek Dinners), Gerri Trooskin (Franklin Institute) and Roz Duffy (TEDxPhilly).
 
Last year, only five women were represented individually among all the nominees. While the influx of women in the program might not have been entirely deliberate, it is clearly a product of Geekadelphia opening up the nomination process, receiving upward of 100 pages of nominations from across the region.
 
"Thanks to cool events like the Women in Tech conference and cool organizations like TechGirlz and Girl Develop It, I'm constantly hearing about the interesting things (local women in tech) are up to," says Geekadelphia cofounder Eric Smith. "The increase in nominations reflect them being passionate about making themselves heard."
 
Says Quirino: "There are more women doing things in the Philadelphia tech scene than before."

And next month, one of them will be called Geek of the Year.

Source: Eric Smith, Tim Quirino, Geekadelphia
Writer: Joe Petrucci

DreamIt's new managing director eyes 'high-impact' expansion

Bringing Karen Griffith Gryga on board as Managing Director at Dreamit Ventures last month has a whole lot of strategic advantage. The co-founder of FashInvest and Executive Director at MidAtlantic Investors Group, Gryga provides the five-year plan for Dreamit's growth. DreamIt has cachet in the startup world.

Continuing to grow an international presence, Gryga joins Managing Partner Kerry Rupp overseeing day to day operations. Rather than see the accelerator as discrete cycles, Gryga's vision extends to overall growth down the line. "Kerry and I are joined at the hip these days," says Gryga, who holds a dual Wharton MBA and  Masters in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania.
 
Gryga is a multitasker. Her background in computer systems dovetails with her interest in fashion and design, and her venture capital chops will facilitate oversight of DreamIt operations in both geographic and fiscal progress. "The idea is an expansion of resources," she says of her dual experience in raising and managing funds. "I started in the industry in the early 90s. The Dreamit model is so compelling. You have very successful entrepreneurs in both the founders and the companies. It's almost harking back to the original days of VC."
 
Gryga cautions that Dreamit's accelerator model is not infinitely scalable. "The power in the model is the intensive hands on process between mentors and entrepreneurs. The focus is on expanding in a way that's high impact, not that's everywhere." 
 
Now in its New York/Israel cycle for summer 2012, Gryga is putting her many talents to use as a mentor for Israeli Dreamit startup Bazaart. "They really had a good tech foundation in terms of proprietary technology. It's very early in the development of their product. We put in a lot of brainstorming into focus, direction and approach. Within a matter of weeks to arriving in the US, they met with the CEO of Free People and the Hearst Media CEO. They're having conversations you would never expect anyone in a pre-beta state to have."
 
Gryga reports that the Dreamit managing team is now sifting through around 400 applications received by the July 6 deadline for Philly's fall 2012 program. Participating companies will be announced in late July or early August and once again will be in residence at the University City Science Center.

Source: Karen Griffith Gryga, DreamIt Ventures
Writer: Sue Spolan

Are Energy Commercialization Institute's investments approaching critical mass?

Sometimes it's the small things that make a big difference in energy efficiency. The Energy Commercialization Institute awards grants to cleantech startups with a proven track record.  Bird droppings on solar panels are a literal barrier to efficiency. Not something you think about, but it makes sense. Shu Yang, PhD., a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and one of five recent ECI grant recipients, earned  to develop a nonstick coating for photovoltaic cells.

ECI also funded Drexel profs Emin Caglan Kumbur, Ph.D and Yury Gogotsi, Ph.D for energy storage technology; Alexander Fridman, Ph.D, leading a Drexel University/Temple University team to create clean energy from biomass, coal and organic wastes; a new electrospinning/electrospraying process for energy fuel cells from Drexel's Yossef Elabd, Ph.D; and a Drexel/Penn initiative to create thin-film solar cells from Andrew Rappe, PhD. Total for the recent round was $500,000.
 
The ECI is funded by the State of Pennsylvania and created by a consortium that includes Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Drexel, Penn and Penn State. 
 
It's a new focus on commercialization, says Tony Green, PhD., Director of the ECI as well as its forbear, the Nanotechnology Institute. "The NTI model led to the ECI model which led to EEB Hub," explains Green. "The difference is that NTI is based on a platform, while the ECI is an application." Rather than focus on nanotech, the ECI mission is not about any specific technology. "The buzz phrase is alternative and clean energy."
 
For the first time, says Green, the ECI is now getting metrics on commercialization, licenses and jobs created through ECI grants. While the state-funded NTI has a 10-year track record, Green and company are about to release a semiannual report that credits ECI with the creation of over 50 jobs in the last two years.
 
"We have already accrued almost 150 intellectual property assets, applications and issued patents," says Green. "We've executed 18 licenses and options. With only 700K project funding, we've created three startups in the last year, and that number is going to grow. Universities are doing a lot better at commercializing technology. ECI projects are not technologies that are basic research. The intellectual property already exists."
 
Green looks to MIT and UCSD as big names in higher ed tech commercialization. "We can do the same thing, but not through a single institution. It's a consortium." The cumulative capabilities are much greater, says Green. The ECI also works with small institutions like Fox Chase Cancer Research Center and Philadelphia University, where there might be one researcher doing groundbreaking work. "We want all boats to rise," adds Green.

Source: Anthony Green, ECI
Writer: Sue Spolan

Social entrepreneurship agency Here's My Chance doubling staff, expanding to Chinatown

How about another new approach to fundraising? One that's exciting and fresh, with cool graphics and appealing content? That's the secret to the success of Here's My Chance, co-founded by David Gloss and Kevin Colahan. It's social entrepreneurship done right, without the guilt.

"Its a strange psychological trick," says Gloss, the CEO. "People pour their hearts and souls into the work they are doing and then feel awkward or unworthy when going out to seek financial support."
 
With a quickly growing team, now headquartered in Old City and expanding to offices in Chinatown, Here's My Chance removes all the negativity and creates a shining path to doing good. "We design custom campaigns for corporate brands and nonprofits that rally people around their cause." says Gloss, who brings a dual purpose background to the endeavor.
 
