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How 6 orgs help their local tech and entrepreneurship communities thrive

From events to partnerships and more, there are dozens of ways to foster growth and inclusivity in innovation ecosystems.

A panel at a 1Philadelphia event. (Courtesy 1Philadelphia)

The organizations appearing in this article are Technical.ly clients.

In nature, an ecosystem is an interconnected network of organisms that shape and support each other.

In tech and business, the same is true — individuals and organizations are influenced by the environment in which they arose, and in turn they contribute to the strength and growth of their communities.

How that environment affects an organization and how it gives back takes many shapes, from hosting events to partnering with local groups to offering services and resources to other aspiring entrepreneurs and technologists.

That idea has been proven out by orgs that work with Technical.ly across the region. These organizations actively help their local tech communities thrive, grow and become more inclusive. Here’s a look at how they do it.

(If you like what you see, follow the links to their Directory Pages to learn more and explore ways to connect.)

1Philadelphia

1Philadelphia is a coalition of stakeholders working together to create a model of equitable tech and innovation, bringing together public and private partners to strengthen Philadelphia’s workforce and build the next generation of innovators.

“Philadelphia’s tech scene thrives on collaboration, and at 1Philadelphia, we’re all about fostering connections across the ecosystem. Here’s how we’re building bridges to create a more inclusive and dynamic tech community:

Expanding the circle: collaborative events with diverse partners

“We believe in breaking down silos and fostering inclusivity. At all 1PHL events such as Innovation Weekend and our meetups, we strive to bring the existing Philly tech community together while always welcoming new groups and individuals. To celebrate the new Philadelphia chapter of Latinas in Tech, we recently co-hosted a meetup that brought together individuals from various backgrounds and perspectives within the tech industry. We actively engage with partners like this to create spaces where everyone feels welcome and can contribute.

Convener of the tech community: amplifying diverse voices

“Our advocacy extends far beyond our organization. We champion diverse voices within the tech sector and grassroots organizations bringing together public and private partners. We also provide actionable data that will help drive change and inform state and local policies that benefit everyone, fostering an equitable tech ecosystem. We believe everyone deserves a seat at the table, and we work to ensure their voices are heard.

A collaborative celebration of innovation: Philly Tech Week

“Nowhere is our commitment to collaboration more evident than in our co-hosting of PhillyTech Week with Technical.ly. This week-long event was a powerhouse — featuring over 50 community events. Through shared activities and events, these partnerships strengthen relationships and encourage cooperation across the tech community. It’s a celebration of innovation where every individual and organization has a platform to contribute.

The takeaway: stronger together

“We know that access to careers in tech and innovation provide a viable pathway to sustainable wage careers and wealth creation. As a convener of the local tech community, we build critical partnerships between existing organizations and programs working to improve outcomes for underrepresented people.These coalitions create a powerful network, working together to achieve a common goal: a vibrant and inclusive tech ecosystem where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. In this collaborative environment, we believe the Philadelphia tech space can truly flourish.”

— Charney Robinson-Williams, chief of staff

Ballard Spahr

Ballard Spahr is a national, full service law firm with more than 600 attorneys spread across 15 offices. Its attorneys work with entrepreneurs and emerging companies from ideation through exit and understand how to provide expertise while offering a broad network to help businesses grow and achieve great heights. The firm’s emerging companies and venture capital (ECVC) lawyers also advise venture capital funds and angel investors to help seed ventures from the most nascent stages.

“Ballard Spahr’s many local communities across the country where it has offices factor into the firm’s identity through localized pro bono projects, for which the firm has a long and well-regarded reputation and partnerships/representations of culturally impactful local artists, restaurateurs and athletes. In Philadelphia, we have incredible partnerships with organizations such as Philadelphia VIP, the Mural Arts Project and the Common Market which feed into our rich culture of delivering high quality pro bono services.

“Our Philly lawyers are also at the epicenter of incredible local success stories including the expansion of the Cook & Solo restaurant empire, support for projects and business ventures spearheaded by beloved members of our sports teams and supporting local entrepreneurs like Rick Nucci of Guru. Our lawyers are also embedded in important local litigation and policy setting initiatives that have ripple effects on our local community.”

— Kimberly Klayman, partner

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Morgan Lewis

Morgan Lewis’ team of more than 2,200 lawyers and legal professionals provides comprehensive corporate, transactional, litigation and regulatory services in major industries, including energy, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, retail and ecommerce, sports, technology and transportation. The company focuses on both immediate and long-term goals with clients, helping them address and anticipate challenges across vast and rapidly changing landscapes.

“Since its founding in Philadelphia in 1873, Morgan Lewis has been the law firm that local, regional and global businesses turn to as they navigate the world’s rapidly changing economy. Philadelphia is our firm’s founding office and our international headquarters. We are proud of our deep Philadelphia roots and our global reach.

“The firm’s collaborative culture is rooted in our long history of caring deeply about our peers, clients and community. As the firm has grown, Philadelphia has become a cultural hub and an international business center. We are proud that our lawyers and staff have always been active in the surrounding community through local boards and organizations, including Technical.ly.

