PHILADELPHIA – Today, Thomas Jefferson University announced the four (4) grand prize winners of the “Rise Up Philly” entrepreneurship competition. The competition tracks included Aspiring Entrepreneur; Emerging Entrepreneur; Established Entrepreneur; and Prototype Concept. Each grand prize winner was awarded $10K by the judging panels. Smaller awards, which included smaller cash awards, laptop computers; and gift cards, were awarded at the discretion of the judges.
“The City was honored to partner with Jefferson on Rise Up Philly. In this holiday season, we are even more aware that so many are feeling profound economic impact and pain. Improving the economic wellbeing of communities of color is a top priority, and more so with the collateral damage of COVID,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.
Said Jefferson President and CEO Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, “Rise Up Philly is an acknowledgement that health disparities are too much a part of the picture in our city. Our Innovation Pillar took action on this fact by working incredibly hard to move the economic needle by focusing on entrepreneurship in communities of color.”
Dr. Donna Gentile O’Donnell, who led the repositioning of Jefferson’s well-known Hackathon from a broadly focused, 3 day in-person event to a 9-day virtual event underscored the reasoning, saying “Economic wellbeing and physical wellbeing are inexorably tied together. Rise Up Philly puts a stake in the ground. It’s ground that requires much more tilling and cultivation.” Dr Rose Ritts, who managed the competition portion of the event, pointed out that winners will receive ongoing support and mentoring, saying “We want to help our winners continue to win, and to succeed.”
Rise Up Philly, focused on growing entrepreneurship in communities of color, included speakers with multiple areas of expertise; “power hour” drop-in workshops; and one-on-one mentoring sessions for participants to help them refine their concept and their presentations. Almost 300 people participated in the events, and about 60 presentations were submitted. The 20 finalist presentations concluded on Wednesday afternoon, and the winners are posted on the Rise Up Philly website, here.
The grand prize winners are:
1. Ruth Nakaar, Fudena
2. Uchenna Okere, RevitGods
3. Rai Lewis, The F.U.N. Kitchen
4. Dr. Noel B. Ramirez, Mango Tree Counseling and Consulting