Startup Maryland is a regional initiative launched out of the Startup America Partnership. Driven from within the startup community, and led by/for entrepreneurs, Startup Maryland is peer-driven and focused on high-growth ventures. Forged on the themes spawned by the national initiative, Startup Maryland strives to connect innovation communities and recognize the importance of founding-entrepreneurs, startup, ramp-up and speedup companies to the innovation economy. Startup Maryland rallies entrepreneurs, supporters and other innovation stakeholders around four main initiatives:
Recognized earlier this year during a White House briefing and reception that corresponded with the two-year anniversary of the Startup America Partnership (SUAP — www.s.co), Startup Maryland co-chairs Julie Lenzer Kirk and Michael Binko joined officials from SUAP and the White House Office of Science and Technology.
The Startup Maryland team highlighted Entrepreneur Champions that represent the rich diversity of Maryland’s innovation economy.
- Brian Murphy, founder/CEO of Smith Island Baking Co. (http://smithislandcake.com)
- Kevin Plank, founder/ CEO, UNDER ARMOUR (www.underarmour.com)
- David Troy, CEO of 410Labs Inc. (http://www.410labs.com/#products)
- Johnny Shockley, Co-founder, Hooper’s Island Oyster Aquaculture Co., (www.cgoysters.com)
The Startup Maryland team was invited to share how their efforts have developed over the past year as well as to highlight the group’s themes and areas of concentration for the future – looking decades ahead.
“As one of our most active regions over the past year Startup Maryland has attracted more than 500 startups participants in the eight months since officially launching,” stated Scott Case, CEO of Startup America Partnership.
“Startup Maryland now ranks in the Top 5 based on startups per capita (million population) – a primary growth metric for Startup America,” added Case.
Near the end of 2012, Startup Maryland began a campaign to engage its entrepreneur participants as Champion leaders for the Startup Maryland initiative. With the support of the national Startup America team, Startup Maryland held a series of Champion Sessions during which Big Ideas and Areas of Focus were identified and prioritized.
“From infusing innovation into heritage industries like the Chesapeake Bay oyster fishery; to feel-good historically-rich brands like Smith Island; to the front-lines of cyber-security, cloud computing, big data and social networking, Maryland entrepreneurs are leaders, drivers and winners,” stated Binko, who also serves as CEO of kloudtrack®. “Cultivating a close relationship with these Entrepreneur Champions and fostering mentorship, cooperation and support across this community is where Startup Maryland strives to serve and has proven its meddle to-date,” added Binko.
One of the widely recognized Startup Maryland successes in its first year was the Pitch Across Maryland a state-wide startup celebration tour and business pitch competition.
“The Pitch Across Maryland connected startups with resources including accelerators, incubators, economic dev. agencies, angel/VC investors and universities,” stated Kirk, who also serves as Executive Director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship.
Tour stops and rallies were held across Maryland celebrating our varied startup communities and, with a mobile video studio on the bus, the tour gave startups entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their own business in their own words.
“Startup Maryland is making a strong impact across the state. Whether it is the Pitch Across Maryland or the cultivation of our Champion leaders, being recognized by Startup America and thought leaders from the White House and U.S. government gives us validation and lets us know we are on the right track,” added Kirk.
During the year-end sessions, Champions were asked to step-up and take ownership of the Startup Maryland initiatives in order to make them work for their own companies and to ensure Startup Maryland actually stays attentive to what they need. Four Areas of Concentration and one Main Theme emerged after sessions with more than 40 Champions.
The four Areas of Concentration centered on what Champions felt Startup Maryland should be doing with and for entrepreneurs. These focal areas included: Connection, Celebration, Coaching and Capital. Broad details related to future plans for each of these four areas will be announced today at the White House and in more depth together with partners, the Startup Maryland Champions and broader stakeholder communities over the coming weeks.
The Main Theme has to do with an Unfair Advantage Maryland provides to entrepreneurs looking to birth and grow high-potential startups. While the Unfair Advantage is essentially a conceptual perspective it is grounded in the fact that Maryland boasts a cadre of almost unmatched resources that have fueled rich startups and innovations for decades.
With active counties, universities, accelerators and innovation partners like Maryland TEDCO and the state’s Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), Startup Maryland is working together with entrepreneurs to strengthen Maryland’s economic fabric while fostering an economic climate where the most promising companies can leverage the state’s Unfair Advantage in order to inflect and thrive.
“These connective efforts are core traits that we strongly encourage and nurture among our Startup America regions,” concluded Case.