Hundreds of student entrepreneurs and technologists in training will get a boost from the latest round of StartUp PHL "Call for Ideas" grants announced Thursday by Mayor Nutter and Alan Greenberg, deputy mayor for economic development.
Coded by Kids, a free after-school program that introduces and promotes careers in Web development for inner-city kids, will be fertilized for growth with a $19,870 grant to train additional adult instructors.
TechGirlz, a program that holds workshops and an entrepreneurial summer camp for middle-school girls, also earned a grant, $10,000, to expand on the vision expressed by founder Tracey Welson-Rossman that "innovation is gender-blind." The money will be plowed into the TechShopz in a Box program, which packages TechGirlz boot-camp materials into shareable lesson plans so other groups can duplicate the organization's short (two- to three-hour) but stimulating programs - ranging from Podcasting to Designing Mobile Apps, GameMaker Creation, and introductions to Linux and HTML/CSS.
The University City Science Center FirstHand Program earned a $25,000 stipend to buy lab equipment for dedicated FirstHand Lab student space and STEAM (science/technology/engineering/arts/mathematics) initiatives. FirstHand likewise serves Philadelphia youths and teachers from underresourced schools.
A $23,500 grant will help Drexel University kick-start a multi-university business-plan competition, looping in several school-based entrepreneurship programs and incubators. Program instigator Chuck Sacco runs a Drexel-specific version and sees the expanded Regional University Business Plan Competition as encouraging "entrepreneurially minded college students to work across the region and build their networks at other universities and colleges and within the community."
StartUp PHL is an initiative of the city, nonprofit PIDC, and First Round Capital to provide funding for early-stage companies and support programs that develop the start-up community in Philadelphia.
With this latest round of Call for Ideas grants, 14 organizations have received almost $300,000 in funding.
In addition, eight Philadelphia start-ups have received more than $1 million in combined seed stage or angel investment since October 2013.
"Philadelphia's emergence as a hub for start-ups and technology companies," said Greenberger, "is one of the most exciting trends for the future of the city."