How the VC Pathways Program is Boosting Equality in Philadelphia’s Startup Scene

The problem: people of color and women are drastically underrepresented in Greater Philadelphia’s tech and startup ecosystem.

One potential solution Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Village Capital and UBS just tried out: prepping those founders for investment and growth at the ground level.

Last week, the three organizations marked the end of the VC Pathways program, which put 10 startups with at least one founder who is a woman, African-American or Latinx through a 12-week course that gave the founders a framework called Venture Investment Readiness Awareness Level (VIRAL) and set out distinct milestones for them to reach.

“The only way to create the future we want to create is by doing things like this,” said Margaret Bradley, director of investment partnership at Ben Franklin.

Washington D.C.-based Village Capital, which previously partnered with Ben Franklin to run a fintech accelerator, designed the program with support from UBS and Ben Franklin, who offered up their own experts to mentor the founders.

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