Prior to HMC, Gloss worked in venture capital and received his MBA from Temple University, but was raised by old school social entrepreneurs. Carelift International, the Philadelphia based medical relief charity, was founded by his parents in the 1970s. 
 
While at a meditation retreat, Gloss says he was struck by the idea that he could do next generation fundraising, rallying massive digital communities using game mechanics, driving people to do good things. That was back in May 2011. Today, HMC has employees in DC, Boston and New York, with the core creative team here in Philly. 
 
HMC is hiring, expecting to expand staff from 8 to 15 in the next year. "We're going on a hunt for graphic designers, developers, creative directors, and project managers," says Gloss. "We are building an agency with a unique philosophy." 

Source: David Gloss, Here's My Chance
Writer: Sue Spolan

Roots of innovation planted with 15 new Philly Fellows

Literacy, health, poverty, and the greening of the city. It's all in a year's work for the newest recruits to Philly Fellows. Now heading into its seventh session, Philly Fellows was founded by two Haverford College grads with a dual mission: to support recent college graduates as well as urban change.
 
Philly Fellows just announced its newest class of 15, to begin a one year program of service to the city July 30 in cultural, educational and social-service organizations including Philadelphia Youth Network, Project HOME, Calcutta House, Fleisher Art Memorial, and The Pennsylvania Health Law Project. Co-founder Tim Ifill reports that Philly Fellows received a total of 123 applications for the 2012 class.
 
Each Fellow receives $12,191 for the year, health insurance,student loan forbearance, a transportation allowance and a $5,350 education award, all through the AmeriCorps*VISTA program. 
 
They're either graduates of local colleges, primarily Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, Haverford and the University of Pennsylvania, or they grew up in the Delaware Valley and attended schools outside the local area.
 
It's a real world Real World. A gentle extension of college life, each participant commits to 40 hour work weeks at a non-profit, sharing co-ed quarters with 4 to 6 others in one of three group houses located in West Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, or Northern Liberties.

"About two-thirds of our graduates end up staying in Philly, and a handful are hired by their host agencies," reports Ifill, who counts a total of 102 alums, with 16 more graduating from the 2011 program at the end of this month. Erika Slaymaker, who worked at Project HOME this year, says. "I am staying on next year to continue to implement the projects that I started as a Philly Fellow.  Julia Cooper, who is a part of the incoming group of Philly Fellows, will be joining me to create an Environmental Sustainability Team at Project HOME."
 
The deadline for applications to next year's class is January 2013, and host agency deadline is November 2012.

Source: Tim Ifill, Erika Slaymaker, Philly Fellows
Writer: Sue Spolan

TechCrunch blows through Philly for one-day stand; Monetate still hiring

TechCrunch held its first Philly Mini-Meetup on June 19 at The Field House, across from Reading Terminal Market. Billed as an "evening of networking, fun, and bacchanalian pleasure," the usual Philly tech folks came out to drink enough beer to live up to the party hearty reputation of the city. 
 
About a dozen local companies set up tables, including Interact's Anthony Coombs, who was responsible for getting the national tech media blog to the city; Audrea Parrack handed out black Monetate T-shirts. She reports that the Conshohocken company is still hiring at breakneck speed, and is looking to fill 52 more positions by year's end. The company now employs 103.
 
"We wanted to meet people in Philadelphia under an umbrella of neutrality," explained John Biggs, East Coast Editor of the AOL-owned tech news site that has about 1.6 million RSS subscribers worldwide. Philadelphia, unlike New York and Silicon Valley, does not need a DMZ for tech gatherings, as the community lacks a cutthroat nature, but tourists from TechCrunch can be forgiven.
 
There was no set program, as Biggs was more interested in gathering local intel. When asked if he had met any standouts, he mentioned a startup that's working on RFID technology for supermarket checkout. "It's like EZ Pass for grocery stores." He could not, however, recall the name of the company. Camera in hand, Biggs can also be forgiven for snapping shots of the most attractive females in the crowd.
 
The event drew about 350 people, and did not offer much to the local community other than a chance to strut its stuff in front of the highly regarded news site. And some snacks. And one free beer per person. Philadelphia is the third stop in the TechCrunch national tour; New York and Washington DC were stops one and two. The event moves on to more states across the US including Georgia, Missouri and North Carolina.

Source: John Biggs, TechCrunch, Anthony Coombs, Interact, Audrea Parrack, Monetate
Writer: Sue Spolan

Chasing elusive healthcare innovation: IBX Game Changers Challenge applications due soon

The Independence Blue Cross Game Changers Challenge is now accepting applications, and the window to enter closes on July 10. The idea is to link the muscle and financial power of big health care with the energy of startups in an effort to drive change.
 
"This is a huge opportunity," says Tom Olenzak, who, as a full-time consultant, is helping to run the Game Changers Challenge, which draws on the partnership of IBX, Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, the Department of Public Health of the City of Philadelphia, Venturef0rth, and ?What If! Innovation Partners. 
 
Applicants have until July to submit proposals aimed at improving the overall health and wellness of the Greater Philadelphia region. New companies, applications, technology, products, programs, and services that promote health and wellness are all welcome to enter. The prize is $50,000 for up to three winners, who will be notified by the end of July.
 
"Health care legislation has forced people to think about change," says Olenzak. "We've been stuck in an employer based sales model."

While most individuals consider themselves insured by a particular company, insurers are actually built on a B2B model, selling to employers, not employees. That's why customer service at an insurer can be quite frustrating. It's not a detail most people consider while on hold trying to get information about a claim.
 
Making change in healthcare is daunting, even to a seasoned professional like Olenzak, who's been in healthcare IT for 20 years, and reports that innovation in healthcare has always been the next big market. 
 
Olenzak sees the regulatory process as a barrier to innovation. "There's been a ton of innovation on the care side," but not on the business side, adds Olenzak. "The challenge in health care is that open and transparent transactions are almost unheard of."
 
