Diversity & Inclusion
Accelerators / Communities / Innovation / Nonprofits / Startups

10 impact-focused ventures enter Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab

The 2018-19 cohort of the accelerator for social enterprises includes teams addressing challenges in health, education and more.

Inside Johns Hopkins' FastForward 1812. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Johns Hopkins’ Social Innovation Lab is kicking off a new cohort of early-stage social enterprises addressing challenges around education, health and blight, among others.
The teams behind the 10 startups and nonprofits are entering a six month accelerator program that provides resources and mentoring to ventures both from Baltimore and JHU students. SIL Director Alex Riehm said 109 applications were submitted for this year’s class, with 70 percent coming from the community.
“This has been our most competitive process ever,” Riehm said, adding that it’s a reflection of the talent in Baltimore. The ventures are past the idea stage, and Riehm also said SIL also seeks to bring together a diverse set of voices that can provide support to each other. Eight of the teams are led by women, and eight are led people of color.
A new addition to the curriculum this year centers around the customer discovery process, Riehm said, as the entrepreneurs are being challenged to do 40 interviews with people who could benefit from the solution, or become a partner or funder. They’ll meet weekly for sessions and events, leading up to a pitch night to close it out in the spring.
Here’s a look at the cohort, with info provided by SIL:

Ars Medica

The social venture seeks to promote dialogue among the arts and sciences to enhance the quality of medical education. Team members include Javier de la Maza, Marielle Bugayong, Jianyi Nie and Taj Keshav.

Ask Rose

Helmed by Kavi Misrilall, Ask Rose simplifies the way patients seek and receive mental-health care.

Baltimore Farm to Clinic Project

The Farm to Clinic Project works with local farms in order to provide patients who struggle with chronic medical conditions and food insecurity with fresh vegetables. The team includes Kate Rediger, Bailey Miles, Jon Shaw, also: Laura Harding-Fukushima, Sherrell Byrd-Arthur, Joann Williams and Brian Adams.

Baltimore Job Hunters Support Group

Led by Janet Glover-Kerkvliet, the program provides services including counseling, coaching, referral service and advocacy to assist older, long term unemployed workers.

The Be. Org

Tonee Lawson is spearheading a youth-built virtual reality device that provides social and emotional learning for youth.

Fight Blight BMore

Nneka Nnamdi leads the economic, environmental and social justice initiative addressing blight, “led by the village and informed by the data.”

Happy Teacher Revolution

Danna Thomas is building an international movement that seeks to organize and conduct mental health and wellness–focused support groups for teachers.

Health 3D

The student-run social enterprise creates 3D printed equipment to fill treatment gaps in healthcare. The team includes Jody Mou, Kirby Leo, Chris Shallal, Simon Liu, Kavya Anjur and Nicky Zhang.


Founded by Ana Rodney, the venture provides postpartum doula support to black mothers navigating a NICU experience with their child.

Roots & Raíces

The social enterprise seeks to create a platform for immigrant artists and musicians in order to “support, highlight, and celebrate the importance of immigrants in Baltimore City.” The team includes Valería Fuentes, Luz Orozco, Valentina Cabezas, Abbey Parrish, Torianne Schiff, Eunbi Kim, Eean Logan, Ariel Foster and Adriana Fuentes.

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