Increasing the Depth of the Local Ecosystem
How Social Responsibility is Shaping the Future of the Science Center
The University City Science Center was established in 1963 by a group of leading academic and research institutions as a neutral place for researchers and entrepreneurs to convene, collaborate, and make advances in science and technology. Today, our core mission remains the same: to support innovation, drive commercialization and bring life-changing technologies to market – all while supporting job creation and economic growth in our region.
And over the last several years we’ve worked hard to support a wider cross-section of Philadelphians with our programming and events. Here are some examples:
- Our most recent Impact Report calls out some of our initiatives to diversify and expand entrepreneurial activities and the Philadelphia innovation community.
- Our Digital Health Accelerator uses a blind application process that has reduced bias in the application process, resulting in three cohorts with over 50% women- and minority-founded businesses. Those companies have gone on to raise an average of more than $3M in follow-on capital and generated an average of over $1M in revenues per company.
- We have developed specific programming focused on underrepresented communities in technology, including LGBTQ; Black & Brown Founders; small, local businesses through Funding the Hustle; and offering free drop-in space, which is open and available to everyone, on the first floor of Quorum at 3675 Market Street – or as Victor Hwang commented last week at the Pathways to Capital: Northeast Regional Inclusive Capital Workshop, “it’s like a living room for the community!”
- We are continuing to cultivate the next generation of leaders through our FirstHand STEM education program and through our new workforce development initiatives that will help to create more career opportunities for local residents at science and technology companies.
- And last week we introduced Launch Lane, Philadelphia’s newest tech accelerator, to support and advance those bright ideas and promising businesses that don’t always find their way into accelerators. While we can’t satisfy the market demand in full with Launch Lane, we see it as an opportunity to reach out and help pull into the ecosystem those who aren’t always aware that there’s an ecosystem ready to welcome them. Learn more at www.launchlane.org.
This isn’t new territory for the Science Center. There’s always room for us to grow and by no means does this mean we’re done learning, adapting and evolving, but we’ve worked hard over the last five years to launch new programs and initiatives that move the needle, and we’re excited about the future.
Funding the Hustle Photos by ©Sahar Coston-Hardy