With an economy that continues to struggle, and cuts in reimbursement, Olenzak says healthcare focused acclerators are on the rise around the country, and points to Blueprint Health in New York, Rock Health in San Francisco, and Chicago Health Tech.
 
Here in Philadelphia, Venturef0rth hosted the first ever Startup Weekend Health at the beginning of this month, and there are plans in the works for a Philadelphia based health care accelerator, details of which cannot yet be disclosed.
 
"Once you start pulling on one thread, you find it's attached to 16 more," says Olenzak of the complicated field of health care innovation. "We're at a stage where we need a larger platform like an insurer or a health system to get involved to make a difference."

Source: Tom Olenzak, IBX Game Changers Challenge
Writer: Sue Spolan

Overheard at Venturef0rth: Million/Million for SnipSnap; CloudMine releases version 1.0

It wasn't up there for long, but the upstart startup CloudMine celebrated the release of version 1.0 by attaching one of its massive company logo banners to the water tower atop the large white building at 8th and Callowhill where it calls home at Venturef0rth. Talk about eyeballs. The water tower got the attention of tens of thousands of Friday commuters. 
 
While none of the CloudMine founders was willing to take credit (or in this case, blame) for the guerilla marketing stunt, CloudMine's presence is hard to miss. With a newly redesigned website, the year old Backend-as-a-Service company has put its beta to bed, according to CEO Brendan McCorkle. But developers were not so fortunate, with Marc Weil reporting that the team worked well into the wee hours to make the launch happen. Developers are now running more than 1,500 apps on the CloudMine platform.
 
Meanwhile, just yards away at Venturef0rth, Ted Mann of SnipSnap announced that he's raised a million dollars in funding for his coupon snapping app, and a million coupons have been entered into the system. Adding to recent Ben Franklin Technology Partners of SE Pennsylvania funding, Mann says Philly's Mentortech Ventures and Michael Rubin contributed to the round.SnipSnap is hiring two in leadership positions, and according to Mann, is engaged in a national search to hire a VP of Marketing and a VP of business Development and Sales.
 
Keya Dannenbaum, founder of ElectNext, and late of Project Liberty Digital Incubator stopped by to check out the space, and reports that the candidate choice engine is now closing in on a round of funding. She also mentioned that co-founder Paul Jungwirth has moved on and is no longer with the startup.

Source: Brendan McCorkle, CloudMine, Ted Mann, SnipSnap, Keya Dannenbaum, ElectNext
Writer: Sue Spolan
 

Creative sector jobs, reputation for art growing in Philadelphia

The whole starving artist cliche doesn't fly in Philadelphia. Two releases, one from the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, and another from The Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Board, point to arts as an area of serious growth, and a powerful financial force in the region.
 
According to the newly released Creative Sector Jobs Report,  new research shows that 48,900 jobs exist in the creative sector, which represents 6.5% of the jobs in Philadelphia.  Creative sector employment grew 6.3% from 2001 to 2011, yielding $5 billion in direct output and $2.7 billion in direct employee earnings.
 
The GPTMC just launched its new With Art Philadelphia campaign, as well as its annual report, titled "The Art of Collaboration." GPTMC CEO Meryl Levitz reports that the city welcomed a record 38 million visitors in 2011, and will likely see a dramatic increase with the lure of the Barnes. The GPTMC also unveiled its impressive new With Art site which allows visitors to curate their own Philadelphia experience by shopping through the city's arts and culture offerings to create an individualized tour.
 
"Culture and the creative sector are a critically important part of our city, and a critical creator of jobs," says Gary Steuer, head of the OACCE. "Creative assets are a core reason people visit Philadelphia."
 
The GPTMC also announced that it has a 75-page spread in the June 2012 US Airways Magazine, highlighting area museums, historical sites, music and public art. "Philly is a city in the throes of artistic revolution," reads one article.
According to the OACCE's Creative Sector report, In 2010 and 2011, research studies ranked Philadelphia 50-70% above the national standard in “creative vitality” using the Creative Vitality Index, a research tool developed by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) to measure the creative health of an area.

Source: Gary Steuer, OACCE, Meryl Levitz, GPTMC
Writer: Sue Spolan

Ridaroo partners with PECO/Exelon to offer secure carpooling

Boom: Ridaroo is running with the big boys now. The two-year old company has partnered with PECO/Exelon to launch a secure enterprise-wide ride-sharing program. The bootstrapped startup, which comes out of Drexel's Baiada Institute, has been working on a program to match drivers with riders within a specific organization.
 
Ridaroo will even tell carpoolers if there are discounts and deals along the route.
 
Andy Guy and Aksel Gungor, both former Drexel students, built the firewalled program to stand out from traditional ride boards by building in a new level of trust. Each organization has its own online ride board, separate from all the others, so that employees don't have to take a risk in order to go green on the road.
 
Gungor recalls that as an undergrad at Drexel, there was a bulletin board in the hall where, like at most colleges, people posted notes about rides offered and needed. The Career Services department would manually copy down each post and email it to students.

"I had an internship to which I had to take a bus. I ended up carpooling by default,"says Gungor. "There had to be a better, more efficient way of doing it. Fast forward to Andy and me sitting down and working on it. We set up a private website for different organizations."
 
The beta version, which was open to all college students in Philadelphia, led to the new corporate version. Integrating social media tools, Ridaroo allows PECO employees to log in and create trips limited to PECO staff. Andy Guy created an automatically generated matching system which screens for preferences like distance, time, number of available seats, pick up location, and even smoking or non-smoking.
 
Gungor says companies like PECO can offer the Ridaroo service as an employee benefit, and the bill goes to the employer. "It's a pure sustainability play. We calculate all the emissions and the analytics behind that." Not only do employees save hundreds of dollars per year, but companies can earn LEED points via collected Ridaroo data.
 
