Originally Posted by Stephen Babcock of Technical.ly Baltimore
With more than 30 events, the seventh annual events series had a new look this year with a streamlined approach and broadened impact bringing together entrepreneurs, government and community leaders.
Baltimore’s community of technologists and entrepreneurs is widening, as more of the city’s residents get involved and startups get recognition in other states, and business in other countries. As it grows, that naturally means a deeper connection with the entire city. Leaders can provide new insights for expansion, and a community of creators can lend inspiration to help solve a problem.
We see these interactions playing out all year, but it’s during Baltimore Innovation Week that they’re perhaps most in focus. And they were especially evident at the 2018 edition of the event series around technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.
With Emerging Technology Centers (ETC), a venture of the Baltimore Development Corporation, serving as lead organizer, the event brought together business, government and nonprofit leaders for conversations that put a priority on problem-solving and action. On one afternoon, state and federal leaders offered strategies for entering foreign markets. At another session, Members of Baltimore’s influential adtech sector passed on knowledge about the next generation of trends. Another morning, a group of workforce, company and education leaders came together to address challenges around hiring. The week kicked off with tree planting, and ended with axe throwing.
In all, ETC convened 46 companies and organized 32 free or low-cost events in venues around the city. Changing the approach from past years, each day was organized around a specific track, and events were led by a community partner and often in one location. This allowed attendees to attend multiple events in one day, as they featured top-level speakers on panel discussions, talks, seminars and happy hours within tight timeframes to maximize conversation and sharing perspectives.
The result was plenty of standing-room-only sessions. More than 2,000 people registered for events across the week, not including the 7,500 people that attended events from BIW partner and Explore Day leader Doors Open Baltimore.
Let’s a look at the tracks.
The week began with new roots in the community, as Baltimore Tree Trust and Break a Difference led the planting of 100 trees in east Baltimore.
At The Startup Nest in Pigtown, Youth Tech Con provided a chance to learn, build and compete in robotics, drones, and coding, culminating with a robotics challenge course. Powered by TheBe. org, the event kicked off with a pep rally on Friday, Oct. 5, the night followed by the daylong event bringing together youth, families and the tech community.
ExploreAcross the city, Doors Open Baltimore let the public into some of the city’s lesser-known or rarely open spaces. Often, it showed the environments where new ideas and creations take place.
Science and Education
The connection between scientific research and new companies was on display at Inner Harbor’s Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology. F3Tech, WFTech Series and MidAtlantic Farm Credit organized an ideation challenge around galvanizing new companies working in agriculture and aquatech. Following pitches from four companies, the big checks were presented.
MICA led the day, with events bringing the community together to check out entrepreneurial activity on campus and at the Open Works makerspace.
At ETC, Enradius convened a full morning of panel discussions focused around Marketing in the Digital Age. Technologists and entrepreneurs traded ideas on digital marketing’s future, advertising shifts toward on-demand and starting a podcast that can stand out in an increasingly crowded market. Read our recap of Podcast Poutpourri.
The scene shifted to the University of Baltimore’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the afternoon for the annual Pitch on the Plaza. Entrepreneurs gathered to learn about resources and pitch on Startup Maryland‘s bus as part of an official stop of the STRT1UP Road Show.
Technical.ly organized a full day of events in the middle of the week at Creative Alliance in Highlandtown.
During the morning session, the inaugural Hire Bmore: Developing a People Pipeline brought together stakeholders from a variety of communities to discuss workforce, skills, attracting and retaining talent. The session included a roundtable discussion, a presentation from Facebook about the Community Boost series seeking to help local entrepreneurs and a panel discussion featuring experts including T. Rowe Price Vice President Dennis Elliott and UB Career and Professional Development Center Director Lakeisha Mathews.
The morning closed with a fireside chat with Catalyte CEO Jacob Hsu. Read our recap of Hsu’s thoughts on software development, AI and reducing bias in hiring.
The afternoon brought the annual Dev Conference, with talks, a panel discussion on career tracks and a keynote with noted inventor and Johns Hopkins Professor James West. Check out our recap.
The theme of tech’s ability to reach the entire city continued at ETC, where a roundtable convened by Code for Baltimore focused on digital equity and inclusion.
A full day at ETC brought sessions on growing a business, highlighted with a panel of entrepreneurs taking part in Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses.
In the afternoon, the U.S. Commercial Service featured a series of discussions that offered tactical tips on taking a business international. The sessions included leaders from the Maryland Department of Commerce, PayPal, Global Innovation Forum, PayPal, Audacious Inquiry and more. Check out our full recap.
Startup Grind arrived at night, with a panel providing tips on “How to Know You’ve Made It” including Yet Analytics cofounder Margaret Roth, Rendia CEO Smitha Gopal, RedShred cofounder Jeehye Yun and Joni Daniels of Daniels and Associates.
Innovation Works led a full, final day, with sessions at Open Works on social enterprise tools and a panel featuring leaders including Conscious Venture Lab CEO Jeff Cherry, Heber Brown of Black Church Food Security Network, Anne Riggles of City Life Builders and more.
At ETC, entrepreneurs including Alexandre Wing of MoJoe Brewing and Scott Winn shared lessons from starting companies.
A special session bringing together four CIS Golden Girls who attended Temple University together including Tosin Aje-Adebnite of Pearson, Gina Felder-Carter of AmeriHealth, Angel Johnson of Marriott and Akilah Lindler of The Lindler Consulting Group discussed their experiences as women of color navigating a career path to leadership in tech.
The week closed out with an Innovation Celebration spanning two venues in Highlandtown at Monument City Brewing and Urban Axes, bringing together familiar faces from throughout the week – including the Startup Maryland bus – to enjoy craft beverages and one of the city’s new pastimes of axe throwing.
According to ETC, additional sponsors for the week included:
- Maryland Department of Commerce (title sponsor)
- Ballard Spahr
- Gordon Feinblatt
- Sunshine Grill
- Control Tech Inc
- Vagrant Coffee
- Thread Coffee
- Zeke’s Coffee
- Capital One