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UMBC Incubator Firm Doubling Staff

TargetGov, a small business that specializes in federal contracting, is doubling its staff. President Gloria Larkin, who founded the firm in 1997, says she wants to add another five people with expertise in marketing research, data analysis and communications.

The firm helps companies position themselves and win contracts in the $500-billion federal marketplace. It has developed a strategy that analyzes client-companies’ strengths, identifies potential government customers and participates in the RFP (request for proposal) process. The firm works with the US Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy and Department of Health and Human Services.
 
Earlier this year, it relocated from the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, in Howard County, to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's CyberIncubator @bwtech. 

Larkin says TargetGov consults with about 100 to 150 clients per year. They range from Fortune 50 companies to large utilities and small -- by government standards -- businesses with 20 to 40 employees. Because of client confidentiality, she declined to name them.

TargetGov also runs classes and webinars that train 1,000 to 2,000 clients per year.

TargetGov is partnering with bwtech@UMBC Research Park on classes for early-stage companies that want to bid on and get contracts with the federal government and agencies. The classes begin January 8 and will be held at the University of Maryland Baltimore County incubator.
 
The classes are being offered through a newly created TargetGov division, the Government Contracting Institute. Half- and full-day classes will be held on topics like the federal contracting sales process, legal requirements, security clearance, proposal writing and pricing strategies, and contract and project management. Classes will cost $450 and up, and are open to all interested companies.
 
Source: Gloria Larkin, TargetGov
Writer: Barbara Pash 
 
 
 
 
 

DoublePositive Helps Colleges Find Students

Sales and marketing firm DoublePositive is hiring as many as 20 within the next six to nine months to work in its Baltimore and Tempe, Ariz., offices.

It seeks expertise in business and marketing analysis, senior network engineering and software development to add to its 60-person staff.

The Canton online marketing firm opened a new sales leads division in August, helping online colleges and universities find new students. The division helps the institutions find students for their certificates and bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and it adheres to recently-enacted federal regulations with regard to new student recruitment. The regulations are aimed at keeping the recruitment process transparent and assuring that the programs are legitimate, according to Jodi Swartz, DoublePositive's director of corporate marketing.
 
The leads division follows on the heels of another new division DoublePositive opened in December. The mobile division focuses on mobile pay per call that links consumers to companies via apps. Swartz says the division has grown by more than 1,000 percent in the first three quarters of 2012, its first revenue producing year.
 
Founded in 2004, DoublePositive moved to its present Canton office in 2008. In January, the company relocated to a larger office in the same Canton building. The new office totals 14,000 square feet, double the size of its previous office.  The company maintains an office in Tempe, Ariz., which also recently doubled in size, to a total 7,000 square feet.
 
Besides the two new divisions, DoublePositive specializes in online display and telephone transfers. Its 125 clients include Comcast, The Home Depot, Rosetta Stone, 21st Century Auto, Kaplan, Sylvan and Education Management Corp. (EDMC).  The company’s mobile division is located in Tempe, home to EDMC.
 
Last month, DoublePositive started an internship program for college students and recent graduates who want experience in online marketing. Interns are paired with senior-level managers for real-world experience. It's accepting up to 10 interns per semester and the program is offered for college credit or for pay.
 
Source: Jodi Swartz, DoublePositive
Writer: Barbara Pash




Hopkins Dementia Study Reveals Effects of Home Health Care

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University and a Jewish charity revealed that people with dementia could live in their homes with help 10 months longer than those without help.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry and The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore partnered on the $1.8-million study, called MIND at Home. The study was designed by Hopkins and funded by Associated. The study was designed to provide a model that could be used by community service agencies throughout the country.
 
“This is the first study coming out of the geriatric psychiatry division that looked at dementia service delivery,” says Quincy Samus, a Johns Hopkins assistant professor in the division and project director.

Dementia care coordinators provided help for a range of needs, including general medical care, interactions of their medications, behavioral problems, social involvement like adult day care, home safety modifications, financial issues and safe driving.
 
The average age of the study participants, chosen at random from Baltimore neighborhoods, was 84 and many of them still drove their cars.
 
The help the participants received not only kept them in their homes longer but improved their quality of life as well, says Samus, who notes that the study was designed to provide a model that could be used by community service agencies throughout the country.
 
LeRoy Hoffberger, past chairman of Associated, is credited for being the catalyst for the study and leading its fundraising efforts. The 18-month study was staffed by Jewish Community Services, an Associated agency, with Hopkins developing the protocols for the dementia care coordinators. Hopkins experts from its Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center also participated.
 
According to Barbara Levy Gradet, Jewish Community Services’ executive director, the coordinators specialized in dementia care and the impact of dementia on family care-givers. 
 
Gradet says the Associated agency is now planning how to bring the study to scale, in other words, how to translate what worked for a small setting to the Jewish community as a whole. Still to be determined is a funding source to broaden the  scope, whether a federal agency or insurance companies.
 