Gungor says Ridaroo isn't seeking outside funding at this time; rather, he and Guy are focused on growing with the revenue generated by enterprise solutions. Current partnerships (including another with the law firm Morgan Lewis) will help Ridaroo scale quickly, which will lead to hiring. At that point, the team will look at raising a small round. 
 
And that whole boom thing? "Andy and I always joke around. When something good happens, we say, 'boom,' that just got done."

Source: Aksel Gungor, Ridaroo
Writer: Sue Spolan

Educational strength in numbers: The School Collective connects teachers with good ideas, hiring

There's a lot of talk about technology and education, but most of the time, the conversation is about individual schools implementing technology. In the case of The School Collective, a social entrepreneurship startup based in Philadelphia, technology becomes a way to link and improve all schools at once.
 
Sebastian Stoddart, one of the co-founders, says "We originally came up with the idea at Oxford University. Alyson Goodner and I were both studying for our MBA. The education problem is bigger than just one issue. We identified an element of the education world where we can actually make a difference." 
 
The School Collective joins teachers across schools through a website where educators can share best practices through lesson plans, materials, and instant communication. Currently there are over 1,700 members sharing nearly 21,000 documents and over 36 thousand lesson plans.
 
Stoddart, who remains in the UK but visits town 3 to 4 times a year, says it was Goodner's enthusiasm and energy that drew him into the project. "She's incredibly passionate. It's her one focus and one mission. From my standpoint, it's a real chance to use innovation to improve education. It's an opportunity to reshape an existing model that isn't working."
 
Coming from one of the most venerated learning institutions in the world doesn't hurt. "One thing you get from Oxford is a hands on teaching style," says Stoddard. "You work directly with a tutor, and there are 2 to 3 other people in the room. The difference of that model to Philadelphia education is huge. Oxford is an incredible education, and it gives you a massive desire to give that education as well."
 
Goodner adds, "I am not British. I was born here in Philly, and ended up at Oxford, a place where people gather to talk about global change. Here in Philadelphia we get a fairly bad rap. People say, education reform here in Philly? Good luck with that. But there has been movement. There are amazing people doing reform work in Philly."
 
The School Collective, says Goodner, gathers revenue via a freemium model. Teachers sign up for free or pay $5 per month to access the full functionality of the site. Organizations can also subscribe to the site using a tiered model.
"The School Collective is built to give benefit to every user on the site," says Stoddard, who compares traditional teaching tools that are brought in by the principal, but offer no benefit to the teacher, "From the beginning we wanted this to be something teachers would want to be on."
 
An essential key to The School Collective's success is Goodner and Stoddart's professional development package, their hands on approach to teaching teachers. During a 10-hour workshop, The School Collective shows educators take the time to visit schools in person and explain exactly how to use the tools, resulting in a 98% acceptance rate.
 
With this level of success, expansion is on the agenda, although it would be difficult to replicate an Oxford-educated team. "We are looking to bring on a person full time similar to what I am doing, and a full time developer on Sebastian's side to build a team in Philadelphia," says Goodner, who plans on tapping into former Teach For America participants to find the right fit.
 
Currently, The School Collective serves a diverse roster of Philadelphia schools, including The William Penn Charter School, Stepping Stones, and The School District of Philadelphia. The plan is to expand to include parents and students, and to extend The School Collective's reach to neighboring states. 

Source: Alyson Goodner, Sebastian Stoddart, The School Collective
Writer: Sue Spolan

Philly as a model for social entrepreneurship examined as part of The New Capitalist Junto

Getting paid for paying it forward is the future of social change. Last Wednesday (June 6), Good Company Ventures hosted The New Capitalist Junto.

In the high-rise offices at 1650 Arch, formerly known as The Green Village, around 220 attendees gathered to consider the task of making Philadelphia a center for new capitalism. Based on the book The New Capitalist Manifesto written by Umair Haque, the business philosophy embraces sustainability, non-violence, equity and improving quality of life.
 
"Philadelphia has all of the infrastructure, in institutions, talent and beyond, to be a global leader in social entrepreneurship," says Technically Philly's Christopher Wink, one of the night's top rated speakers. "The intractable legacy problems we have in our big, old, industrial city, mean that this is among the most meaningful places in the world to confront the challenges that we need to solve most -- education inequality, crime, violence, drugs, poverty, joblessness and the like."
 
Joined by Mayor Michael Nutter and 25 local organizations from all corners of business and civic life including Robin Hood Ventures, EEB Hub and NextFab Studio, the goal, says Wink, "is to get a broad coalition and conversation happening around the region being a relevant, sensible and powerful hub for mission-minded ventures."
 
Good Company's Zoe Seltzer says, "It was a nice mix of engaged, yet wanting more.  Venture types curious about the social stuff and social types wanting us to reach further. As long as we have this diverse group talking, we've made a good start."

The idea of the Junto originated in Philadelphia in 1727, and was defined as a club for mutual improvement. P'unk Avenue, one of the evening's participants, has hosted a monthly junto for about 2 years.

Source: Christopher Wink, Zoe Seltzer, The New Capitalist Junto
Writer: Sue Spolan
 

'Twive and Receive' fundraiser for TechGirlz on June 14

A one day only fundraiser for TechGirlz will take place June 14. The local nonprofit, dedicated to training middle and high school students for jobs in technology, is Philadelphia's entry in Give Across America through the Twive and Receive campaign. 
 
Gloria Bell, who chose the organization for the competition, says, "TechGirlz gets all of the money we raise and if they are in the top three fundraising cities, they get an additional amount, $5,000 for third place, $10,000 for second place or $15,000 for first place, on top of what we raise."
 
Here's the setup: donate $10 and then encourage 10 friends to donate as well through social media. Bell has written suggested tweets, so it's a no-brainer to participate.
 
