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Wilmington not just for banks and big business anymore: Jon Brilliant

Ahead of's 'Rise' conference (held Oct. 22-24 in Philadelphia) we sit down with Start It Up Delaware's Jon Brilliant to discuss civic efforts to boost Wilmington's startup scene.

A Wilmington office tower. (Photo by Flickr user david son, used under a Creative Commons license) is bringing together leaders from the five markets we cover — Delaware, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. — for its first-ever Rise conference, a time to connect innovators and leaders who want to learn from other cities that boast growing technology communities.
The event will be held in Philadelphia from Oct. 22-24.

Learn more about Rise

(And note the discount code in the box on the top right.)


Ahead of the event, Delaware took a deeper look into what the conference is all about. We thought one session might be of particular interest to people from Delaware — especially those connected to the growing tech and innovation communities in Wilmington.
From 3:30-5:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, attendees can choose from three (beginning, intermediate and advanced) civic innovation classes.
Folks from Delaware might enjoy the intermediate class: “How do we connect and accelerate our civic innovation?”
This class is for those who are part of a tech community locally or are at least aware of its existence, but want to learn how to push ahead and better connect the work that’s being done.
Speakers include: Chris Barlett, of the William Way Center; Luke Butler, of the City of Philadelphia; and Simon Hauger, of the Workshop School. The panel will be moderated by Philly’s Juliana Reyes.
So why should individuals from the First State be a part of this discussion? Because Wilmington is not just a place for banks and big business anymore, says Jon Brilliant, cofounder and board member of Start It Up Delaware, an organization that aims to be the catalyst for creating a vibrant startup community in Delaware.
“I think what’s happened — I can’t put my finger on one specific thing — is a greater willingness across the community to work together,” Brilliant said:

“Historically, we may have operated in silos. There are serendipitous collisions and we’re working together in a way that hasn’t happened before. There’s a momentum to try some things and we’re getting into more risk taking. [Wilmington] historically has been a big company town, but we’re embracing more startups.”

For Wilmington — and the state as a whole — to continue to move forward and embrace technology, innovation and ideas, two things need to happen, Brilliant says.
“For the longer term, we need to embrace failure,” Brilliant said. “For the short term, encourage people to get involved. Come down to The Loft, come down to 1313 Innovation. Help a young or old person start a business. We don’t have a great mentoring network if you’re not connected, so let’s start to build the network. There’s a lot people have to offer.”

Companies: 1313 Innovation / The Loft /

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