In 2012, an estimated 5.4 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease. Over 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, at an estimated cost of $200 billion.
  
Although results from the Mind At Home study have not yet been published in professional journals, preliminary findings were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference last month.
 
Calling the dementia service delivery system a “crucial concept,” Samus says the “ultimate hope is that other states adopt this approach.”
 
Sources: Quincy Samus, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry; Barbara Levy Gradet, Jewish Community Services
Writer: Barbara Pash; innovationnews@bmoremedia.com

Johns Hopkins Gets $108M Public Health Grant

India, Pakistan, Zambia and Honduras could get life-saving projects that boost maternal health, improve HIV treatment and reduce the incidence of malaria thanks to a $108-million federal grant to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communications Programs.

The U.S. Agency for International Development awarded the Center the five-year grant for health communication projects in developing countries. The Center, which manages programs in more than 30 countries and in the US, will evaluate, design and implement projects in partnership with the countries' ministries of health and other local agencies, including advertising agencies.

Center Director Susan Krenn says the goal is to have a "population-level impact" by working across all levels, from government ministries to the health providers and community leaders. The center also wants to increase good health behaviors and to influence the social norms that impact those behaviors. The communications message is built into the campaign using various media, from the internet to radio.

In Uganda, for example, the Center coordinated a campaign about pediatric HIV that set up an online "toolkit" of resources and a National Health Hotline as well as instructions to local health providers via the radio. In the Union of South Africa, for another example, soccer's World Cup finale concert promoted the fight against malaria.

For this grant, Krenn says the projects will be chosen by the U.S. Agency, which has missions in 80 countries worldwide. Each mission can apply for projects. Project approval will determine in what countries the Center works, what it does and how much is spent on each project.

The $108-million Agency grant is one of the largest in the field of health communications. This is not the first time that the Center has won a grant of this size. In 2002, it won a five-year Agency grant for about the same amount of money for similar projects. That grant ended in 2007.

For the previous Agency grant, Krenn says funding went to an array of projects. The Center scripted an award-winning program on HIV prevention in the Union of South Africa; sponsored a game show in Ghana; and developed short films about family planning that were aired on Indian TV. 

For this award, the Center is collaborating with Management Sciences for Health and NetHope as well as specialized communication partners InterNews, Ogilvy Public Relations and Population Services International.

Krenn says that advances in communications technology open up new possibilities for projects. The South African show, for example, had a social media element in the form of a Facebook page and Twitter account. In India, the Center will try a pilot program that downloads the short films onto smart phones for distribution to local educators and community leaders.

“We want to understand what are best practices and how we can use them in our work,” says Krenn.

Source: Susan Krenn, Center for Communications Programs, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Writer: Barbara Pash

Political Strategy Game Pits Obama Vs. Romney

Exis Interactive has built a business helping Warner Brothers, LucasArts and other companies develop video games. This month, the nine-year-old TowsonGlobal Business Incubator company is trying something new. 

For the first time, it made and released a product of its own, a political strategy game called “Execuforce" that involves President Barack Obama and former Gov. and Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Participants role-play Presidents Obama, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan or former Gov. Mitt Romney to travel to distant planets and prevent aliens from destroying Earth.

For $20, the game is downloadable from its website. Exis Interactive Founder Peter Kojesta says it usually works for larger companies on the graphics for their games, including Warner Brothers' "Fear 3" and LucasArts' "Fracture".  Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Dynamics Corp. are also among its clients. 

There is no lack of games related to politics, but they “get into the minutiae of government,” he says. "Execuforce" is a multi-player game that does so entertainingly. 

Calling the game “a labor of love,” Kojesta says it took Exis Interactive three years to develop because it had to build the game technology from scratch while working on other projects.

Exis Interactive has four staffers, including Kojesta, all of whom have known each other since high school. He describes the company as the “epitome of the American dream,” he says. “We have team members who came here as immigrants and we have members who’ve been in the military. We feel it is important to talk about politics but to do so in a fun way.”

Half of the proceeds from its sale are being split evenly between the Obama’s Democratic Party presidential campaign and the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit that benefits American soldiers. The game will remain on the website beyond the November election for an undetermined period of time.

Source: Peter Kojesta, Exis Interactive
Writer: Barbara Pash
 


Competition Awarding $150K to Startups

If you’ve got a great idea, AccelerateBaltimore wants to hear from you. Sponsored by Baltimore City and the Emerging Technology Centers, the second AccelerateBaltimore has funding for six companies that can move from an idea to a product in 13 weeks.
 
Applications are available online through Nov. 30. The Abell Foundation is the funding partner, providing $25,000 per winner, who receive free working space, legal help and access to all services at either of the two centers in Canton or Hopkins/Eastern, for 13 weeks. 
 
