Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

High schoolers win biz competition with phone-charging solar jacket

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship's business curriculum was offered at 13 schools in the Philadelphia region this year. The program culminated in a business competition.

A new conference called Introduced, aimed at all Technical.ly markets, takes place May 3. Here's why you should go.

We're still over half a year away from Delaware Innovation Week (which is going to be epic this year — more on that down the line), but Philly Tech Week, Technical.ly's oldest and biggest event, is right around the corner, from April 27–May 5. And this year it includes a brand-new conference involving all Technical.ly markets, Introduced, to be held at the Science History Institute (formerly known as the Chemical Heritage Foundation) on May 3. [link href="https://introduced18.splashthat.com/" text="Get tickets"] Why would you go up to Philly for Tech Week events when we have our own hyperlocal Innovation Week? Why wouldn't you? It's nearby, it's relevant and it can help you expand your regional network. Not just between Delaware and Philly, but with our other markets (Baltimore, Brooklyn and D.C.), too. There are dozens of Philly Tech Week events in all (check out the full calendar here), including forums, dev workshops, panels and parties. If you can only make it to Philly for one event, though, it should be Introduced. Introduced is something new for PTW: A "choose your own adventure" conference with three rooms of simultaneous programming covering three themes:

  • GROW (Tracks: Business & Sciences)
  • MESSAGE (Tracks: Media & Creative)
  • IMPACT (Tracks: Civic & Access)
You can go straight down one track, or mix it up throughout the day — we know everyone isn't entirely focused on one thing. You'll have access to tons of influencers, including Mac Nagaswami, founder of Wilmington's Carvertise, who will join other founders from each market for "RealLIST 2018: Growing Your Startup Outside Of Silicon Valley," one of the 24 panels on the agenda. In addition to the panels, Introduced will feature a rotating demo floor and curated introductions, where you can:
  • Meet and get advice from founders including Morgan Berman of MilkCrate, Liz Brown of Webjunto and Sylvester Mobley of Coded by Kids
  • Pitch your product or service to purchasing reps from large companies, including Amtrak, QVC and Wawa
  • Pitch a demo for feedback from investors including Comcast Ventures, New Spring Capital and Robin Hood Ventures
(Important note: These curated meetings require application. You must register for Introduced by April 25 to apply.) The full-day event costs $100 ($125 after April 25), with discounts for bulk tickets and sponsor of scholarship tickets. If you can't afford the $100, you can request a scholarship ticket on the RSVP page. Click here for more details and to register.

A jacket lined with solar panels, allowing you to charge your phone on the go.

That was the winning business plan developed by two high school seniors from World Communications Charter School, at the annual Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship‘s youth business competition.

As part of the SAP Tech Challenge Award, Aliyah Stephens and Jameel Kemp won $2,000, among other prizes, and a spot at the national NFTE finals in California this fall. Next year, they’re both heading to La Salle University on full scholarships.

NFTE Philadelphia, the local arm of a national organization that teaches entrepreneurship to high schoolers, was originally launched in 2006 with more than $1 million (raised by former Safeguard Scientifics CEO Peter Boni and Internet Capital Group president Doug Alexander).

Thirteen schools in Philadelphia, Lansdale and Newark, Del., taught the classroom-based program this year, said executive director Sylvia Watts McKinney. NFTE trains teachers to help them teach the course either on its own or as part of a class like business or math. The NFTE course teaches math, literacy, financial literacy and business concepts. Each participating school pays a small fee to NFTE and the organization fundraises to cover the rest of their costs, McKinney said.

Safeguard Scientifics and ICG chair the organization’s advisory board, McKinney said, and other major sponsors include EY, SAP, Bank of America, Fox Chase Bank, Shepard Family Fund, The OLB Foundation, Campus Apartments and The Rubin Foundation.

The other winners from the local finals, held last month at First Round Capital‘s University City headquarters, include:

  • 1st Place (Brick and Mortar Category): Jhaney Hamlett, a sophomore at Newark High School in Newark, Del., won with her business, Heated Hoodies, which sells a heated sweatshirt for teens that don’t want to wear bulky coats in the winter.
  • 2nd Place: Damien Dayton, a junior at Lincoln High School in Northeast Philadelphia, developed TRICKDEZ Skateboards, which makes skateboards that have a layer of bamboo between the traditional hardwood layers, which create flex and extend the life of the board by 30 percent.
  • 3rd Place: Ricardo Burton, a sophomore at Franklin Learning Center in Fairmount, won with his health conscious cookie business, Ricardo’s Cookies. The cookies are made with sugar substitutes and healthy alternatives to other ingredients.


Companies: NFTE
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