Calling all entrepreneurs. A national organization, Startup America Partnership, is launching a regional initiative called Startup Maryland at a March 30 event.
Julie Lenzer Kirk, director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship and a co-chair of the launch of Startup Maryland
, says the goal of the nonprofit advocacy group is “to bring together the entrepreneurial system in the state” and to create a community of entrepreneurs.
Startup Maryland aims to provide entrepreneurs access to capital, mentoring, clients and a celebration and awareness of entrepreneurship through success stories.
While the state has “incredible resources,” Kirk says, “they’re in pockets, independent of each other and entrepreneurs are not working together.”
Startup Maryland aims to change that. “We want to leverage the best projects and promote them across the entire state,” says Kirk, noting that at the event, attendees will decide on specific projects for the future. Possibilities include a regional conference in which potential customers talk about their needs or a meeting about state and local resources.
Startup America Partnership
began a year ago and the brainchild of two foundations: the Steven Case Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation. The alliance of universities, foundations and entrepreneurs are forming local chapters around the country. The White House has launched a similar initiative
Startup America does not offer funding, but it does provide access to the large corporations that are backing it. They include American Express, American Airlines, the New York Stock Exchange, Dell Computers and Microsoft.
In preparation for the March 30 launch at the University of Maryland College Park, two “town hall” meetings were held – in Howard County on February 10 and Baltimore City on March 1.
“We had 90 people at each. We had to cut off registration because we ran out of space,” says Kirk. “That told us there is interest” in Startup Maryland.
Membership in Startup Maryland is free. Register on the website
. So far, even before the official launch on March, Kirk says some 200 companies have registered.
Source: Julie Lenzer Kirk, Startup Maryland
Writer: Barbara Pash