10 impact-focused ventures join Johns Hopkins' Social Innovation Lab - Technical.ly Baltimore


Oct. 27, 2017 12:18 pm

10 impact-focused ventures join Johns Hopkins’ Social Innovation Lab

The social entrepreneurs are looking to make an impact from Baltimore to Tanzania.

JHU Social Innovation Lab's 2017 cohort.

(Courtesy photo)

Johns Hopkins’ Social Innovation Lab announced 10 new ventures that will participate in the program on Thursday night at its FastForward 1812 space in East Baltimore.

The six-month accelerator program provides resources and access to mentors for social entrepreneurs. It’s open to companies throughout Baltimore, and this year’s cohort is made up of five Johns Hopkins–affiliated ventures, and five that were started by residents of the wider community.

SIL head Darius Graham said the cohort of 10 startups was selected from 84 applications, which is the most the program has received to date. He added that nine ventures have leaders that are women and people of color.

Here’s a look at the companies:

Distribution Health

  • Andrew York is a resident of West Baltimore, and is focused on building a healthcare services workforce.

Mera Kitchen Collective

  • The worker-owned food cooperative is operated by refugees and immigrants who settled in Baltimore. It’s focused on sharing food, as well as stories.

Hosts for Humanity

  • Jenny Owens started a nonprofit to help families traveling to receive medical care connect with volunteer hosts who can provide a place to stay.


  • Ava Pipitone and Max Goodman launched their service that applies an AirBnB-like model to address homelessness at Startup Weekend in D.C. over the summer, and are continuing development in their home city of Baltimore.


  • Bridget Nistico is building a venture that will provide workforce development training to female returning citizens.

The Growing Minds Initiative

  • JHU undergrad Victoria Roberts started this venture in Tanzania to create sustainable farms that will fund healthcare and education for orphaned and vulnerable children.

Neighbour, Neighbour

  • Zindzi Thompson, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in D.C., is creating an app to help people make more informed decisions about personal safety in Trinidad and Tobago, which has one of the world’s highest murder rates.

BeeMore Cooperative

  • Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth is a beekeeper in the city, she is looking to spread the practice.


  • A full-face, transparent mask that can help reduce medical errors. The team started with the deaf and hard of hearing, and is looking to spread it to other groups.

Active Bedsore Prevention System

  • The MedHacks winners are looking to continue building out their device that has sensors and the ability to relieve pressure on specific areas of a mattress.





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