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Events Roundup: Spring pitch season has arrived in Baltimore — bloom time for entrepreneurs

Plus, explore AR/VR in edtech and workforce automation.

Inside MICA Up/Start's "pop-up and pitch" event on Feb. 7, 2020. (Courtesy photo)

Events Roundup is a column where we highlight events happening in the Baltimore area each month. Have a submission for the next edition? Email us the details at

Amid a busy calendar of April events in the local business community, springtime means its pitch competition season around local university entrepreneurship programs. Events are still virtual, of course, but luckily this year leaders have some approaches in place thanks to last year’s efforts to pivot and collaborate.

Coming up this month, Loyola University Maryland’s Baltipreneurs accelerator will have its pitch competition on Wednesday, April 14. Check out 13 pitches from this year’s cohort from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. It features startups from Loyola and the wider university community. The virtual event has live feedback, music from music from John Tyler and Friends and a chance to meet with founders one-on-one. RSVP here.

Also on April 14, MICA will hold the finale for its annual Up/START pitch competition. Always a highlight of the annual calendar bringing together art, tech and entrepreneurship, it’s a chance to hear from eight founders who spent two months refining their biz models, and their pitches. Register and check out the full lineup here.

The following week brings the University of Baltimore’s Rise to the Challenge Business Competition. The ninth edition of the event from UB’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will be held virtually, offers over $20,000 in cash and services as prizes. The finalists were named recently. Here’s a look:

  • Amadou Bah will present Stemtric, an online hub that hosts mathematics learning resources on social media platforms.
  • Shelby Blondell, inventor of the Shell Pick. It’s “a unique way to play guitar that breaks barriers and solves problems between the musician who enjoys playing with a pick and those who play without a pick,” per UB.
  • Kellie Brown’s team will be pitching SpreadKarma, an ecosystem for social entrepreneurs and others seeking fundraising education, access to funding and exposure for projects, with a focus on underserved communities.
  • Nikia Madison is founder of Safe Pl8te Grocery, which helps people living with food allergies purchase allergy-friendly products and serves as a resource to the community.
  • Nicole Mighty’s startup Spiked Orchids designs, produces, and sells high-quality, environmentally friendly apparel and home goods by leveraging sustainable manufacturing practices and repurposing second-hand materials.
  • Robert Myers will be pitching Switchboard, a new organizational system for how pedalboards are built for use by guitar players and other musicians.
  • Favour Okhuevbie will present his company Gibor Writing Service, a social entrepreneurship endeavor providing writing services to students. It uses the profits it makes to launch nonprofit initiatives.
  • Rebecca Thompson’s creation Crate Craft & Co. turns easy-to-follow DIY projects into fun online events, by shipping customers all the necessary materials and hosting “live” group instruction parties.

Here’s a look at the full calendar of events over the next couple of weeks:

Founder City Panel: Raising Institutional Money

As one of the weekly programming offerings in a two-month virtual entrepreneurship conference series organized by Betamore and FITCI, a virtual panel discussion will feature Baltimore CEOs who have raised institutional capital and a local VC. Panelists include:

  • Nick Culbertson, CEO, Protenus
  • Ellington West, CEO, Sonavi Labs
  • Anders Jones, CEO, Facet Wealth
  • Calvin Young, VP, Camden Partners
  • Yair Flicker, president, SmartLogic (moderator)

Logistics are as follows:

Workforce Ascension & Enhancement Series

Owings Mills-based data and software consultancy Mind Over Machines is teaming with Howard County’s Maryland Innovation Center for the second part in a series on “people-first” automation. It explores new models of work that have emerged alongside the digital tools that have changed workforces. The second edition in the three-part series focuses around roadmap building, identifying where businesses are today and where they’d like to get to in the future, with the goal to “build a roadmap through automation to ensure that both the business and workforce can meet the identified goals.” Read a recent guest post on automation from Mind Over Machines’ Tim Kulp for a primer.

Baltimore Collegetown Industry Days: Emerging Technologies

The Baltimore Collegetown Network event series provides university students from the region and employers space to meet. It could be a ticket to an internship or job. Sponsored by the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore and Maryland Technology Internship Program, multiple events will be held with a focus in specific industry areas. This week’s edition is Emerging Technologies, which includes IT, cyber and more.

  • Wednesday, April 7
  • 4 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Register

Shock Trauma and Emergency Medicine: Commercialization

Anchor Ventures presents a look at entrepreneurship and commercialization efforts in the area of emergency medicine technology featuring Jesse Christopher, CEO of Longeviti Neuro SolutionsChibueze Ihenacho, CEO of ARMR Systems; B. Christie Vu of US Army Medical Research and Development Command; and Carolyn Yarina, CEO of Sisu Global.

  • Thursday, April 8
  • 4 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Register

Baltimore County Manufacturing Virtual Job Fair

The virtual event is connecting jobseekers with manufacturers in Baltimore County. It will feature 15+ companies, 100+ open roles and a virtual format that allows connection through chat, audio call and video conferencing. It is being presented by the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland, in partnership with Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development and Community College of Baltimore County.

  • Thursday, April 8
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Register

All Levels: Website accessibility for everyone

At the next virtual meeting of the Baltimore WordPress Group, designer Colleen Gratzer will cover topics including, how websites affect people with specific disabilities and why automated automated checkers and plugins aren’t enough.
  • Tuesday, April 13
  • 7 to 8 p.m.
  • Register

Investment Crowdfunding: Transform Community Support into Business Success

Baltimore Corps and Community Wealth Builders host a virtual lunch and learn featuring a look at crowdfunding tools including Kiva Baltimore and the MD Neighborhood Exchange. Plus, hear from entrepreneurs about their experiences.

  • Tuesday, April 13
  • Noon to 1 p.m.
  • Register

CyberAg Symposium

Easton-based F3 Tech is bringing together the agriculture and cybersecurity sectors to explore the new technology being used in growing food and fish, and how to keep that tech and data secure. Speakers include Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, a presentation on precision ag by Chris Haak of Columbia-based Skyward App Company, and a panel from the FBI discussing cyber threats in food and agriculture.

  • Wednesday, April 14
  • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Register

Economic Inclusion Conference @ Coppin (EICAC) 2021

Coppin State University’s Center for Strategic Entrepreneurship will host a two-day, virtual conference. It explores the theme “The New Academic Innovation Hub: Entrepreneurial Practices for Post-Pandemic Prosperity.” This will include a look at trends in entrepreneurial ecosystems, and the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the economy. The event features keynote addresses from Charles Ross, interim president and CEO of the International Business Innovation Association and Lee Wellington, founding executive director of the Urban Manufacturing Alliance.

  • Thursday, April 15 and Friday, April 16
  • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Register

Potential of Edtech: AR/VR Technology Innovations Impact on the Future of Education

The local meetup bringing together education and technology pros puts a focus on augmented and virtual reality. It offers a look at what this technology will mean for students. Panelists include:

  • Denise Mendez, principal software engineer in Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Group
  • Will Gee, CEO at Balti Virtual
  • Rob Petrosino, head of innovation at PeakActivity
  • Michael Wheeler, founder and CEO of Reality Lab, LLC

Logistics are below:

  • Tuesday, April 20
  • 6:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Register

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