TechGirlz, with the mission of empowering girls to be future technology leaders, has a year round calendar, and is running a one week Entrepreneur Summer Camp for middle school girls the week of July 9, where each student has a chance to create a startup in a hackathon setting. The program is in conjunction with DreamIt Ventures and Startup Corps
 
Tracey Welson-Rossman, a female tech star in her own right, founded TechGirlz, and has since welcomed Kerry Rupp, Yasmine Mustafa, Jane Frankel, Neelan Choski, Anita Garimella Andrews, Christian Kunkel, Karen Stellabotte, Skip Shuda and Joyce Akiko to the leadership team.

"Curiosity and research led me down the path to find where I hypothesize it begins - at high school, specifically 9th grade.  Studies show that girls at that age self-select out of technology learning because they do not understand what a career in tech can be.  They see the stereotypes in the media of nerdy white males who work in cubicles and are not creative or collaborative," says Welson-Rossman. "We know that is not the case.  TechGirlz wants to show the depth and breadth of what technology can offer.  We also want to represent what the folks in tech actually look like - men and women."
 
TechGirlz hosts regular workshops to teach girls a wide range of skills including programming, web design, podcasting,3D printing and animation. Welson-Rossman also reports that TechGirlz is at a point where it will soon be hiring staff to help the organization grow and to track participants' progress.

Source: Gloria Bell, Tracey Welson-Rossman, TechGirlz
Writer: Sue Spolan

Beer pong your way to an employer's heart at UNCUBED at World Cafe Live on June 21

Looking for work is about to get way cooler, thanks to UNCUBED. "Everyone likes to have a good time, and everyone hates job fairs," says Tarek Pertew, UNCUBED organizer and co-founder of Wakefield, a media company that's producing the event which takes place June 21 from 11 am to 4 pm at World Cafe Live in University City. 
 
"UNCUBED is something everyone can enjoy, with music and drinks. No one wears suits, and companies are not going to have a barrier to interaction with candidates. It's a different mindset, where people can interact on a more realistic level. It's what startups want. Their approach to culture is significantly different from large companies." 
 
Targeting the fast growing world of tech entrepreneurs, Philly UNCUBED is an expansion from the first UNCUBED which took place in Manhattan in April 2012 and drew tech luminaries like Tumblr and Spotify, not to mention 1100 attendees vying for jobs at 85 companies.
 
Here in Philly, AppRenaissance, Zonoff, Monetate, RJ Metrics and Leadnomics will join dozens of companies for music, an open bar, food and games. And of course, to find employees.
 
UNCUBED is a production of Wakefield, which sends out a daily email on startups: think Daily Candy for business, says Pertew, who comes from a background in fashion retailing. 
 
Wakefield plans on taking UNCUBED to more cities in the future, but chose the vibrant tech scene in Philadelphia for its initial expansion.

Source: Tarek Pertew, UNCUBED
Writer: Sue Spolan

Largest show in festival history announced for 16th annual Live Arts celebration

With six world premieres and two U.S. premieres set for the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, which announced the lineup for its 16th annual edition on Monday, there will be plenty of cutting-edge dance, theater, music, visual and interdisciplinary works by renowned contemporary artists. It will also feature the largest work in Live Arts Festival history with Sylvain Emard Danse's Le Grand Continental, which will feature 200-plus dancers on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and go down as the largest presentation of its kind in the world.

The Parkway will also host interactive public art from Montreal-based new media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Montreal will also be represented by urban circus 7 Fingers. Philadelphia's leading contemporary art-makers are in the mix as well, including Pig Iron Theatre Company, Headlong Dance Theater, Brian Sanders' JUNK and Lucidity Suitacase Intercontinental.

"Our mission to present artistic voices from around the world alongside Philadelphia's best and brightest talent continues with our 2012 programming," says producing director Nick Stuccio in a news release.

Other noteworthy performances include the only American presentation of Australia-based Back to Back Theatre's FOOD COURT, a centerpiece production that confronts bullying and body image, and New York's Elevator Repair Service and Young Jean Lee Theater Company.

The Festival runs Sept. 7-22. Tickets go on sale in mid-June and are priced between $10-$30. Discounts available to those age 25 and under and for Festival Members. A full schedule with Festival events, and performance dates, times and locations will be released shortly. PNC Arts Alive is the presenting sponsor for the 2012 edition.

Source: Carolyn Huckabay, Canary Promotions
Writer: Joe Petrucci




GPIC gets more efficient as EEB Hub, which shifts focus and is hiring up to five

The multi-partner organization GPICHub is now EEB Hub, which stands for Energy Efficient Buildings Hub. Same players, but a redesigned website, logo and tagline to reflect a change of focus. "From early on the name was made to speak to the Department of Energy, and be region focused," says Christine Knapp, Manager of Public and Client Relations for the EEB Hub, who feels that the shorter name says more in fewer words.

EEB Hub is more market focused as well, according to Knapp, with pages that break down content into four sections she calls "point-of-view" pages: Owners/Operators/Occupants, Architects/Engineers/Suppliers, Policy and Finance, and Education and Workforce. An even more granular approach is in the works, says Knapp, with some of the categories broken out further to address specific needs, say, of building owners.

The multi-stakeholder organization, which began life last February with temporary headquarters at the Navy Yard, is now in the process of constructing Building 661, a showplace for green building innovation. In what Knapp terms an entrepreneur's dream come true, even the current headquarters has become a lab.

"The temporary building we are in now is one of the most highly instrumented buildings in the country. It collects 1500 data points every minute," says Knapp, who looks forward to the ability to dashboard all that data, which will include energy, weather and occupancy data, to name just a few.

"ICon, our immersive construction lab, is up and running," reports Knapp. "It's a virtual 3D environment which allows design teams to put schematics into the system, put goggles on and walk around a building together." EEB Hub's Building 661 design team is using the technology now, and EEB Hub will soon make it available to regional architecture and design firms. "They can bring all their architects and engineers into the room together," says Knapp.

EEB Hub is seeking a full time manager for demonstration projects. Currently there are two, but up to five more are in the works, and will soon grow beyond the confines of the Navy Yard and into the larger region. Also available are ten paid summer internship positions for both undergrad and graduate students.

