Where others see problems, social entrepreneurs see opportunity. That’s the premise behind FastFWD – a collaboration among the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, the City of Philadelphia, and Good Company Group.
Through FastFWD, the City of Philadelphia has issued an invitation to innovators across the world: Come to Philadelphia to develop and launch entrepreneurial solutions to the City’s most challenging and expensive problems, starting with the public safety challenges.
“Wharton Social Impact Initiative is thrilled to be helping the city in spurring entrepreneurial solutions to urban challenges. The FastFWD process represents a cutting-edge approach, linking business, city government and the University to create sustainable solutions,” says Katherine Klein, Vice Dean for the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. “There’s a palpable sense of excitement and optimism among all who are participating in this process, including the Mayor – a Wharton alum – and his team.”
Over a dozen Wharton students and have been engaged in the project since its inception, conducting vital research and project support through the Wharton Social Impact Fellowship.
Starting this month, FastFWD invites entrepreneurs to offer their most innovative public safety solutions, services and products for consideration. Entrepreneurs who submit the most promising ideas will receive funding, development support and access to experts to help refine and implement their ideas.
“As cities face greater challenges with increasingly fewer resources, the need for entrepreneurial innovation has never been greater,” explains Story Bellows, Co-Director, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. “With the launch of FastFWD, we are calling on entrepreneurs to submit their brightest and boldest ideas for consideration. We look forward to seeing the depth of talent and creativity they have to offer.”
Ten finalists will be selected in spring 2014 to participate in an intensive, twelve-week accelerator program. During the program, finalists will refine their proposal under the guidance of investors, industry experts and fellow entrepreneurs. Finalists who enter the accelerator program will receive $10,000 stipends provided by FastFWD.
Upon completion of the accelerator program, the finalists’ proposals will be eligible for implementation as a fast-track funded pilot.
- For instructions on how and when to apply, visit http://fast-fwd.org.
- For more on FastFWD involvement from a Wharton student perspective, see Jay Lundy’s blog post here.
- Read about the program in Fast Company, or view discussion of FastFWD on Fox Business.
- On Newsworks WHYY, Zack Seward recaps October’s Big Think convening and call-to-action for entrepreneurs.