Top ideas bubble up at Reinventing Delaware dinner

The Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation announced the top ideas from its “2017 Reinventing Delaware” dinner. The annual event at 1313 Innovation on Nov. 8 brought together more than 100 thought leaders who presented their best ideas for creating jobs in the state. Attendees voted on the top 11 ideas.

“It’s humbling to see how many people choose to give of their time and creativity to be there,” said Thère du Pont, board member of the foundation. “Attendance was the largest ever and the ideas just keep getting better and better.”

The foundation hired its first executive director, Palina Ivanova, earlier this year to help organize the event and spread awareness about the foundation.

“Reinventing Delaware is not your typical dinner event,” Ivanova said. “It is structured in a way where we not only encourage dialogue around ideas for our state, but more importantly, action and collaboration.”

Vetting teams put together by the foundation will look over a few select ideas from the top 11 voted on by attendees. Over the next several months, the foundation will select a number of the ideas for additional support, whether that’s direct funding or facilitating investment from other sources.

“While the foundation will be working directly with the project leaders, a main goal in this effort is to engage the community to realize the potential impact of the ideas and get behind them as well,” Ivanova said.

The foundation will also help initiate crowd-funding campaigns through USEED, a Delaware-based startup, for select projects.

“We expect to match a certain donation level and look forward to encouraging various stakeholder contributions to this effort,” Ivanova said.

Here are the top 11 ideas:

The Warehouse — Revolutionizing Teen Engagement — Wilmington launches a world-class coworking space for nonprofits which also serves as a programming site where teens can explore, collaborate, discover their passions and develop skills needed for employment in today’s economy.

Wilmington Greenbox — We can reduce crime and create healthier communities by training, educating, and employing at-risk teens to run the daily operations of a program that creatively provides local access to affordable fresh produce and healthy goods.

First State FinTech Lab — The First State FinTech Lab works to ensureDelaware captures the lead as the financial technology capital of the United States and does so through holistic, community-driven opportunities, co-enabled by government.

Delaware: First State of Cybersecurity — Delaware’s unique stature of attracting companies to incorporate is well positioned to use that advantage to become the nation’s cybersecurity center.

Incubator for Vocational Trades and Mid-Level Jobs — Create an incubator for vocational trades and mid-levels jobs and that are in high demand such as drone pilots and diesel mechanics, IOS APP development, robotics, artificial intelligence and lab technicians.

Blockchain accelerator in Wilmington — In its role as a financial hub, many individuals come to Delaware for job opportunities in the financial services sector. We can leverage this core competency, along with the recent legislation in the Delaware Blockchain Initiative, to grow blockchain companies that can change the economic landscape of the state.

Bridging the Digital Divide — Bring high-speed broadband in underserved communities around Delaware, by empowering community centers to be a hub for connectivity and digital literacy. Provide a wireless internet solution for all of Wilmington.

Wilmington Gaming-Industry Mecca — Make Wilmington the top location in the U.S. for developing apps in the gaming industry.

Digital Delaware — Develop a centralized hub run by an independent party (nonprofit or public/private) to centralize all open data for the government so the public can view it. This will be a one-spot shop for any research, reading, and news within Delaware where the information is optimized so the most important data affecting Delawareans will be the easiest to retrieve.

Summer Employment for Wilmington Young Adults — Develop a summer work collaborative with Delaware beach businesses that are currently importing its workforce from overseas.

Attainable Health Insurance for Entrepreneurs — Work with Delaware public officials and health insurance providers to make affordable and easily procured health insurance available to early-stage entrepreneurs with few employees.

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