Startups

These 3 startups got the Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund’s first round of awards

The funding from TEDCO and Harbor Bank will help companies working on SNAP payment tracking, reversing unconscious bias and a game within a game.

At the 2016 TEDCO Entrepreneur Expo. (Photo by Flickr user Maryland GovPics, used under a Creative Commons license)

TEDCO and Harbor Bank Community Development Corporation received 120 applications from African American entrepreneurs for the first round of the Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund.
The applications came from all over Maryland, and even outside the state, said Mac Conwell, a TEDCO deal team coordinator who was a leader of the effort.
“We didn’t push this program out nationally, but there were people nationally who found it because we recognized at TEDCO the issue of minority founders having a lack of access to capital. That is a national issue as well,” Conwell said.
A slate of 10 finalists were selected from those applications, and the entrepreneurs were interviewed by Harbor Bank and TEDCO. This week, they announced the three companies who each received $40,000 in funding:

  • Panacea Company Baltimore-based founder Lyndon Jackson created a mobile app that allows people to monitor their EBT and SNAP accounts and track the dollars available.
  • Implicit Solution CEO Bridgette Davis developed an elearning platform that’s designed to change unconscious bias through games and virtual reality simulations. The company is based in Oxon Hill.
  • Game ChangeHER The Ellicott City-based company founded by H. Taylor Walls has an app that allows fans at a sports event to compete, utilizing the arena’s large screen.
“We tend to come up with solutions that impact our communities,” Conwell said of the ideas.

The entrepreneurs will each have a mentor, and the two groups will be conducting biweekly roundtables with the founders. Conwell said they are also partnering with Baltimore edtech startup Lessoncast on an entrepreneurship curriculum for the founders.

“The whole purpose of this is to invest very early on in early stage minority companies with the hope of seeing them raise additional capital,” Conwell said.

Another round of applications closes July 1, and the two groups are planning two more this year.
 

Companies: TEDCO
People: TEDCO / McKeever Conwell
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