Philadelphia, June 4, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the successful completion of the first cohort of FastFWD, a collaboration between the City, GoodCompany Group, a social enterprise accelerator, and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative that seeks innovative solutions to long-standing urban challenges, entrepreneurs, naming the first three pilot project winning ideas. FastFWD invited entrepreneurs to offer their most innovative public safety solutions, services and products for consideration.
Additionally, Mayor Nutter called for idea submissions to form a second FastFWD cohort, which will launch in September. Applicants to the second cycle of FastFwd are asked to submit ideas that address community stability as part of a public safety response or public safety.
“The first cycle of the FastFWD project highlighted the enormous opportunity for, and subsequent entrepreneurial response to, innovation in the public safety sector,” said Mayor Nutter. “We are excited to continue this program for a second round this fall and hope to expand our definition of ‘public safety’ by asking applicants to address some of the underlying causes of violence and crime in our communities, like substance abuse, housing stability and educational attainment.”
The City of Philadelphia will support three business ideas chosen for implementation from the first cohort:
- Jail Education Solutions, a tablet-based educational program for incarcerated individuals to improve inmate outcomes and decrease rates of recidivism;
- Textizen, a web-based solution to automate SMS text messages for easy communication with individuals served by re-entry, parole and other human services organizations that work with at-risk populations; and
- Village Defense, a text/phone call/email alert system for residents to report incidents in their neighborhood either anonymously through a smart phone application or to a 24/7 professionally-trained staff.
The second FastFWD accelerator will run from September 11, 2014 – December 11, 2014. Preliminary applications are due by July 18, 2014.
As with the first cohort, ten finalists will be selected to participate in an intensive, twelve-week accelerator program. During the program, finalists will refine their proposal under the guidance of legal counsel, 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 more information on FastFWD, including the application, log onto http://fast-fwd.org.
FastFWD is a partnership between the City of Philadelphia, GoodCompany Group, a social enterprise accelerator, and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. FastFWD was created through the City of Philadelphia’s participation in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. Bloomberg Philanthropies will fund the first two issue areas to be tackled by FastFWD.