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Inside Philly SEED's wildly successful, crowdfunded night for education entrepreneurs

When you are talking sustenance, the combination of education and a hot meal is just about ideal. Philasoup, along with Springboard Collaborative, won top prize at Philly SEED, a new crowdfunded gathering specifically for educational entrepreneurs in the style of PhillyStake.

Philasoup's top spot in the Emerging Entrepreneurs category garnered $5,000. Springboard Collaborative, won the Expanding/Established Entrepreneurs category, receiving a bundle of pro-bono services. Funds were collected via ticket sales, as well as from a Knight Foundation grant.

The two winners were chosen from an original 41 applicants and 12 finalists, which included ApprenNet, The School Collective, Lessonsmith, Yes! for Schools Philly, and Investing in Ourselves. Educational entrepreneurs are hot right now; last month's Philly Tech Meetup focused on the same topic.

The awards ceremony took place at WHYY on Wednesday, March 28 to a packed house of nearly 200 people, a number of whom were also members of Young Involved Philly, which has a great track record of getting people out to events. Councilman Bill Green was on hand as co-host, as were several Philadelphia philanthropists.

Rachel Meadows, who works for Councilman Bill Green event organizer for Philly SEED, a member of PhillyCORE Leaders, says she hopes the event will be take place at least annually, if not more frequently.  "There's an audience for these type of events. I think people have realized that bureaucratic change is difficult, so perhaps bottom-up entrepreneurial efforts are more effective."

Kristen Forbriger, the Communications Manager for the Philadelphia School Partnership, looked around at the young, engaged crowd and remarked, "This represents a lot of energy in the city. There are a lot of tough problems to solve and a lot of people wanting to solve those problems."

The winner, Philasoup, will use its award to host a monthly microgrant dinner where educators connect and fund projects to benefit Philadelphia students, regardless of institution.

Source: Rachel Meadows, Kristen Forbinger, Philly SEED
Writer: Sue Spolan
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