This Friday, Philly Tech Week (PTW) celebrates its eighth year of programming with 100 events around the city, ranging from panel discussions to happy hours to parties and more.
There is one major change this year, however — their mission statement.
“For the first seven years, our mission statement was to create a Philly tech community, using PTW as our rallying cry,” says Chris Wink, PTW co-founder and journalist. “There were some tech communities but there wasn’t that identity. Our original goal was to help create this identity.”
Now that this has been achieved, Wink and his team have a new set of goals.
“We’re asking, ‘How does this community challenge itself to get to new heights?,’ ‘How is it better for Philadelphia?’ and ‘How is it increasingly more inclusive?’” he says.
Given that technology is apart of all of our lives, attending Philly Tech Week is a no brainer, whether you’re an ambitious entrepreneur or simply a curious consumer. This year, nearly half of the events are free, so you really have no excuse not to attend at least one of them. Here are 11 free events to get you started.
PTW18 Kickoff Festival at Schmidt’s Commons
Friday, April 27
5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
1001 N. 2nd St.
Philly Tech Week kicks off with a big party at Schmidt’s Commons in Northern Liberties. This rain or shine event will feature an outdoor app arcade, with demos from Gossamer Games, Immersive XR, LocoRobo, Navatek and more.
Saturday, April 28
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
2025 Washington Ave.
Eager to exercise your problem-solving skills for good? NextFab has partnered with Inglis House for a daylong session of brainstorming and prototyping, in an effort to come up with solutions to the challenges faced by disabled Inglis House residents. You don’t need to have experience to attend, simply a willingness to make it happen. Given that NextFab is a workshop, be sure to wear long pants and closed toe shoes.
Female Founders Panel
Monday, April 30
2 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Juno Search Partners
1218 Chestnut St.
ChickTech Philadelphia hosts a panel discussion examining the experiences of four female entrepreneurs. Advantages and disadvantages will be explored, and panelists include Morgan Berman, Founder/CEO of Milkcrate; Tiffany Standard, Founder/CEO of Stimulus and “Lady Engineer,” Lindsay Tabas.
Tech in the Commons 2018:
Bringing AR and VR to our Neighborhoods
Monday, April 30
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
601 Walnut St.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Comcast and Generocity.org, kick off year two of Tech in the Commons, an event that offers nonprofits training in audience engagement. This year’s “bootcamp” launches over PTW, and runs for four weeks, providing training on augmented reality, data storytelling, social media for action and more. The first session focuses on bringing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to neighborhoods.
Blockchain and Hot Tech Topics
Tuesday, May 1
4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
One Logan Square
26th Floor Conference Center
This panel will explore some of the hottest trends in tech, like Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), AI & AR/VR. Speakers include RCCB attorney Ian Polonsky; Bryan Witkowski, Head of Products for Comcast’s MachineQ; Ed Zabar, CEO, Verif-y; Doug Park, Securities and ICO Attorney; Thomas DeChiaro, CIO, Drexel University; Joe Reilly, CEO, eNable Games and Dr. Jichen Zhu, Associate Professor of Digital Media and Computer Science at Drexel University.
Philly Startup Leaders Entrepreneur Expo
Tuesday, May 1
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Franklin Institute
222 N. 20th St.
Spending time at the Franklin Institute is always a good idea, but being able to get up close and personal with 100 local startups and their founders is a special opportunity. Philly Startup Leaders Entrepreneur Expo is the largest showcase of innovation and tech companies in the region, featuring over 2000 attendees.
Ideate with the Innovation Studio
Wednesday, May 2
8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Vanguard Innovation Studio
2300 Chestnut St.
Vanguard opened its 16,000-square-foot Innovation Studio last summer, and next week, you can get a tour of it, as well as score free breakfast. The Malvern, PA- based investment firm will also lead a discussion on human-centered design.
Philly Tech Week 2018 runs from Friday, April 27 through Saturday, May 5.
For more free Philly Tech Week 2018 events, visit: 2018.phillytechweek.com.