“Mentor Connect” Program to Provide Support to Historically Underrepresented Entrepreneurs

Ben Franklin and PACT expand mentorship program as part of 1Philadelphia initiative

PHILADELPHIA—Beginning on January 1, 2021, Philadelphia entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups will be able to tap into Mentor Connect, a program that pairs entrepreneurs with teams of mentors with the aim to provide feedback and advice for startups.

Created by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Ben Franklin) and the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology (PACT), Mentor Connect will expand its accessibility to qualified entrepreneurs and mentors outside of the Ben Franklin portfolio or PACT membership in an effort to support diversity and inclusion as part of Coded by Kids’ 1Philadelphia initiative.

As part of the Department of Commerce’s “Most Diverse Tech Hub” initiative, and tailored to the unique needs of each entrepreneur and their venture, Mentor Connect pairs entrepreneurs with teams of three to five volunteer mentors who share their insights and expertise across a range of industries. Underrepresented entrepreneurs participating in Mentor Connect will receive support in a bevy of areas, including:

  • Leadership
  • Sales, business development and marketing
  • Operations
  • Investment and raising capital

Guided by the principles and standards of MIT Venture Mentoring Service, mentors deliver impartial and unbiased advice by a code of ethics to which all mentors must adhere. The opportunity to participate will also connect tech startups to a pipeline of diverse talent to support growth.

“By design, the Mentor Connect program was built to mitigate potential bias within the mentor-mentee relationship, to help founders access trustworthy advice faster,” said Dean Miller, President and CEO of PACT. “By leveraging the infrastructure we’ve built for Mentor Connect and partnering with Coded by Kids on 1Philadelphia, we’re hoping to create more viable resources to expedite growth of entrepreneurship for underrepresented founders, and build new connections of resources that have historically not been clear.”

“The vision of 1Philadelphia can only come to life through partnerships like these,” said Sylvester Mobley, founder of Coded by Kids and the driving force behind its 1Philadelphia initiative. “I’m grateful that Ben Franklin and PACT have recognized the need—and have stepped up to provide valuable opportunities for underrepresented people in the tech and innovation space within our city that otherwise may not have been available. We look forward to working with them—and other organizations, corporations and individuals—to make meaningful change and realize a city we can all believe in where there’s no shortage of tech talent or equitable opportunities.”

“Each of our organizations have proven that building the community of entrepreneurship can produce factors of growth with tremendous impact on the region—which started by building the right relationships.” added Anthony P. Green, PhD, Vice President of Science and Technology at Ben Franklin. “We believe Mentor Connect can be a valuable resource to expedite those new connections for entrepreneurs.”

Interested founders and mentors can learn more about the program at www.mentorconnectphl.org.


About Coded by Kids
Coded by Kids is a Philadelphia-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit fighting inequity by preparing underrepresented young people to succeed as tech and innovation leaders through project-based learning and mentorship. CbK’s programs are designed to provide young people with beginner to advanced-level software development, data science and user experience design skills. Since its inception in 2015, the organization has reached more than 1,100 students and completed 1,500+ instructional hours in Philadelphia, Camden, N.J. and Delaware.

Learn more about CbK here or by following the organization on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

About 1Philadelphia
1Philadelphia is a Coded by Kids initiative. 1Philadelphia’s exists to make Philadelphia the capital of equitable tech and innovation by creating an unstoppable network of education, resources, and support to empower underrepresented people in tech and innovation. 1Philadelphia connects funders, employers, schools and community organizations to build an equitable tech and innovation ecosystem to help young people succeed while simultaneously diversifying the tech talent pipeline. Learn more at onephl.org.

About Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Ben Franklin) is the Philadelphia region’s Partners with a Purpose. Nationally ranked among the most active seed and early-stage investors, Ben Franklin works to help high-growth innovative enterprises plant and nurture their roots, creating both immediate connections and lasting economic growth. As a 501(c)(3), Ben Franklin has supported more than 2,000 companies to deliver an impact of more than $5 billion and 32,000 jobs in the Philadelphia region. Whether in tech, life sciences, manufacturing, or industries and breakthroughs still yet discovered, we work each day to raise our community of innovation higher, to benefit present and future generations of Pennsylvanians. Follow us on Twitter at @bftp_sep.

About Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT)
PACT’s vision is to be the go-to resource for fast growing companies, and a driver of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Philadelphia region. PACT provides its members with valuable content and connections to capital, coaching, and customers that will accelerate their growth and success, and to collaborate with other organizations to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. www.philadelphiapact.com