Civic News

Startup PHL announces winners of $100K Call for Ideas grant program

It's the sixth cohort of the City Hall–backed tech initiative. This one focuses on Philly's kids.

TechGirlz got $17,500 to deploy its TechShopz in a Box classes at nine branches of the Free Library.

(Courtesy photo)

Five projects aimed at connecting kids with technology just got funded by way of Startup PHL’s sixth Call for Ideas.

Backed by $100,000 in grant money, five Philly organizations will set up digital design and development shops for kids, student-led tech-support teams for schools and user experience workshops.

Mayor Jim Kenney announced the winners Thursday at Emlen Elementary School.

Here are the winning organizations and what the money will go towards:

  • Coded by Kids ($17,500): The nonprofit will use the cash to set up First Draft Studios, a teen-run digital design and development shop. Kids will team up to design and build websites and apps for local nonprofits or small businesses.
  • Onyx Valley ($20,000): Part of the first cohort of the Institute of Hip-Hop Entrepreneurship, the project hopes to connect youth of color with skills needed to join tech companies. The funds will let Onyx Valley set up workshops on User Experience (UX).
  • Philadelphia Children’s Foundation ($30,000): The Philadelphia Children’s Foundation (PCF) installs internet-ready computers in classrooms and publicly accessible spaces. The organization will use the funds to merge an existing equipment refurbishing program with computer literacy training, setting up in-house tech support teams made up of 4th and 5th grade students.
  • TechGirlz ($17,500): With the grant, the nonprofit will fund a series of its TechShopz in a Box at nine branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The program has reached beyond the U.S. with deployments in places like Paraguay and Ukraine.
  • VietLead ($15,000): The grassroots organization, which works with the Vietnamese community in Philly and South Jersey will use the funds to back a project called Youth Engagement for Social Sustainability (YESS) which aims to teach youth to “use technology to capture and analyze community stories and needs.”

“It is vital that our young people are prepared with the skills they need,” Kenney said in a statement. “I am eager to see the impact of our latest Call for Ideas grants as the programs they support help youth across the city develop the important skills required to take on the jobs of today and tomorrow.”


The call to action to submit proposals went live in May. Dozens of submissions were reviewed by committee comprised of city reps and members of Philly’s entrepreneurial community.

Full disclosure: Technically Media cofounder and CEO Christopher Wink is on the board of Coded by Kids. He was not involved in this report.

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