PHILADELPHIA, April 21, 2015 — Three teams from Philadelphia area high schools were named finalists, April 15, in Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams’ “Mobile Business App Challenge,” while a University of Pennsylvania resident physician won $50,000 in her school’s “AppItUp Challenge.”

DSC_2981Teams from Boys Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, William L. Sayre High School, and West Philadelphia High School made the final cut in the competition. A winner will be determined following the “Mobile Business App Challenge’s” final presentations May 7.

Ten Philadelphia high schools in Sen. William’s 8th Senatorial District were invited to submit their ideas for a new mobile business application.

“I can’t tell you how extraordinary it is for the winner, but let me tell you how significant it is for Philadelphia,” Sen. Williams, who could not attend the event because the legislature was in session, said via video message. “You are now part of a new economy generated by your generation, and you are inspiring many to look at Philadelphia differently.

“For the first time, another generation of participants are coming from high schools across Philadelphia to learn what you all have known for a long time: there’s an opportunity to grow – and foster that growth – in a mobile economy.”

Dr. Katherine Lee won the “AppItUp Challenge,” which was sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Center for Innovation and PCI Ventures. She also won $50,000 from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, one of the nation’s longest-running technology-based economic development programs.

Lee developed the DECNUT mobile app. The new technology will help healthcare professionals deliver and evaluate clinical pathways that better guide patients and improve medical treatment and care.

“Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to build a company – a community of investors, entrepreneurs, mentors, and developers,” said Karina Sotnik, director of the AppItUp program and senior consultant for PCI Ventures. “We’ve been very lucky to have the support of the local business community and Sen. Anthony Williams, who understands the value that mobile companies bring to local economies and who has been a great champion of AppItUp from day one.”

In Williams’ “Mobile Business App Challenge,” the finalists will attend workshops at the Enterprise Center over the next two weeks to develop and polish their final presentations.

Lee was picked from five Penn finalists and all made impressive presentations. Sen. Williams said it was, no doubt, a tough competition for the judges.

The winner in Sen. Williams’ “Mobile Business App Challenge” will have their business app developed; win $5,000 worth of in-kind business services for digital media strategy, web design, social media publishing; and one year of mentoring from IG Marketing.

The second- and third-place teams will each win $2,500 worth of in-kind business donations for digital media strategy, web design, social media publishing, graphic design; and online web optimization from IG Marketing (Innovation Garden).

Sayre’s finalist is Siani Paul, who was accompanied to the April 15 event by her mother and sister, Tamika and Nyaira Paul. Her business app idea would help legal services.

West Philly’s finalists are Qadeer Alkhatib, Rickyeeh Bryant, and Rafiq Stanton, and they are developing an app to help people find businesses.

And, for Boys Latin, the finalists are Kareem Owens, Jaquan Canty, Chalimar Childrey, Jinrikisha Syres, and Nasir Jones. They are working on an app to align students with great tutors.

Boys Latin finalists were accompanied to the event by the school’s CEO, Dave Hardy. West Philly students were accompanied by teacher Marie Wilkins-Walker.

“The students are excited about getting the opportunity to make their app. They also feel confident about their business plan,” said Desmond Hasty, Boys Latin Charter School’s CEO computer technology instructor and an advisor to the senator’s business app competition. “We welcome the competition and are excited about our sell sheet, presentation and the overall competition.”

“The business app challenge that Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams and staff facilitated for high school students is an amazing 21st century, real world, STEM-focused opportunity. The challenge gave my students the opportunity to collaborate in the classroom with a competitive edge,” said Wilkins-Walker.

“This real-time, real-world experience is the opportunity all students should have in preparing for successful engagement in their future,” she said.

This year’s “Mobile Business App Challenge” follows the senator’s anti-bullying app competition last year and it coincided with Philly Tech Week.

Sen. Williams thanked his competition partners, who also served as judges: The Enterprise Center, Innovation Garden, University of Penn Upstart, Drexel University Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, Temple University STEM Education, Stemnasium Mobility Solutions LLC, and Chariot Solutions.


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