Accelerators / Baltimore / Startups

These 9 founders are the latest Baltipreneurs in Loyola’s signature accelerator

Members of the 2022-2023 Baltipreneurs Accelerator are focused on sustainable construction, education cost management, beverage production and more.

The campus of Loyola University Maryland. (Courtesy photo)
Update: This article has been updated since initial publication to add Wendy Bolger's additional explanation for what the accelerator's leaders look for in applicants. (12/7/2022, 1:46 p.m.)
What does the founder of a gift-giving app have in common with a small-batch tequila creator?

Both are part of the nine-person-strong cohort for Loyola University Maryland’s Baltipreneurs Accelerator, the primary accelerator from the North Baltimore-based university’s Simon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The recently announced members of this group range from beverage distributors to those creating new tech platforms. A university statement noted that this cohort is the most diverse group of Baltipreneurs in the program’s history, with five women and six Black founders among the nontet, which the accelerator’s selection committee chose from 62 applicants.

“We have a stellar group of entrepreneurs this year who already contribute so much to this city through their creativity and business generation,” said Wendy Bolger, the Simon Center’s founding director, in an announcement. “It’s an honor for us to work with them and learn from them by supporting their growth. This year we’ll have more students than ever engaged in experiential learning with the Baltipreneurs, which is a win for all of us.”

Blue glass and brown stone buildings near grey walkway before blue and white sky

Loyola’s Fernandez Center, which houses the Simon Center. (Courtesy photo)

Here are the nine founders the program will support with $40,000 of total funding, 10 programming sessions, individualized mentorship, and other resources between this month and March 2023:

  • Ina Kovacheva, whose Arch Dash aims to give architects more tools and information for more informed decisions while constructing buildings sustainably
  • Todd Sheridan, owner of cold-pressed juice distributor Treehouse Juicery
  • Bianca Jackson, the executive behind in-person and metaverse-based collaborative meeting space developer BrickRose Exchange (and a finalist in the 2022 Crab Tank pitch competition)
  • John Matthews, the pastor of Pikesville, Maryland’s Psalm 91 Ministries and e-Bless creator whose patented device, The Barrage. offers 4D virtual reality and effects simulation experiences
  • Jen Fry, founder and CEO of Coordle, whose namesake app allows groups to collectively plan trips and travel (and was an early-stage finalist for DC Startup Week’s 2022 pitch competition)
  • Donta Henson, the Pasadena, Maryland CEO and co-creator of tequila distiller Los Hermanos Tequila
  • Paula Dofat, whose Cut College Costs (which, according to Loyola’s announcement, does business as HBCU Money Guide) is a SaaS product that lets users search for tuition, fees and scholarships administered by or used for attendance at historically Black colleges and universities
  • Nina Guise-Gerrity, CEO of GFTD, an app through which users can compile wishlists, gift and receive presents more efficiently
  • Matt Barinholtz of FutureMakers, a company that creates hands-on STEAM education resources and activities for young people

Bolger told via email that the selection rate for the accelerator is at about 15%, with selection criteria including if a venture figured out initial revenue streams or customer engagement.

“This group this year was savvy about the process, took advantage of our info session and women’s pre-application bootcamp and indicated a readiness to take full advantage of the program,” she added. “Their industries, business models and growth stage are widely diversified, but they have a common commitment to Baltimore and to an intensive, small-group learning experience in which they champion their own ventures, and each other.”

Bolger said that programming for this latest cohort begins Monday, Dec. 5. It will wrap up next year with a demo day scheduled for March 21.

Companies: Loyola University Maryland

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