The entrepreneurial buzz left by Baltimore Innovation Week kept right on buzzing through the National Society of Black Engineers – Baltimore Metropolitan Area Chapter’s (NSBE-BMAC) third annual Minority Innovation Weekend (MIW), held this past Saturday and Sunday at the University of Baltimore Thumel Business Center.
The event included several discussions about cybersecurity issues and health equity challenges while providing minorities launching startups a chance to network and gain exposure to investors.
“We hope to educate and provide resources to entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs as they grow or launch their tech-focused business,” said Sir Walter Richardson, MIW’s 2019 coordinator.
This year, MIW added a pitch competition to give entrepreneurs a few minutes to explain their business model to a panel of judges with the opportunity to earn valuable resources such as space, curriculum and mentorship. The judges were:
- Tresa Chambers, communications director for the American Heart Association
- McKeever Conwell II, portfolio manager and deal team coordinator for the Maryland Technology Development Corporation
- Bill Olsen, director of MasterPeace LaunchPad
- Ryan Sears, cofounder of FounderTrac
- Ronald Stubblefield, assistant director at ETC (Emerging Technology Centers)
- Calvin Young, associate at Camden Partners
Here’s who pitched at MIW 2019, and who won:
Cofounders Brian Taylor and Anaxareian Aia made the pitch for their branding and marketing agency that uses targeted marketing to assist fast-casual restaurants increase revenue and customer loyalty.
NeuroSonics Medical, Inc.
Cofounder and CEO Nao Gamo pitched her company, which is developing a minimally invasive high-intensity focused ultrasound device to ablate brain tumors and other cranial soft tissues. NeuroSonics strives to provide better clinical results than currently available surgical techniques by reducing various risks associated with brain surgery.
Founder and CEO Ope Thomas made the pitch for his software company that helps individuals and businesses buy, sell and trade parking assets. The company initially launched as a platform that displayed vacancies in parking spaces, but looks to officially launch a marketplace in December for consumers to have easier access to assets.
Founder and CEO Kisha Brown pitched her online platform that promotes lawyers of color in the DMV region and connects them to new clients. Brown, a lawyer herself, looks to provide minority lawyers with client opportunities that they might not otherwise receive.
Cofounder and CEO Michael Ogunsanya pitched this software company that specializes in detecting online harassment, hate speech and potential safety risks.
In the end, Mindstand Technologies, Justis Connection and Roadi were victorious. NSBE-BMAC formed a partnership with ETC to provide the three winning companies with a six-month membership to the Incubate Baltimore program, which offers resources such as seed capital, mentors and potential partners.
Moving forward, Richardson said he looks for the exposure of pitch competition participants to ignite motivation among other attendees.
“Our hope is that the innovation marketplace and pitch competition gives our innovation conference attendees exposure and inspiration as they consider launching their own startup journey,” Richardson said.-30-