EEB Hub seeks to reduce energy use in the area's commercial building sector by 20 percent by 2020.

Source: Christine Knapp, EEB Hub
Writer: Sue Spolan

Imagine Philly as a startup at CEOs for Cities national meeting May 17-18

In a January opinion piece in TechCrunch, entrepreneur Jon Bischke suggested the most successful urban leaders are those who view cities like startups. CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders dedicated to creating next generation cities, will examine that premise at its 2012 Spring National Meeting: The City As a Startup -- Creating Demand, Attracting Talent, Taking Risks and Going to Scale.
 
The meeting is set for May 17-18 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati and is made possible with support from The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation. Former AOL Chairman and CEO Steve Case will deliver the morning keynote and also sit on a panel conservation about Startup America. 
 
CEOs for Cities will also release its latest City Vitals report, a framework for measuring the success of cities. Other panels include considering Songdo, South Korea as the planet's smartest city and using the collective impact approach to catalyze social change. There will also be opportunities to tour Cincinnati attractions and examples of success.
 
Register here. View a draft agenda here.

Philly Tech Week: A Burning Ring of Entrepreneurial Fire

"We're still getting attendee numbers in, but we'll be around if not above 10k, double last year," reports Christopher Wink, who co-organized Philly Tech Week along with Sean Blanda and Brian James Kirk on behalf of Technically Philly. Culminating with the Signature Event, a chic cocktail party featuring high end demos from The Knight Foundation, Wharton Computing, T-Mobile, NextFab and Hive76, Philly Tech Week was a total success by all measurement. For Wink, one highlight was when "the mayor dropped an open data executive order that we've been pushing on for a year." The impact of Philly Tech Week, says Wink, is real.

"It's like family," said Novotorium's Mike Krupit of the startup community that packed Thursday night's Fourth Annual Entreprenur Expo, held at the Gershman building of the University of the Arts. Presented by Philly Startup Leaders and organized by Gloria Bell, forty entrepreneurs lined up in a ring around the perimeter of the auditorium. Dozens of enthusiastic teams were on hand, some of which are so familiar that they've set up permanent space in this reporter's head, such as Lokalty, CloudMine, AboutOne, Basecamp Business, PalmLing and HeartMe.

Others doing a great job of bringing attention to their product included Patty Tawadros' iWoof'd Up, a pre-launch company offering a behavior modification program to reward family members with points redeemable for wish list items; Artsy Canvas, from the talented Kendall Schoenrock, whose large scale graphic repro company LTL has become the go to business for tech startups (LTL has created sheets of nametags for many Philly Tech Week Events).

ConXt, from Eric Sauers and Eric Greenberg, automatically updates your private address book using social media. Said Sauers, "The part of the expo that really stuck out to me was the great collection of attendees. I've been to other expos and have found the audience really doesn't fit the companies displaying." Indeed, it was not unusual to see participants floating around the room, away from their tables, catching up with their colleagues. In attendance were many familiar faces from the Philly Startup community, including several teams from Startup Weekend, like Zazzberry, Yagglo and Credit Cardio, who were still aglow from the high of building businesses from the ground up in 54 hours.

"The growth of Entrepreneur Expo, from 20 companies and approximately 200 attendees four years ago to 40 companies and over 500 attendees this year, has been a direct reflection of the growth of the tech community as a whole," said organizer Gloria Bell. "It just seemed such a natural fit to schedule the event as part of Philly Tech Week this year. For me, the highlight of Expo is always watching the intense interest on the faces of the attendees and exhibitors as they interact.  Last night was no exception."

Tonight is the Signature Event of Philly Tech Week, to take place at Moore College of Art, and the week wraps up tomorrow with 10 more events.

SnipSnap Clips the Competition at Switch Philly

Like magic. On the same day that Ted Mann's SnipSnap mobile app debuted on the iTunes Store, Switch Philly awarded Mann and team the winning spot in Wednesday night's tech startup competition. Switch, one of the highlights of Philly Tech Week, took place at the University of the Arts.

SnipSnap is on a fast track forward, and it's the second win this week for the coupon scanning team of Mann, Kyle Martin and Kostas Nasis. Earlier in the week, SnipSnap won Mobile Monday Mid-Atlantic.

"I'm the father of two kids and an unsalaried CEO of a startup," says Mann. "We have what we call the bowl of shame in our house. It's filled with coupons."

Elsewhere, the coo-pon versus kew-pon pronunciation debate continues at The Reckoner, whose creator Dan Koch, now on board as a Senior Architect at AppRenaissance, was in attendance on Wednesday.

SnipSnap impressed judges Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital, Mayor Michael Nutter, and Ellen Weber of Robin Hood Ventures, triumphing over worthy contenders PalmLing, Inhabi, Yagglo (which won Philly Startup Weekend), and Airtimem.

Weber, speaking after the event, reports that she is getting an iPad this weekend as a result of her time at Philly Startup Weekend with the Yagglo team, whose designer Shawn Hickman, she says, is one to track.

Source: Mike Krupit, Novotorium; Ted Mann, SnipSnap; Ellen Weber, Robin Hood Ventures
Writer: Sue Spolan

Nearly $3M in Knight Arts Challenge Awards awarded at Philadelphia Museum of Art

"You have to look at his lines," said Janet Echelman of the collection of rare Van Gogh paintings on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the venue for the Knight Arts Challenge Awards ceremony on Monday night. "Look at his drawing skill." Echelman, an internationally known sculptor known for her public art, was on hand to share in the honor of a $400,000 grant to the Center City District to transform the Dilworth Plaza, and be completed in March 2014, according to Paul Levy, who accepted the Knight Award on behalf of the CCD.

Winners and ceremony attendees were treated to a private viewing of the blockbuster exhibit of impressionist paintings, and Lorene Cary, who received a $100,000 award for her Hip H'Opera project, toured the exhibit with Jeri Lynne Johnson, winner of $50,000 for the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra.

