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Tech Rising "Tech Idea Incubator" Fund

 

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 second annual Tech Rising  Summit presented by AvidXchange and Equitable Foundation on April 6th 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: The Equitable Foundation, Google Fiber, LendingTree, Duke Energy, Lowe’s, EY, Ally Financial, and Corning.

Below is an overview of the seven grantees who received Tech Idea Incubator funding and their results.

Overview of the grantees:

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  • Digi-Bridge: Digi-Bridge aspires to create a generation of well-equipped 21st century learners.

    • Tech Idea: Digi-Bridge in partnership with Metrolina Association for the Blind joined together to create a “technology for good” challenge to provide 3D designed and printed cane tips for individuals with vision loss in the Charlotte area.

    • Results: 19 Students participated and they really appreciated the exposure to different groups like the Novant Innovation lab, Mign design and working with Metrolina Association for the Blind to grow their empathy and skills in human-centered solutions.

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  • 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 utilized technology to address the problem of hunger. Students engaged in creating their own hydroponic lab, learn about latest technological innovations working to provide more food options, and ideate ideas.

    • Results: 20 students participated and the funding allowed for more field trips which proved to be essential to the girls learning including a visit to a farm to actually see the farming processes. One of our students was living in a hotel with her family. She was blown away by the thought that she could grow fresh food with the hydroponic kit. It was a way for family to have access to vegetables that they never could have had before.

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  • 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: They brought their CRTV Lab Mobile Truck to five communities within Charlotte’s identified Corridors of Opportunity. Facilitating 1-2 hour creative huddles with middle school and high school students exposing students to technology through a creative challenge, and promoting digital proficiency. 

    • Results: The tour impacted 75 students across various summer camps, exposing students to technology, while also teaching valuable skills in creative and critical thinking. Students gained a deeper understanding of the design-thinking process, branding, and graphic design and were exposed to professionals in the creative field.

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  • 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: Expanding their STEM program for underserved, at-risk youth to obtain STEM kits and train student teachers to help teach our scholars.

    • Results:  13 students had the opportunity to work on sub projects in the  LINGO Tech Made Easy Kit to write and test programs that focus on renewable energy projects. In addition to the STEM kit projects, scholars also learned Python 3, robotics and the Raspberry Pi, an introduction to electrical engineering, AI & ML, created a pitch for the Entrepreneurial Challenge, learned about inventors and innovators that look like our demographic. Plus,  mental health wellness and meditation.  

  • INTech Foundation: Their mission is to inform and inspire girls to innovate in the technology industry. 

    • Tech Idea: The Youth Incubator for Girls

    • Results:  They worked with  2 girls to help us develop the the Youth Incubator program that will eventually impact 20 girls. Through this effort they gained insight into what our students really want to learn which is the business and social justice aspects rather  than hard tech skill building and technique refinement.

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  • 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:  In partnership with Sugar Creek Charter School and Flying Classroom, they immersed 6th-8th grade students into the exploration of Life Science, Physical Science, and Technology through their S.T.R.E.A.M+ Club.

    • Results: They provided 60 students with modern laptops equipped with high-speed internet access and exposed them to innovative lessons, activities, and careers in Biomedical Science, Video Game Development and Coding, Physical Science and Technology, and Environmental Sustainability.

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  • Queen City Robotics: Queen City Robotics Alliance is nurturing the future workforce by providing practical and hands-on STEM experiences for local youth. They  are using the FIRST robotics program where students build robots to compete in team events. 

    • Tech Idea:  They needed purchase additional computers from E2D to expand our virtual summer camp to enable students without computer access to attend the virtual summer camps.

    • Results: 90 middle school students participated in our "Coding for Robots" summer camps. Students learned coding through hands-on problem solving to tackle challenges and have fun at the same time. 90% of participants said they are more excited about engineering, computer programming, and coding after the camp. 

  If you would like to learn more about Tech Rising, please contact Rob Phocas the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at AvidXchange.

 
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