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Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News
Local leaders and partners of the first-ever B.PHL innovation festival happening in Philadelphia this coming October. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News

Philadelphia presents B.PHL, a city-wide innovation festival

The B.PHL innovation festival will ignite ideas from entrepreneurs and innovators spanning across various fields.

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“Ideas originate right here in Philadelphia.”

This is what Independence Health Group CEO, Daniel J. Hilferty, said during the opening of the kick-off event for the upcoming city-wide innovation festival, B.PHL

The name, B.PHL, is in tribute to Ben Franklin, whom Hilferty called “the first great innovator.”

The three-day festival is a collaboration between Independence Blue Cross, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, and several other partnering local organizations.

It will function to bring together and highlight world-class ideas of innovation from various fields, including healthcare, business, media, the arts, education, government, and more. 

“We’re here to celebrate,” said Hilferty. “The time is right for us here in Philadelphia—even long overdue. We are becoming an innovation destination that ranks among the top, not only in this country, but in the world.” 

Sheila Hess, City Representative for the City of Philadelphia, shared a similar sentiment about the impact this innovation festival can have.

“This is an exciting event that should inspire some incredible development and positive change in our city,” she said. 

With Philadelphia’s history as the birthplace of the U.S. Marine Corps, and home of the country’s first library, hospital, zoo, and more, the concept of innovation isn’t leaving the city anytime soon. 

“Fundamental to a free republic is free enterprise. Fundamental to free enterprise is innovation,” Rob Wonderling, President & CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, said. 

One of the other speakers at the kick-off event was former professional football player and Super Bowl Champion Marques Colston

During the latter part of his NFL career, Colston became an entrepreneur as the founder and managing partner of Dynasty Innovation, a professional services firm designed to fuel business growth. For Colston, his life has been driven by innovation for the last 15 to 20 years. He's constantly looking to find new ways to solve existing problems. 

“I think a lot of times, when you hear the term ‘innovation’, in your mind, it has a technology angle to it,” Colston said. “But ultimately, it’s taking and leveraging what’s unique about you and what assets that you have that are differentiators, and using them and leveraging them to solve problems and challenges.”

To this end, Rui Jing Jiang, co-founder and CEO of Avisi Technologies, a pre-clinical stage company, is taking the charge in developing a cure to treat mid to late-stage glaucoma, one of the world’s leading cause of blindness. 

She credited the founding of Avisi to "a healthy dose of curiosity" and "a network that encouraged [her and her co-founder] to thrive."

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These are the types of groundbreaking ideas that will be shared throughout the festival. 

“B.PHL will help people realize that everyone has the ability to innovate, to make something better than the way it was before,” said Jiang.

These ideas will be aided by the community, entrepreneurs and supporters who will be in attendance at the event. 

“History shows, when people come together in our city, to really discuss the new ways of doing things, you can change the world, and this is what we are going to do,” said Hess.

The B.PHL festival will take place from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17. For more information, click here

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