Entrepreneurs that started companies while studying in college have been making big moves recently.
Renalert, which took home the $25,000 top prize at Beta City, was founded by Aaron Chang while he was a student at Johns Hopkins. MindStand Technologies, a student-led venture out of UMBC which uses AI to prevent online harassment, recently secured its first customer and seed funding. And let’s not forget the success of Tsao Baltimore, a luxury watch company founded out of the University of Baltimore, that blew past its Kickstarter goal for their second watch line in February.
Many of Baltimore’s top entrepreneurs came out of Maryland’s colleges and universities, and Innov8MD is looking to support the next generation of Maryland’s entrepreneurs and changemakers. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Innov8MD exists to provide Maryland’s student entrepreneurs with the mentorship, resources, and connections that they need to build thriving ventures.
With the upcoming Baltimore & Beyond Conference on Nov. 8 at 1100 Wicomico, Innov8MD is supporting local student entrepreneurs in three big ways:
This year’s Baltimore & Beyond Conference is set to attract 500 attendees, including students from over 15 local colleges and universities and local leaders in Maryland’s innovation, business and education communities. This translates to exposure to the 50 student-led ventures that are selected to showcase at the conference. The showcase is open to ventures from any of Maryland’s higher educational institutions led by students at any level of education (interested ventures can apply here.)
Not only do the selected ventures, which include local artists, get to meet potential investors and mentors, they also have the ability to actually sell their products and take pre-orders at the event.
Funding and Professional Services
Additionally, this year Innov8MD is stepping it up even more: Each participating venture is in the running for the inaugural Crowd’s Choice Award. This will give one student venture a $500 cash grant and $5,000 in in-kind support services — including legal advice, coworking space, and financial model services — to help grow their venture. This award is the first step towards Innov8MD’s broader goal of eventually being able to support student ventures through small grants, especially for students who may not have access to non-dilutive funding at their college or university.
Everyone knows that one of the keys to building a successful venture is surrounding yourself with strong mentors. However, it can be difficult for students to find mentors that they need at their college or university alone. That’s why Innov8MD puts a strong focus on connecting students to industry experts from across the state. This year, Baltimore & Beyond is offering speed mentoring so that students can quickly meet a variety of potential mentors to help them with their ventures. While we know that every match won’t be a perfect fit, by increasing the collision rate between talented people, we’re setting the stage for some long-lasting mentor-mentee relationships.
Want to help Innov8MD support Maryland’s next generation of entrepreneurs? Come to the Baltimore & Beyond Conference and explore the amazing ventures that our young entrepreneurs are building. Listen to noted speakers, enjoy great food and maybe even find your next investment. You can register today with code Technical.ly19 to enjoy 25% off any ticket price, with all proceeds going directly towards supporting Maryland’s student entrepreneurs.
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