Posted March 28, 2008

Competition aims to increase high school tech literacy, entrepreneurship


Temple is joining the City and School District of Philadelphia and state Sen. LeAnna M. Washington’s office in an effort to promote technology literacy and entrepreneurship among high school students through a business plan competition.

The competition, held in conjunction with the Preparing Tomorrow’s Innovative Leaders Technology Symposium, aims to provide students with a real-life experience that develops their ability to work in teams, communicate and present ideas in a formal setting.

Teams of high school students, in collaboration with their teachers, are to draft a business plan that addresses a market problem or business opportunity. Winners will be selected on the commercial viability of their venture based on the target market and business sustainability. The winning team will receive $500, the second-place team $300 and the third-place team $200.

The winners will present their plans to a panel of entrepreneur and venture financing professionals during the second annual Technology Symposium at Temple on June 12. The symposium is sponsored by Washington, the Mayor’s Commission on Technology, the School District of Philadelphia’s Secondary Robotics Initiative, Temple University, the Fox School of Business’ Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute, the College of Engineering and the College of Science and Technology.

“The objective of the competition is to expose Philadelphia students to the practical applications of [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] education, higher education and entrepreneurship,” according to Carole I. Smith, executive director of the Mayor’s Commission On Technology. “Student teams will be responsible for drafting business plans focused on a technology need they identify in their community.”

Through a partnership with the IEI, the teams will receive professional guidance and coaching through online collaboration with the IEI’s leadership.

“By inspiring, motivating and encouraging students from the Philadelphia School District to consider becoming technology entrepreneurs, while helping them control their careers, create wealth and stay local, the competition is a good investment of our time and money,” said Chris Pavlides, the IEI’s executive director.

Each student team will also receive coaching assistance from the Minority Angel Investor Network, an investment organization that invests in the companies of minority entrepreneurs while also providing mentoring and other support.

High schools interested in participating in the competition should contact Velda Morris, robotics education specialist at the Office of College and Career Awareness, School District of Philadelphia, at 215-400-4130 or

—Written by Jacqui Jenkins

For the Temple Times