Professional Development
Awards / Funding / Makerspaces / Nonprofits / Pitches

Resource Roundup: Check out funding opportunities for Baltimore startups, makers and community builders

Apply to grants and pitch competitions with Open Works, Baltimore Corps or Salisbury University to give your startup a push in the right direction.

10 product startups pitched at Open Works' 2018 EnterpRISE competition. (Photo by Dawn Musil)
Updated to include IW Boost. (3:24 p.m., 9/22/21)

We’re past the midway mark of the month and as the end of September fast approaches, so does the closing of many applications and opportunities for entrepreneurs from Baltimore and around Maryland looking for grants and funding to turn their grand business plans into a reality. The best part of these resources below is even if you don’t receive the funding, the experience from the pitch competitions are what’s going to streamline and improve a business.


Station North makerspace Open Works is looking for the best product-based business ideas that can benefit from its resources to grow.

It’s the fourth year for the business competition, which has awarded 20 companies with funding and membership to the space. Of the winners, 14 were founded by people of color and 11 were founded or cofounded by women, according to Open Works.

Applications are open to any product- or manufacturing-based company through October 8. An initial, panel-judged process will narrow the field down 10 finalists. Those finalists will go on to receive six weeks of business workshops, pitch coaching, and shop classes before a final live pitch on Zoom on December 2. Prizes are:

  • 1st place: $10,000
  • 2nd place: $5,000
  • 3rd place: $1,000
  • 7 runners up: $250 along with all finalists receiving 6 months of free “Pro” membership from January-June, 2022.

Shore Hatchery

Salisbury University’s business plan competition for mid-Atlantic startups is offering a slice of its $200,000 annual allocation at a pitch competition coming up next month. For startups, registration closes on Monday, September 27, at 11:59 p.m. with the pitch competition taking place on October 29.

Elevation Awards

The brainchild of the Baltimore Corps, this program highlights people of color who are Baltimore City residents piloting novel approaches to strengthen Baltimore communities. It provides planning grants of $10,000 and personalized support to awardees. Applications are open through October 22.

Innovation Works’ Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) Boost

Baltimore social entrperenuership resource network Innovation Works is set to hold its multi-day entrepreneurial workshop series from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.  It’s designed to help leaders of nonprofits, for-profit businesses and hybrid social enterprises learn business basics, and articulate a plan that balances business growth, impact and long-term susntainability. Apply by October 4.

Homecoming Hero Awards

Baltimore‘s alumni event will be back in 2022.

Baltimore Homecoming announced plans this month for its three day event, called Amplify 2022. Save the date: May 4-6.

The idea is to bring some of the city’s big-name and highly-accomplished natives back to Baltimore to see what’s going on today.

For the locals, the organizers are now accepting nominations for the Homecoming Hero Awards. Plus, it’s taking proposals from nonprofits to serve as “field trip” sites for the visitors. Let’s show ’em what we’re building. Maybe they’ll want to stick around.

Here are a few more reminders about upcoming deadlines we’ve noted in past roundups:

  • The DataTribe Challenge has applications open for cyber and data science companies through Oct. 1.
  • Baltimore-based accelerator Conscious Venture Lab has applications open for a new cohort of impact-focused businesses through Oct. 15.
  • The Howard County-based Gula Tech Foundation has $1 million in funding available for “confidence in data care.” Applications will be open from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15.
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.
Companies: Open Works / Salisbury University

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