Business & Technology

Amplifying Philadelphia’s Black Tech and Innovation Ecosystem

todayApril 27, 2024

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WURD Radio’s yearlong coverage of Philadelphia’s Black tech and innovation ecosystem has shown the importance of community engagement and relationship-building in making resources accessible to tech innovators. 

In light of recent backlash and attacks on initiatives that center Black and Brown innovators – from attacks on DEI officers to legal challenges against organizations like the Fearless Fund – our coverage has highlighted how these setbacks are impacting local entrepreneurs. These challenges have complicated the journey for tech entrepreneurs and innovators, amplifying barriers faced by underrepresented groups in accessing resources, funding and opportunities — making this kind of coverage and amplification more important than ever.

By highlighting entrepreneurs and organizations that support innovators, we show the significance of providing access to material and intellectual capital, connecting people with resources and funding, and creating spaces that facilitate ideation, problem-solving and troubleshooting. This kind of coverage plays a crucial role in enhancing technological literacy, a skill that all ages and technical levels require.


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Mamadou Ndiaye and Derek Gauthier met at Venture for America during an entrepreneurship fellowship. The recent college grads were both oriented towards problem-solving, especially when it came to the corporate world. Through conversation, the two quickly realized that their shared commonalities, especially those related to the African diaspora, would serve them well in building the business of their dreams…

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Garry Johnson III, the founder and executive director of First Founders Inc., is leading the charge in Philadelphia to empower Black entrepreneurs in the tech space. Through initiatives like the Black Tech Pitch Contest, Johnson and his collaborators are working to bridge the funding gap and provide resources to Black-owned businesses that are using technology to transform their ventures.

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Lisa Bryant and LyVette Bird, two women who have experienced vision impairment, have shown that with the right technology and support, they can thrive and overcome challenges that life has thrown at them. 

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Pennsylvania is widely known as a state bookended by two national cities – Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In an example of geographic tech transfer, Kelauni Jasmyn, CEO of Black Tech Nation, spoke with Tonya Pendleton on “Reality Check” about the expansion of her organization from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. She was joined by managing editor Julie Zeglen, who recently wrote about the organization’s expansion.

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In a world where technology has become a driving force for connectivity and information sharing, Katika, a Black-owned business and community social network app, is making waves. 

Founded by Jason M. Coles, this innovative platform is dedicated to uniting Black businesses, nonprofits and public agencies while also providing resources to the community. Coles joined Andrea Lawful-Sanders on The Source to discuss his inspiration and the impact of Katika.

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Written by: Ashanti Martin

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