Diversity & Inclusion
Business development / DEI / Entrepreneurs / Resources / Startups

1Philadelphia is launching an Early Validation Academy for underrepresented founders

The program aims to help entrepreneurs as they identify and validate the core problem of their business.

1Philadelphia's CBK Ventures Pitch Competition in November 2022. (Courtesy photo)

Inclusive tech talent pipeline project 1Philadelphia is launching the Early Validation Academy this summer to support underrepresented tech founders as they identify and validate their core problem.

The goal of the free program is to teach founders how to validate a tech business idea, conduct user research and complete a value proposition canvas.

“We believe that creating an equitable tech economy in Philadelphia requires underrepresented tech founders to receive the support needed to build successful startups,” said Damon McWhite, program manager at 1Philadelphia and Coded by Kids, via email. “Success starts with identifying and validating the core problem your startup aims to solve. The Early Validation Academy will get you there.”

1Philadelphia accepting applications for this program until Aug. 1. The program begins the week of Aug. 22 and runs through the end of October. Founders, who don’t need to be based in Philly to be participate, will then receive mentorship and training to help identify and validate their challenges, along with working on value proposition and market strategy during the first (virtual) phase of the program.

Apply for the program

The second phase is an in-person weekend Nov. 9 to 11, where selected companies who complete the program will meet in Philly and pitch to investors, mentors and potential partners. Companies will be selected for this phase in October. Companies selected for this phase will receive a $10,000 equity-free grant to continue their business.

1Philadelphia is looking for underrepresented founders of early-stage tech startups. Specifically, participants should have an idea, but need support to test and validate their idea. Eligible companies should have also received less than $250,000 total in funding to date. To qualify as an underrepresented founder, one member of a company’s founding team must identify as Black or African-American; Hispanic or Latinx; LGBTQIA+; BIPOC; female; nonbinary; or a military veteran.

One Philadelphia is working with with Plain Sight Capital, Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Comcast NBC Universal LIFT Labs on this program.

Want more information? 1Philadelphia is hosting a virtual information session at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19.

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: 1Philadelphia / Coded by Kids / Ben Franklin Technology Partners / Comcast

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