Mar 15 • 3 min read
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One Temple student’s aim to make coding accessible

The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) hosted its annual Innovative Idea Competition this past fall to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into a business. Avi Knotts, CST ’25, won first place with her non-profit, Avi I.T, whose goal is to make coding financially attainable for people who cannot otherwise afford it.

Prior to starting her degree at Temple University’s College of Science and Technology, Knotts taught coding in her hometown of Wilmington, Del. At the company Code Ninjas, she would see her students fall in love with coding during free trials but lack of financial resources to keep going.

That’s when she got the idea to start her own free coding camp and find a way to make a lasting impact for her community for the better. She fell in love with coding herself and saw the passion and talent in her students get squandered by expenses. “I thought, ‘I should figure out a way for everyone to have this opportunity,’” she said. 

 The non-profit will teach kids ages 7-14 about coding by hosting a free seven-week summer camp, annual pop-up events and more. 

When she announced her venture, local small businesses and community members began raising funds and laptops for the next summer camp. “Everyone in my community was so excited about the opportunity,” said Knotts. 

Her experience gave her the skills to teach, but she needed more tools to help her venture become more organized. As she began sharing her venture with friends, more people began recommending resources across campus like the IEI. 

Through StartupTree, the platform where IEI hosts its many entrepreneurial competitions, Knotts found the Idea Competition and won. It helped provide Avi I.T with much-needed funding. “We’re in need of money for the program, especially before next summer, this fits right in,” said Knotts. 

The funding also gives Knotts the chance to expand her nonprofit. The next step for her is to partner with a group called Black Achievers at the Wilmington YMCA. This will expand courses to students who are fifteen and up from the current demographic of ages seven to fourteen. “Everyone in my community was so excited about the opportunity,” said Knotts. 

Avi I.T also now has a partnership with the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, Del., to offer an after school coding program. Knotts was also a finalist in the 5th annual Changemaker Challenge, a competition run by the IEI that provides funding opportunities to ventures aiming to make a difference in their community, and around the world. 

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) at the Fox School of Business at Temple University promotes a bold entrepreneurial and daring innovative spirit across Temple University’s 17 schools and colleges. Through a combination of inventive classroom education, workshops, conferences, customized mentorships, and events, IEI provides students the skills, resources, and courage to disrupt business as usual.

IEI is where students bravely pursue their biggest ideas and transform them into businesses that defy expectations and shake up the rules of the game. The Innovative Idea Competition helps provide new ventures created by Temple Owlpreneurs with exclusive mentorship opportunities, preparatory workshops, free resources and templates for entrepreneurs as well as cash prizes for the winners. 

CodingInnovation and Entrepreneurship InstituteInnovative Idea CompetitionSTEM