October 21, 2022

These Programs Are Helping Philadelphia’s Entrepreneurs Connect And Thrive

Mentor Connect is a mentorship program that eliminates the loneliness of being an entrepreneur. 

The mentorship program, sponsored by Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT), currently has over 200 mentees and 130 mentors in its network. 

The network aims to provide a positive community for entrepreneurs to grow and connect with like-minded people. Not only does it give them space to share their concerns and issues, but it also helps provide them with a reliable network they can lean on in their time of need. 

“We always say being a CEO is a lonely job. They don’t have someone to bounce ideas off, to talk about things that are keeping them up at night,” said Jennifer Cohen, the director of Mentor Connect, in an interview.

“This is that group that can talk about anything with because the mentors have been there. They’ve been in their shoes; they understand what it takes.” 

Supporting historically underrepresented entrepreneurs

Mentor Connect has also partnered with the City of Philadelphia’s Most Diverse Tech Hub and Coded by Kids’ 1Philadelphia initiative to support underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Sylvester Mobley sitting on desk

Sylvester Mobley (Credit:  Chris Kendig Photography)

Founded by Sylvester Mobley, 1Philadelphia works to connect funders, employers, schools, and community organizations together to help young people succeed while simultaneously diversifying the tech talent pipeline.

“The vision of 1Philadelphia can only come to life through partnerships like these,” said Sylvester Mobley, the driving force behind the 1Philadelphia initiative.

“I’m grateful that Ben Franklin and PACT have recognized the need – and have stepped up to provide valuable opportunities for underrepresented people in the tech and innovation space within our city that otherwise may not have been available.”

Through the partnership, underrepresented people in tech will be able to join the Mentor Connect program to receive impartial and unbiased advice. Additionally, Mentor Connect’s program will help them to connect with a pool of diverse talent to further support their growth.

Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.