There are many challenges facing potential founders across Pennsylvania, including a lack of knowledge about entrepreneurship; limited availability of capital; a lack of access to specialized resources, networks, and support systems; and limited opportunities for engagement from experienced advisers and businesspeople.

For people of color and women entrepreneurs, these barriers are often higher, with a disproportionate lack of capital and more limited networks, connections, and access to resources in the startup and funding communities. Research continues to reinforce that these barriers hold back founders.

In the summer of 2022, Ben Franklin Northeast launched the Aspiring Innovators Initiative (formerly known as the New Generation Tech Internship Program).

  • Mission: Enhance the diversity of our region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by creating career pathways for underrepresented groups
  • Strategy:
    • Outreach: Collaborate with ecosystem partners, schools and universities, and regional organizations to promote entrepreneurship and technology careers for women and people of color
    • Internships: Facilitate a full-time, paid summer internship program that connects college students from underrepresented groups with our clients, including technology startups, established manufacturers, and our business incubator network. The client receives $5,000 to fund the internship.
  • Vision: Foster a more inclusive and equitable workforce and inspire the next generation of female founders and founders of color by supporting them with the experiences and resources needed to succeed

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To sponsor the initiative, please contact: Angelo Valletta, President and CEO at 610.758.5211