Through the 1Philadelphia initiative, Coded by Kids partnered with BUILD.org for the second year of the Innovation League. This program is designed for entrepreneurial and creative Philadelphia high school students, looking to build their entrepreneurship skills and solve problems in their community.
“We are here to empower our students … and have them know that there is room for them in the innovation and tech space, and that is what this league provides.” — Veronica Barrington-Davis, CBK Service Designer
So what is the Innovation League? Similar to a traditional sports league, students attend weekly practices led by tech mentors and build their technology, leadership, and social skills. Teams of students are asked to work together and build a business to solve a problem.
"Immediately after reading the description of the competition I signed up right away, it seemed like a perfect fit for me to discover something new about myself." - Ayan
During the course of the program, our students followed BUILD’s lessons, developed relationships with our coaches, had volunteers visit from Seer, TD Bank, and Penn Mutual, and went on a field trip to the TD Bank Workshop. Mentorship is a huge part of our programming, and we are so grateful to our industry partners for making this happen.
Innovation League coach, Draft Studios UI/UX Designer, and former CBK Intern Jocelyn Chui was excited to participate to pass along her experiences. “The Innovation League program mirrors what I did this past summer for Draft Studios. Part of me volunteered to be a coach because I wanted to pass those experiences along, and the other part of me wanted to see students younger than me succeed,” she said. “It’s a privilege to be able to participate in such a program with amazing people teaching and a stellar curriculum.” Learn more about Jocelyn’s CBK experience and the advice she has to the Innovation League students here.
Coming from different backgrounds and levels of tech knowledge, our students brought their unique perspectives to the Innovation League. Some have participated in previous CBK programs like Tahsin Z. who won our 2022 Ctrl+Shift coding competition with his website Trees@Philly, Khilola S. took part in this past summers Tech and Innovation Internship, and Tino K. learned to code in CBK Academy.
They all had different reasons for participating. Tahsin Z. wanted to learn more about the interconnection of tech and business and the process of creating ideas for tech startups. While Sultan S. wanted to expand his web development and UI/UX knowledge to help in his pursuit of a computer science degree and career.
Just like any sports league, we need a championship event. During 1Philadelphia’s Innovation Weekend the teams presented their projects at the Innovation Bowl and we are thrilled to announce the winners:
1st Place: Team Orbit
2nd Place: Team Winx
3rd Place: Team Star Platinum
Honorable Mention: Team M&Ms
1st Place: Team Orbit
Orbit is a platform that brings together high school students, nonprofits and donors. Students are able to use the platform to find volunteering and educational opportunities shared by non-profits. Once the students find an opportunity and start participating, they earn points which they can redeem for scholarships and stipends provided by donors.
Hoping to build on their previous CBK experiences, Tino and Tahsin entered the Innovation League to learn about the interconnection of tech and business. “CBK has definitely inspired me to look into different careers in tech,” Tino said. “Participating in its programs has shown me how impactful the business and tech sectors can be in solving the problems around us, especially when they’re put together.”
“Participating in the Innovation League has further advanced my interest in the business side of tech and has led me to look for problems I can solve using my skills as a programmer.” — Tahsin Z.
Tahsin is not new to Coded by Kids. Learn more about the high school junior and how he has taken advantage of every CBK opportunity over the past year — excelling every step of the way.
2nd Place: Team Winx
Team Winx worked on a project called Commune, an app that connects communities. Members are able to find and share local resources as well as check the safety of areas they are traversing — allowing communities to grow closer through technology.
Hoping to grow their tech skills, Team Winx entered the competition with with big goals, siting one of their challenges being the scope of their project. “While it was very easy to let our imaginations run wild we had to be realistic and find ways to condense our vision into something that could be created on time without losing any of the app’s purpose or functionality.” Sultan explained. “I couldn’t be any more proud of my teammates, I am just happy with what we accomplished.” Khilola added.
3rd Place: Team Platinum
Thinking about the safety of her peers, Ayan’s project focused on students who take public transit. To offer a sense of security whilst traveling to and from school, Project Platinum features a “Buddy System” where it pairs students who take similar transit routes.
Ayan came into the Innovation League looking to discover something new about herself. “I wanted to learn how to cater to clients in an effective and intriguing way,” she told us. “All my expectations were met once joining the league.”
“During my time in the Innovation League I learned about what it really meant to be innovative. Innovation was a term I was unfamiliar with but through the classes and mentors I feel like I really blossomed.” — Ayan A.
Lessons from the League
What did these future entrepreneurs take away from the Innovation League? From practical lessons about the tech and startup space to self reflection, we saw so much growth in the students.
“CBK has made me realize that there is a space for young people of color like me and my teammates to come together and create something that can impact our community in a positive way.” — Sultan S.
Tahsin learned the skill of solving problems for client. “As a programmer I normally build what appeals to me, but during Innovation League we were tasked with considering someone else’s life, beliefs, and wants,” he explained. “The extra variables made everything a bit more difficult but going through the process was really fun and valuable.” While Ayan learned not to give up, “I learned you must be resilient and strive for a goal in order to succeed.”
The Innovation League was made possible by contributions from our sponsors: TD Bank, Comcast NBC Universal, Penn Mutual, Comic Relief, Boss Tech, SEI, Seer Interactive, Listrak, Independence Blue Cross, WSFS Bank, Guru, and Morgan Lewis.
Interested in sponsoring future programs? Contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.