Baltimore will play host to a big gathering of university-based entrepreneurship center leaders in 2021.
University of Baltimore and Loyola University Maryland will co-host the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers’ (GCEC) Annual Meeting, which is planned for Oct. 13 to 16, 2021.
The GCEC currently has more than 225 members, according to its website, and seeks to bring together new and established centers to share best practices and develop programs. The conference typically draws more than 500 leaders in a unique position in campus life to convene in a single place.
The conference will put a focus on how universities are influencing communities around universities, as well. Under the theme “Leading with Entrepreneurship: Succeeding in Revitalization,” the event will look to demonstrate how universities and entrepreneurs are creating new companies in cities, with the host city of Baltimore being a prime example.
“While the competition was quite strong, the two partnering universities put together an exciting proposal that really stood out,” Michael Morris, a professor at the University of Notre Dame and chair of the GCEC site selection committee, said in a statement. “We were especially impressed with their emphasis on the transformative potential of university entrepreneurship programs in our contemporary urban communities.”
Organizers said it’s a chance to showcase the entrepreneurship community throughout Baltimore.
“This is a great opportunity not only for the two universities but also for the whole Baltimore business community,” said Murray Dalziel, dean of the University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business. “It brings together entrepreneurs and thought leaders from around the world, all dedicated to building a brighter future for local, national and global economies.
Located a few miles apart, Loyola University Maryland and the University of Baltimore are both home to entrepreneurship centers that seek to galvanize and support students interested in starting new ventures. Leaders from both centers came together to host the event. They share a focus on helping to build business that can in turn support the city and metro area.
Loyola’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship launched a year ago with a student-led approach to supporting entrepreneurs and social ventures, with a focus on serving the community.
“We’re here to serve our students, and our students are here to serve the community,” said Wendy Bolger, who directs Loyola’s CI&E.
Bolger attended the 2018 edition of the conference in Chicago, and left feeling inspired by the programming and that her network was strengthened by the connections with other center directors. She saw a chance to show Baltimore’s entrepreneurship community to the group and found a partner in collaborating to host with Henry Mortimer, director of UB’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which itself has a focus on supporting business started by students that can in turn have an economic impact in the city.
With their proposal selected, the two directors will now be taking the lead on planning and presenting the conference.
Along with the daytime lectures and networking that will happen at Loyola, the organizers are looking to include programming that shows the entrepreneurship community across companies, coworking spaces, incubators and federal research labs. Given UB’s position as a school in the University System of Maryland, Mortimer said they will also be able to access resources from the statewide network.
“This is really about how we’re applying what gets created in the academic community, and how it can be a powerful tool in helping to grow a local economy,” Mortimer said.-30-