“As we have expanded, our longstanding approach of fostering a commitment to collaborating and supporting the local community, starting initially with Philadelphia, has been applied to the local communities of all our offices. Philadelphia is well positioned to achieve even greater success in the coming years and for its international profile to continue to rise, the local Philadelphia community is at the heart of that success. We are proud to be a member of that community and to do our part to help it thrive.”

— Brian Slough, of counsel

NEXT powered by Shulman Rogers

Shulman Rogers is a full-service law firm with more than 100 attorneys working from offices in Maryland, Washington DC and Northern Virginia. The firm’s attorneys work collaboratively across practice groups to support national, regional and local clients and respond to all of their legal needs.

“Our mission at NEXT Powered by Shulman Rogers is to empower startup success. While we work with startup companies around the US and globally, we were launched and are based in the DC metro startup ecosystem. We are an extremely active member supporting this exciting, vibrant and growing community.

“We are sponsors of small and large startup events, and we speak on important legal topics impacting startups at events across the DC metro area including local university entrepreneurial programs and accelerators. We also participate in multiple organizations that mentor startups in the DC metro startup community. We run our Next Raise Showcase events that connect founders and investors (at our last event we facilitated almost 80 one-on-one meetings between founders and VC and Angel Funds).”

— Anthony Millin, founder of NEXT powered by Shulman Rogers, venture capital partner and serial entrepreneur

A man and woman stand in front of two mounted police officers on horses.

(Courtesy Rittenhouse Communications Group)

Rittenhouse Communications Group

Rittenhouse Communications Group (RCG) is a Philadelphia-based, minority owned and operated design build technology integration firm. Our core verticals include multi-family, mixed use and hospitality assets. As a boutique technology integration firm, RCG designs, implements and installs low voltage cabling, network infrastructure, IP cameras, access control, enterprise WIFI, smart building IOT solutions and A/V for our clients in multi-family, mixed use commercial and hospitality projects in the mid-Atlantic region.

“The identity and work of Rittenhouse Communications Group are deeply intertwined with our commitment to the Philadelphia community. RCG not only provides top-tier technology solutions but also engages in numerous philanthropic efforts.

“Personally, I support various local organizations such as the Philadelphia Police Foundation, the founding committee of the Run for Blue, the Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation, the SS United States Conservancy, the Pennsylvania Ballet, and Ensemble Arts. I have also supported Focused Athletics, a program dedicated to supporting local youth in both academic and athletic excellence.

“Additionally, through Drexel’s COOP program, RCG provides on-the-job training for young professionals, equipping them with the skills needed to excel in the technology field. This initiative not only helps students achieve their dreams but also ensures a steady stream of talented individuals who can contribute to the local tech industry.

“From supporting law enforcement and historical preservation to nurturing the arts and education, RCG’s community-focused initiatives enhance the quality of life in Philadelphia. This dedication to giving back solidifies RCG’s role as a pillar of the local community, embodying the belief that strong businesses build strong communities.”

— Sean Edwards, president and CEO

TEDCO

TEDCO, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, enhances economic empowerment growth through the fostering of an inclusive entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. The organization identifies, invests in and helps grow technology and life science-based companies in Maryland.

“TEDCO’s mission is to identify, invest in and help grow technology and life science startups throughout Maryland. At the core of this process are the communication efforts that allow businesses to expand their network and gain more recognition. Through intentionality, diverse vendors and unique opportunities, TEDCO’s support manifests in a variety of ways.

“By collaborating with different vendors and deliberately reaching out to all areas of the state, TEDCO offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to be recognized in these locations — from rural Maryland to the urban cities. This exposure enables the entrepreneurs to expand their networks while simultaneously opening doors to new collaborations and opportunities. It is through these intentional practices that TEDCO promotes a more inclusive and diverse ecosystem.

“A few recent examples of these efforts include articles celebrating entrepreneur success (Western Maryland Startups Receive Spark Award); participation, sponsorship and hosting ecosystem events (FSU’s Inaugural Bobcat Innovation Launchpad; Black Female Founders Venture Capital Forum); ecosystem wide recognition and promotion of different resources and opportunities in Maryland (Maryland Commerce invests in Southern Maryland innovation); and more.”

— Cassy Haber, director of development & marketing


Looking to help your local tech community thrive? Check out other companies in the Technical.ly network here to find out about their missions, cultures and initiatives.

And for more orgs dedicated to supporting startups, entrepreneurs and technologists, take a look at Technical.ly’s Preferred Partners list here.

P.S. If you’re curious about Technical.ly’s services for your own org, find more info here and connect with us.

Explore Technical.ly’s company directory

Companies: Rittenhouse Communications Group / 1Philadelphia / NEXT powered by Shulman Rogers / TEDCO / Ballard Spahr / Morgan Lewis
Series: Thriving Tech Communities Month / Technical.ly Brand Builder Monthly Prompts / Technical.ly Ecosystem Builder Monthly Prompts

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