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Open Works is offering $18,000 in prizes at this pitch competition

Open Works Baltimore is courting would-be entrepreneurs for a makerspace competition.

Inside the Open Works ribbon-cutting, Sept. 20, 2016. Photo by Stephen Babcock

Open Works Executive Director Will Holman is looking for nontraditional entrepreneurs.
The Station North makerspace is accepting applications for its new EnterpRISE Venture Competition, a pitch competition and bootcamp for would-be business owners in the product space.
“We’ll take all comers,” he said. “We are open to folks who wouldn’t normally see themselves as entrepreneurs and may not have a lot of experience and wouldn’t normally get involved in a competition like this.”
The $10,000 grand prize prize is eye-catching but Holman said it’s all the support leading up to the prize that would-be applicants should focus on. After the first round of pitches at the end of September, 10 entrepreneurs will be selected to for mentoring and development workshops.
Open Works is trying to set itself apart by focusing on makers and budding entrepreneurs who might need more business coaching.
“We designed this competition to encourage people who haven’t had all the resources that others might have,” Holman said, adding that most pitch competitions focus on tech and software-based ideas.
“With a very simple application form to lower the barriers to entry we are working hard to help entrepreneurs succeed with intensive mentoring and business workshops that they may not otherwise have had access to,” said Amy Bonitz, Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation president and CEO.
Five winners will be selected in November and prizes will range from $10,000 to $1,000. The five finalists will all also receive a six month membership. Funding for the competition is being provided by the Baltimore Development Corporation, TEDCO, and the Abell Foundation. Judges for the competition include officials from TEDCO, Coppin State University, MICA and TCP Ventures/Propel Baltimore.
“Open Works is a great place to grow a business, and we think it’s time to put our money where our mouth is and invest in Baltimore’s incredible talent pool,” Holman said.
Applications for EnterpRISE are due by Friday, Sept.


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