Regional leaders and entrepreneurs are planning Philadelphia’s first city-wide innovation festival, B.PHL.

“We know that fundamental to a free republic is free enterprise and fundamental to a free enterprise is innovation — that creativity — that notion that one idea from one individual, born here in Philadelphia, can spawn amazing, outrageous results on the global stage,” said Rob Wonderling, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.

“We can’t wait to get to October where we’re going to trumpet from the mountaintops that this is Philadelphia’s moment. This is where you want to come to create, innovate and be part of something that will [forever] be recognized as the most satisfying, rewarding and earth-shattering work known to mankind.”

Festival organizers are partnering with and highlighting entrepreneurs, individual innovators, leading colleges and universities, large and small nonprofits, Fortune 500 companies and community outreach organizations throughout the region.

During the three-day festival slated for Oct. 15-17, locations around Philadelphia will host experiential workshops, speakers and exhibits that showcase innovation in health care, technology, engineering, art, music and film.

Some of the region’s innovators expressed their support for the upcoming event and gave some insight into their work during a press conference Monday.

“I think that B.PHL will inspire countless people, from students to researchers to even large corporations, to finally take that first step and test some of these ideas that have been incubating in the back of their minds,” said Rui Jing Jiang, co-founder and CEO of Avisi Technologies. Her company is working to find a solution for glaucoma.

“By sharing real stories, B.PHL will be able to help people realize that everyone has the ability to innovate — to make something better than the way it was before,” she said. “I think too often innovation is cast in a very exclusive light. We hear stories of a handful of overnight successes by college dropouts or massive exits by a gifted few, but what B.PHL will help show is that innovation can happen and is happening in your communities every day.”

Marques Colston, founder and managing partner of Dynasty Innovation and managing director of the Center for Innovation at Virtua Health, pointed to Philadelphia’s colleges and universities, medical institutions and sports teams and said he thinks the city is poised to become a center of innovation.

The organizers of B.PHL also are working to make sure attendees at the festival come from diverse backgrounds. For each badge an attendee buys to access festival events, B.PHL will donate a badge to an organization in the city.

A portion of the festival’s proceeds will support innovation education in Philadelphia public schools.

For registration information, visit bphlfest.com.

ajones@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5747

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