Professional Development

Planning your Baltimore Innovation Week schedule? Here’s a quick and dirty guide

Use this breakdown if you’re an entrepreneur, technologist or community members looking to network, raise capital or improve your skillset.

A gathering during an earlier Baltimore Innovation Week.

(Courtesy photo)

Full disclosure: ETC Baltimore is BIW's host and main organizing entity. BIW was previously organized by Technical.ly, which now serves as the event's media partner.

If you’re planning on or thinking of attending the 11th annual Baltimore Innovation Week (BIW), you’re in luck: host organization ETC Baltimore this week released the full schedule of events for the five-day celebration of technology, entrepreneurship and innovation communities in and around Baltimore.

Each of the days between Oct. 3 and 7 has something to offer startups and entrepreneurs at every stage (and in every field). Attendees can find at any event something relevant to their business.

This year’s sessions are categorized by the following tracks: Civic, Explore, Science & Education, Creative & Media, Dev, Business and Access. All events occur at the ETC’s Haven Street HQ, except for two happy hours and the open mic pitch night on the final day.

Here’s a link to the full slate of sessions, with each daily schedule running from 8:30 a.m. to as late as 9 p.m.

But if you’re looking for recommendations, here’s a quick and dirty guide of select sessions to attend according to your goals as an entrepreneur in the Baltimore tech ecosystem

Are you looking to network?

You’ll want to be there bright and early for the first day because BIW kicks off with Welcome! Coffee & Networking at the ETC. There are also two stand-out events to build your networking skills: Networking: Finding Allies and Asking for Help, hosted by Enradius (Tuesday, 9-10:20 a.m.); and Branding Your Story: How to Share a Visceral Experience (Monday, 11:50 a.m.-1:20 p.m.), hosted by Andre Bean.

In addition, every day of BIW ends with a happy hour and networking event starting at 4:30 pm.

New to Baltimore and trying to get a grasp on the scene?

These recommended sessions are for those who know the power of market research and like to measure twice and cut once. The panels collectively give an overview of where the Baltimore startup and tech ecosystem has come from, as well as where it’s going:

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Technical.ly looks back on 10 years of covering Baltimore tech and innovation (Monday, 1:40-2:30 p.m.): Our own panel with five former and current Technical.ly editorial employees speaking on the trends they’ve seen in the ecosystem over the years.

The startup studio model: capitalizing on MD’s strengths and resources to build health and med tech companies (Monday, 10:40-11:30 a.m.), hosted by MDC Studio.

Baltimore community change project 2010- 2020 (Wednesday, 12:30-1:20 p.m.): Hosted by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, this session offers a data-driven look at the tale of two Baltimores, as well as a discussion on solutions to prevent further disparity between the city’s haves and have-nots.

Trying to find funds?

Capital: The search for it is never-ending. Having enough runway to scale the way you want is a constant worry. These panels could help ease the anxiety:

Equitech with UpSurge Baltimore, Hutch, and Techstars (Tuesday, 2-5 p.m.): These three producers of local incubators are hosting a three-hour session detailing the organizations’ specific expertise in the startup scene of Baltimore. For funding, you want to be there for the first session by Techstars.

How to access impact capital (Wednesday, 12:10-1 p.m.), featuring leaders of the  University of Maryland, Baltimore, Neighborhood Impact Investing Fund and Brown Advisory.

Helping founders flourish and raise millions (Friday, 1-6 p.m.) is a programming block, that features chances to pitch and learn from investors like RareBreed Ventures, Squadra Ventures and Riptide Ventures.

Trying to build your entrepreneurial skillset?

“When you stop growing, you start dying,” is a quote from Beat poet William S. Burroughs. The business world has coopted the expression into “you’re either growing or you’re dying.” It’s not that deep, but for the entrepreneurs that need to constantly climb that hill,  here are some panels that can help guide your way:

3 things to consider when applying to an accelerator (Monday, 9:30-10:20 a.m.), hosted by Brendan McAdams, ETC’s entrepreneur in residence and program director

Fail Fest (Monday, 2:50-5 p.m.), presented by Squadra Ventures and Innovation Works, has 10 entrepreneurs presenting their stories of times they failed — and what they learned from it.

Make every message matter: data, strategy, media & creative (Thursday, 4:10-5 p.m.), hosted by Response Labs. The lessons in this session reflect some of the sleeper advice I frequently hear when interviewing entrepreneurs: “I wish I had thought more about marketing.”

See the full BIW schedule
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-
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