As of this week, 15 entrepreneurs from Maryland’s main population centers are participating in a 10-month pilot leadership course, courtesy of Maryland funding agency TEDCO.
The Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence and Leading Women’s Program were both created in partnership with government agencies and universities working in Howard County and Montgomery County, respectively. The programs are designed to help local women founders grow their startups, expand networks and increase their leadership skills. To qualify, applicants needed to be a founder, cofounder or CEO of a company in the pre-seed to growth stage phases that raised nothing beyond a Series A.
The selectees for the Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence cohort are:
- Adeola Ajani of Fem Equity
- Tricia Clarke
- Shannon Collins
- Malaika Dirieh
- Modupe Eyo
- Imani Hasell
- Sabrina Mapp
- Tiffany Page
- Denise Rollins
- Nik Sweeney
And the Leading Women’s Program cohort:
- Sue Carr
- Hannah Dibonage
- Joyce Fields
- Jeannine Melican
- Raquel Vazquez
“The team at TEDCO is excited to get to work with these two cohorts of women entrepreneurs and our collaboration partners,” said Linda Singh, executive director for TEDCO’s overall Women Entrepreneurs Leadership Programs, in a statement. “The participants will benefit from both the program offerings and our cohort model, where they’ll have the opportunity to collaborate, grow their networks and navigate the local innovation ecosystem together. It’s a winning combination for the leaders, their companies and, ultimately, the state of Maryland.”
The Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence program is based in Howard County and works in partnership with the county government, as well as Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore — Maryland’s four public historically Black colleges and universities. Participants will take part in programming at the Maryland Innovation Center in Columbia, Maryland. Through the program, the collegiate partners will work with participants on research, tech transfer, education and network-building. TEDCO also hopes that this will build an alliance of founders and CEOs that will expand across the state in the future.
The Leading Women’s Program, on the other hand, was created in partnership with the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC). Tech-focused women founders started meeting this year, and the 10-month program is a mix of virtual and in-person courses at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland.
“Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation is excited to collaborate with TEDCO on this growth opportunity for women in our local tech start-up community,” said Bill Tompkins, president and CEO of MCEDC. “Montgomery County is Maryland’s most populous county, with women-owned businesses continuing to fuel the economy. With the Leading Women’s Program, we’re investing in innovative entrepreneurs who choose to start and grow their companies right here in the county.”
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