Tech Rising “Tech Idea Incubator” Fund
Tech Rising, an initiative led by the AvidXchange Foundation in partnership with 20+ local corporations, strives to create Digital Equity in Charlotte through strategic engagement with the Center for Digital Equity, as well as other local government, academic and nonprofit partnerships.
The third annual Tech Rising Summit presented by AvidXchange and Ally Financial on April 6, 2023 at AvidXchange headquarters brought these parties together again to provide a framework to keep all parties involved and moving forward towards making Mecklenburg County the most digitally equitable community in America.
In an effort to help foster innovative ideas from nonprofit organizations that are helping to create digital equity, the “Tech Idea Incubator” Fund was created as part of the Tech Rising Summit to seed creative and innovative ideas that could eventually become larger initiatives in the future.
There were seven, $5K grants provided and funded by the following corporate partners: Equitable Foundation, Google Fiber, LendingTree, Lowe’s, Duke Energy, Honeywell and Ally Financial.
Below is an overview of the five grantees who received Tech Idea Incubator funding and their results.
Overview of the grantees:
- Digi-Bridge: Digi-Bridge aspires to create a generation of well-equipped 21st century learners.
- Tech Idea: Create a Summer STEAM immersive and engaging 5-week camp for middle school scholars from local Title-1 schools, focusing on the exciting realm of 3D design and printing. During the camp, scholars will have the opportunity to explore the world of orthopedic brace design and create a prototype for either the spine or wrist and hand.
- Results: 21 Title 1, middle school students participated and had the opportunity to build their skills through having their own dedicated device, learning digital and robotics skills and building their confidence through team work.
- Dottie Rose Foundation: Serves to connect the dots within the technology and computer science sphere to educate, support, and inspire the next generation.
- Tech Idea: They created the Summer of Cyber program to not only increase girls confidence in their tech skills which is typically a male dominated field . They also taught girls about NFTs, cyber security and protection.
- Results: 20 students participated and were very impacted by the program including going home to make sure their passwords were secure. Additionally, three of the girls are now interested in pursuing this as a degree in college.
- Do Greater Charlotte: Empowers communities to do greater by facilitating exposure and access to creativity, technology, and entrepreneurship. They provide quality tools, a creative space and a nurturing community so underserved and under-resourced communities can turn their ideas into future opportunities.
- Tech Idea: Creative Quest Camp for middle schoolers and had the chance to explore music production, photography, graphic design, architecture, interior design, and design-thinking.
- Results: 15 students were able to attend the camp including Markea who was able to explore his interest in being a DJ and learn about the creative business and marketing process of this work. Through the field trips to creative offices they were exposed to the possibilities of what types of careers and opportunities are possible.
- Hack & Hustle Social Entrepreneurship Academy: They are a workforce development program that was created to enhance traditional mentoring by integrating technology and entrepreneurial skills development, life lessons from Hip Hop culture, and mental wellness through meditation into a single program
- Tech Idea: Our Tech Idea allowed scholars to learn about and gain hands-on training with the Runlinc Internet of Things (IoT) device. The Runlinc device is a new device that incorporates a webpage inside a Wi-Fi chip which provides functions such as sensing, data logging, control, Internet of Things, and AI.
- Results: 23 students registered for this hybrid experience but ultimately only 11 were able to complete due to technology challenges or homelessness. For those that were able to complete they built an alarm system, smart light and AI Image identification. This opportunity exposed these students to an emerging technology field that is worth $650B by 2026.
- Raise a Child of the Carolinas: Believes that by exposing youth to educational opportunities that are underrepresented in our communities, it grants them the power to shape the future generations to come.
- Tech Idea: For the RACC Project Scientist STEAM Afterschool Club these funds allowed for improved technology and extra space for the girls that participated to have a much better learning experience.
- Results: Overall they impacted 20 girls but 3rd grader Kailee shared that her favorite part about this year's program is that she doesn't have to "talk to the teacher on the tv; I like that the teacher is in the class with us and this new classroom is bigger."
- First Gen Success: are working to close the gender disparity gap by inspiring young girls (junior and senior level of high school) who will be the first in their family to graduate from a degree program.
- Tech Idea: The funding allows scholars to access the technology and resources to create webpages, learn coding, develop websites, and invite guest speakers and industry experts to the STEM career panel. Our students were excited to build websites, showcase their creativity, and learn more about STEM.
- Results: Their cohort of 20 scholars shared their web pages with at least 5 additional college bound students allowing the impact to increase to 100 students and creating an environment of engagement and support within the college-bound community.
- Black in Technology: The Blacks in Technology Foundation Charlotte chapter and YWCA of Central Carolinas have partnered together to create a digital literacy course which will equip women with varying levels of computing experience with fundamental information on the basics of computing in today's modern world.
- Tech Idea: Create an 8-week technology course to introduce YWCA Women in Transition participants to basic computer concepts, including fundamental functions and operations of the computer, internet and email.
If you would like to learn more about Tech Rising, please contact Rob Phocas the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at AvidXchange.