2017: Top 11

The following eleven ideas were voted as the top ideas at Reinventing Delaware 2017.

The Warehouse – Revolutionizing Teen Engagement

Changing the headlines: Wilmington launches a world class co-working 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.

At The Warehouse, we are disrupting the norms of your traditional community center and breaking ground on a new, more inclusive, and collaborative teen engagement structure. Led by a comprehensive network of youth serving nonprofits housed in The Warehouse and delivering programs under one roof, Warehouse members all share the common goal of immersing teens in rigorous, intensive, and relevant experiences that will best prepare them for the workforce and higher education opportunities. Cutting edge technology will be used to foster community, empower ambition, and encourage exploration and discovery, all while driving real-time program feedback for nonprofits. With a location already secured and plans to engage both public and private partners, The Warehouse poses endless opportunities to merge up-and-coming young minds with those already professionally established in Wilmington. The Warehouse, it’s not another exploratory committee, it’s not another task force or panel, it’s the catalyst for the REAL change that Wilmington teens deserve.

Wilmington Greenbox – Reducing crime and provding food access

Through at-risk teen employment and direct access to healthy goods and fresh produce, we can reduce crime and create healthier communities.

Train, educate, and employ 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 (the Lab) works to ensure Delaware captures the lead as the Financial Technology capital of the United States and does so through holistic, community driven opportunities, co-enabled by government.

Inspired by both the job growth ignited by Delaware’s Financial Center Development Act of nearly 40 years ago, and the emergence of a new economy driven by a wave of innovation, First State Fintech Lab (the Lab) will promote a reimagining of the future economic and educational opportunities in the state, with a focus on the financial technology sector. Because of Delaware’s small size and nimble political and regulatory structure, the state offers interesting ‘laboratory’ conditions for well-justified financial services experimentations. The Lab will fulfill its mission by concentrating on three key pillars: the establishment of a government co-enabled RegLab where FinTech innovators have the regulatory flexibility to drive industry innovation; the development and integration of demand-driven, industry-responsive educational opportunities to breed and develop a FinTech talent pipeline; and an industry advocacy initiative designed to collaborate with policy leaders to reform outdated laws and regulations relevant to the sector.

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.

Global corporations, in Delaware, developing high value chemical, defense, pharmaceutical, and other technologies have experienced industrial-scale cyber compromises and intellectual property theft. In addition, Delaware is known globally as the state of advantageous corporate structures. Both can be used to first, lobby the federal government for Delaware, specifically Wilmington, to have a Regional Forensic Computer Laboratory utilized by the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies; Delaware universities already have major law enforcement training in forensics. Second, Delaware through it’s current revision of the use of Blockchain technology can formulate policy and legal frameworks to attract current banks in Delaware to develop cyber threat detection centers necessary to protect financial fraud globally. Finally, the state’s past presence in the automotive, shipping, and manufacturing industries can be revitalized by developing cybersecurity statutes that would attract companies to bring consumer manufacturing testing for IoT products, car hacking villages, and encourage foreign trade of products utilized in cybersecurity.

Incubator for Vocational Trades and Mid-Level Jobs

The proposal is to 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.

While these jobs pay well there is a perception with parents and peer group that they are lower in status so the incubator must market these programs to them. Teachers and Guidance counselors must be given an opportunity to go beyond textbook teaching to experience the work environment for which they are preparing their students and become aware of the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the STEM-focused 21st century. Such an incubator will make Delaware the preferred state to attract qualified applicants and keep the youth engaged, employed and off the streets as well as attract and benefit companies to come to Delaware.

Blockchain Accelerator in Wilmington

Develop a Blockchain Accelerator in Wilmington, DE.

Delaware has become a state that is looking to incubators and accelerators to develop homegrown talent. An area of opportunity is to have an accelerator that focuses on blockchain technologies. 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, the grow blockchain companies that can change the economic landscape of the state.

Bridging the Digital Divide

Bring high speed broadband in under served communities around Delaware, by empowering community centers to be a hub for connectivity & digital literacy.

Provide a wireless a wireless internet solution for all of Wilmington. Then, overlay digital literacy courses to explain the benefits and possibilities of using the internet to it’s fullest. Release financial barriers to internet by offering bulk, extremely affordable broadband. In parallel, this solution could potentially be another revenue stream for community centers and schools around the community.

Wilmington, DE – Gaming Industry Mecca

Make Wilmington, DE the top location in the U.S. for developing apps in the gaming industry.

By building on the great innovative work of Zip Code and Open Bracket, focus on the software development of the video gaming industry. Grow this organically with local investors and regionally located software developers. Set up an incubator for these entrepreneurs to call home, either at 1313 N. Market, or The Mill. Work on business attraction through the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and First State Innovation to find and attract existing gaming entrepreneurs and companies to move to Wilmington. Develop a branding and marketing campaign that resonates with the movers and shakers in this industry.

Summer Employment for Wilmington Young Adults

Develop a summer work collaborative with DE beach businesses that are currently importing its workforce from overseas.

Businesses – particularly hospitality, restaurant and tourism- need to scale up their workforce from June – August and September weekends. Many of these young adults are being recruited from overseas. Program would offer advance training for Wilmington young adults (17-22) and then coordinate connections (possibly a job fair) for these employers to recruit. Housing and transportation support would be comparable to what is offered to the international students.

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.

Many early stage entrepreneurs are challenged to offer health insurance to employees if they have small numbers of employees. If the state were to work with Highmark BC/BS to create attainable health insurance programs for entrepreneurs, it would become a competitive advantage for the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Delaware. This is an idea originated by members of the Delaware Entrepreneur’s Roundtable.

Digital Delaware

A centralized hub run by an independent party (non-profit or public/private) to centralize all open data for the government so the public can view it.

This will be optimized so the most important data affecting Delawareans is the easiest to retrieve. It will be a one-spot-shop for any research, reading, and news within Delaware.