The 35 winners, who have known for a month but were sworn to secrecy, uniformly reported great surprise upon receiving the news, hauling in a combined $2.76 million. "They don't just call you. They say, 'We want you to come into the office,'" said Lori Dillard Rech, who accepted $25,000 on behalf of the Center for Emerging Visual Artists' Made in Philly project. "You think you have to defend yourself, not knowing that you've already gotten the award."

Erica Hawthorne, who applied as an individual on behalf of other individuals, could not believe she was granted $60,000 for her Small-but-Mighty Arts Grant, which will award local artists anywhere from $50 to $1,000 each.

Speakers at the event included Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy's Gary Steuer, who said that the Knight Arts Challenge, now in its second of three years, is making its imprimatur on the city. Mayor Nutter remarked upon the larger effect of $9 million in Knight grants, which translates to $18 million, since each grantee must come up with matching funds, touching the lives of all Philadelphians and bringing in tourism dollars.

On a related note, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation received $350,000 for Midnight Madness, an effort to engage younger audiences with a series of late night summer happenings to include music, food and rare midnight tours of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Campus Philly, helmed by Deborah Diamond, received $100,000 to offer free or discounted admission to college students visiting the city's cultural venues.

It's not all about Center City. Neighborhoods likw Nicetown-Tioga, West Philadelphia, and East Kensington will also be getting a little Knight magic. You can see the full list of winners below, and a video here.

Performing Arts Will Diversify Old City's First Fridays
Project: Arden Festival Fridays
Recipient: Arden Theatre Company
Award: $50,000
To diversify artistic offerings by presenting multidisciplinary performances alongside gallery events during Old City's monthly First Fridays

"Pop-Up" Performances Bring Latin Jazz to Philly Neighborhoods
Project: AMLA Flash Jazz Mobile
Recipient: Artists and Musicians of Latin America
Award: $35,000
To cultivate new audiences for Latin jazz by presenting "pop-up" performances by local artists using a portable stage

Stories of Urban Youth Come to Life in "Hip H'Opera"
Project: Hip H'Opera
Recipient: Art Sanctuary
Award: $100,000
To celebrate two art forms that use the human voice to tell profound stories by creating a "Hip H'Opera" using the stories of urban life

Communities Experience Art in Unexpected Places
Project: Neighborhood Spotlight Series 
Recipient: Asian Arts Initiative
Award: $45,000
To provide everyday artistic experiences by creating site-specific works for nontraditional places like restaurants, storefronts and public plazas

Late-Night Cabarets Explore Social Issues with Sparkle on the Avenue of the Arts
Project: Bearded Ladies Cabaret Revolution
Recipient: Bearded Ladies Cabaret
Award: $30,000
To attract new audiences to theater – using the medium to explore social issues with sparkle – through a series of original, late-night cabarets

New Form of Symphonic Pops Concert Celebrates World Music
Project: Black Pearl Pops!
Recipient: Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra
Award: $50,000
To showcase diverse cultures by transforming a symphonic "pops" concert into a celebration of world music

College Students Gain New Access to the City's Arts Scene
Project: Campus Philly's Passport to the Arts
Recipient: Campus Philly
Award: $100,000
To foster a lifelong appreciation of the arts by offering free or discounted admission to venues and performances for college students

Workshop Gives Voice to Unheard Stories of the Lao-American Community
Project: Laos in the House: Voices from Four Decades of the Lao Diaspora
Recipient: Catzie Vilayphonh
Award: $25,000
To promote storytelling within the Lao-American community through a writing, performance and filmmaking workshop

Public Art Transforms Dilworth Plaza and Thriving Center City
Project: New Public Art at Dilworth Plaza
Recipient: Center City District
Award: $400,000
To help transform historic Dilworth Plaza by commissioning internationally recognized sculptor Janet Echelman to create an artwork inspired by the site's historic association with water and steam

Art Installation Open to All Inspires Dialogue on Art and Spirituality
Project: In the Light: A Skyspace by James Turrell
Recipient: Chestnut Hill Friends Meetinghouse Project
Award: $80,000
To offer visitors a contemplative art space by incorporating the work of internationally acclaimed light artist James Turrell into a new facility


Residents Transform Vacant Lots Into Visual and Sound Gardens
Project: Site and Sound Gardens
Recipient: COSACOSA art at large
Award: $75,000
To transform abandoned spaces into "sacred" art parks for the community by engaging residents to create visual and sound gardens in the Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood

Local Artists Get Support From Mini Grant Program
Project: Small-But-Mighty Arts Grant
Recipient: Erica Hawthorne
Award: $60,000
To give a boost to local artists by creating a mini grant program to help finance their art making with awards ranging from $50 to $1,000

Mobile Studio Brings Community Art to New Neighborhoods
Project: ColorWheels: Delivering Creativity to Your Community
Recipient: Fleisher Art Memorial
Award: $50,000
To engage the community in hands-on art making by expanding the reach of a mobile studio where participants create projects inspired by their neighborhoods

West Philadelphia Lots Become Artistic Skate Parks
Project: Skateable City
Recipient: Franklin's Paine Skatepark Fund
Award: $100,000
To help transform West Philadelphia neighborhoods by turning blacktop lots into art-laden skate parks

Free Theater Festival Showcases Diversity On Stage
Project: Philly Urban Theatre Festival
Recipient: GoKash Productions
Award: $20,000
To promote original plays through a free theater festival dedicated to multicultural themes 

Late-Night Museum Happenings Encourage New Audiences
Project: Midnight Madness 
Recipient: Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation
Award: $350,000
To engage younger audiences in the visual arts through a series of simultaneous late-night happenings at three of Philadelphia's premier  art museums

Cutting-Edge Performing Arts Gain New Visibility Through Residency Program
Project: Underground Residencies at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Recipient: Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Award: $150,000
To engage new audiences in the performing arts by creating a residency program in the Kimmel Center's black-box theater for innovative and emerging art groups

Visual and Performing Arts Fill an East Kensington Lot
Project: Little Berlin Fairgrounds
Recipient: Little Berlin
Award: $10,000
To help transform the East Kensington neighborhood by turning an empty lot into an event space for musicians, art fairs and children's workshops

Outdoor Summer Film Series Showcases Local Artists and Filmmakers
Project: Urban Drive-In with DIY Food Culture
Recipient: The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design
Award: $20,000
To introduce the work of local visual artists and filmmakers to a wider audience by establishing an outdoor independent film series on the Parkway

Weekly Drumming Lessons Inspire Local Youth
Project: Drum Line 
Recipient: Musicopia
Award: $90,000
To empower and inspire Philadelphia's youth through their participation in an indoor percussion ensemble by providing weekly drumming lessons and performing opportunities

Gospel Choirs, Composers and Jazz Ensembles Celebrate Dr. King
Project: New Music Celebrations of the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
Recipient: Orchestra 2001
Award: $40,000
To celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Orchestra 2001 will present a concert featuring a new concerto based on the civil rights leader's life

Design Center Provides New Resources to Theater and Visual Artists
Project: Philadelphia Theatrical Design Center
Recipient: Partners for Sacred Places
Award: $180,000
To expand the capacity of the city's theater community by providing a new space for theater designers and visual artists at a repurposed local church

Free Digital Cameras Give Access to Communities for Photography Exhibition
Project: Bring to Light: Philadelphia
Recipient: Philadelphia Photo Arts Center
Award: $35,000
To encourage broader audience participation in the city's visual arts by expanding Philly Photo Day, where everyone is invited to take a picture on the same day for an exhibition

Architecture Seen in a New Light with 3D Video Art Events
Project: Animated Architecture: 3D Video Mapping Projections on Historic Sites
Recipient: Sean Stoops
Award: $20,000
To support an innovative form of 3D digital animation by creating site-specific video art events screened on local buildings

Plays in Nontraditional Spaces Bring Adventure to Audiences
Project: Outside The (Black) Box
Recipient: Swim Pony Performing Arts
Award: $50,000
To weave the arts into the community by presenting original, contemporary plays in nontraditional spaces, including Eastern State Penitentiary and the Academy of Natural Sciences

Multidisciplinary Festival Features Black Male Artists
Project: Henry "Box" Brown - The Escape Artist 
Recipient: The Brothers Network
Award: $25,000
To introduce diverse audiences to the performing arts by creating a multidisciplinary festival that features black men as thinkers, artists, choreographers, dancers, composers and more

Locally Produced Art Populates Neighborhood Public Spaces
Project: Made in Philly
Recipient: The Center for Emerging Visual Artists
Award: $25,000
To bring visual art to a wider audience by placing locally produced art in public advertising spaces in the same neighborhood where the piece was produced

Ceramic Mug "Assault" Explores Relevance of Handmade Things
Project: Guerilla Mug Assault
Recipient: The Clay Studio
Award: $15,000
To explore the relevance of handmade ceramic objects in the 21st century by providing a handmade mug to people leaving coffee shops and encouraging them to post about their experiences on the Web

Choral Works for Nontraditional Spaces to Be Commissioned
Project: Performances at the Icebox
Recipient: The Crossing
Award: $50,000
To introduce a wider audience to contemporary choral music by establishing a series of new works designed specifically for a nontraditional venue – the recently restored Crane Arts' Icebox

Sculptural Installation Explores Visual Art and Theater
Project: Daniel Arsham: Performative Architecture
Recipient: The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Award: $80,000
To create a sculptural intervention by artist Daniel Arsham within The Fabric Workshop and Museum that will include a live performance to explore the boundaries between museum and theatrical spaces

Teaching Program Fosters New Knowledge for Use of Technology in the Arts
Project: Corps of Interactive Artist Teachers
Recipient: The Hacktory
Award: $40,000
To promote the use of technology in the arts by developing an intensive tech/art curriculum for local artists who will share their knowledge with Philadelphia students

Creative Incubator Supports Emerging Creative Businesses
Project: Creative Incubator
Recipient: The University of the Arts
Award: $120,000
To promote economic stability for the city's cultural community by offering support to emerging creative businesses with pre-seed funding, mentorship programs and workshops

Citywide Scavenger Hunts Introduce Teens to Art and Adventure
Project: ARTward Bound: a creative orienteering adventure
Recipient: The Village of Arts and Humanities
Award: $60,000
To develop young people's awareness of the city's vibrant cultural scene through interactive scavenger hunts led by local artists

Master Class Series Provides Advanced Training for Local Actors
Project: Creating a Common Artistic Voice
Recipient: The Wilma Theater
Award: $60,000
To enhance training for local actors by creating a series of master classes

Public Art Enlivens The Porch at 30th Street Station
Project: A Permanent Place for Temporary Art in University City
Recipient: University City District
Award: $120,000
To establish a new outlet for public art that showcases temporary installations at The Porch at 30th Street Station

Source: Mayor Michael Nutter, Gary Steuer, Lori Dillard Rech, Erica Hawthorne, Lorene Cary, Janet Echelman, Paul Levy
Writer: Sue Spolan

A 41-hour digital fast to raise digital divide awareness

Could you step away from the keyboard? This weekend, Philly Tech Week (PTW) curator Tayyib Smith, in conjunction with KEYSPOTS, asked the tech community and everyone else in the city to participate in a 41 hour digital fast beginning Saturday April 21 at 3 p.m. No computer. No email. No social media. No mobile apps (those participating in Philly Startup Weekend get a fast pass). The fast ended when PTW began, with breakfast on Monday (April 23) at 8 a.m.

Brandon Shockley, a content associate at Mighty Engine, did his best to participate in the fast, but couldn't make it even a quarter of the way. "I can't say I was successful, despite my best efforts. I cracked," reports Shockley. "The internet is habit forming. I made it about