The Emerging Technology Centers (ETC) held the first AccelerateBaltimore last April. It was the first such event in the state and the first in the City of Baltimore. There were four winning companies out of 40 applicants.  Winners of the first AccelerateBaltimore were social networking firm Kithly, NewsUp, NoBadGift.com and Unbound Concepts. Publicity about the competition was limited, says ETC Director Deborah Tillett, but there will be a major effort this time to reach out locally and nationally to potential applicants via the incubator network. 
 
“Accelerates are the next evolution in startup cultures,” she says. “One of the most important things for entrepreneurs and small businesses is access to capital. This is a real shot at that. The $25,000 can put you over the edge.”
 
Applicants do not have to be Baltimore-based and if they win, they do not have to stay in Baltimore after Accelerate ends.  A panel will narrow applicants to 12, who will be invited for in-person interviews. Winners will be announced on Jan. 7, begin working in the Center of their choice in February and have a viable technology product ready by the end of May.  
 
At Accelerate’s conclusion, the six winning companies will pitch their product to a group of investors.
 
Although Accelerate is open to all start-ups, Tillett says they have to use modern technology to create new business solutions. ‘They have to end up with an actual product,” she says, noting that having the technical co-founder of the start-up as part of the company team makes that result more likely.
 

 
Source: Deborah Tillett, Emerging Technology Centers
Writer: Barbara Pash

SpotCrime Expanding Into New Markets

SpotCrime has created a new mobile app and says it is negotiating deals with billion-dollar companies to expand into new markets.

Hatched in Baltimore's Emerging Technology Center, the downtown Baltimore company is currently negotiating partnerships with national TV and data distribution companies. SpotCrime President Colin Drane could not name them but says they are “billion-dollar companies that reach millions of people.”

The Baltimore crime mapping company is an online source of crime information. It features news, statistics and real-time maps for arson, assault, burglary, robbery, shooting, theft and vandalism localized for sites around the country.
 
Launched last month, the new product came out two weeks ago, says Drane. It is a website app, a mobile page for its website, that Drane calls “fairly simple technology" but a great way to represent its data.

Within the past two months, SpotCrime has also expanded its market via its partnerships with two broadcast companies that carry its crime data on their websites.
 
At Gannett Co., SpotCrime went from three stations to 20; at Sinclair Broadcasting Group, from two stations to four. The additional Sinclair stations are located in Austin, Tx., and West Palm Beach, Fl. SpotCrime also has a presence on Baltimore’s WBFF-TV Fox 45's website.
 
The website app works like an application for an iPhone or iPad but does not have to be downloaded. “Before the iPhone had an app store, we had the first app, which was a web page on the iPhone. We are returning to our roots and creating a website app,” says Drane.
 
Founded in 2007, SpotCrime has three full-time employees and a technical team of four staffers.
 
People can sign up for free e-mail crime alerts via the company’s website. SpotCrime sends out nearly five million personalized crime alerts per month around the country. 
 
 
Source: Colin Drane, SpotCrime
Writer: Barbara Pash

Adventure Web Productions Buys Rival

Adventure Web Productions has expanded its client base with the acquisition earlier this year of 18 Visions Design in Frederick for an undisclosed sum in cash.

The Catonsville web development and internet marketing company is taking over 18 Visions' 60 clients, says Adventure Vice President Charlie Strouse, who mentions the Maryland Symphony Orchestra as the largest of its clients. 

Strouse says Adventure had more than 1,000 clients before buying 18 Visions Designs, a web design firm whose work was similar to that of Adventure’s. Among Adventure's clients are BGE Home; Japanese firm Capcom; and Hunt Valley's Dunbar Armored.

Adventure is maintaining 18 Visions' name, adding "An Adventure Web Company" to the title, and keeping 18 Visions' office in Frederick. It hired a separate, five-person sales staff that is located in the Frederick office. 
 
18 Visions Design was Adventure’s first acquisition but not its last. Strouse says the company is interested in buying other small web development companies, and they don’t have to be Maryland-based. He says acquisitions allow Adventure to offer its services via multiple companies and to create value for them.
 
Founded in 1997, Adventure is privately-owned. It has a staff of 25, and is looking to hire a PHP web developer. 

The City of Baltimore this year hired Adventure to design Star Spangled 200, the official website of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Several events were held at the Inner Harbor and around the state from June 13 to 19. The website launched in May and remains active because of the ongoing sale of commemorative coins and to announce upcoming events. It links to several civic and nonprofit organizations.  
 
Strouse says Adventure has recently begun offering two new services to clients. One service is developing applications and mobile websites for clients with, for example, personal notifications of upcoming events, special deals and/or personalized information.
 
Another service is managing social media campaigns for clients. This involves writing and aggregating blogs and posting to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and other social media. 
 
Source: Charles Strouse, Adventure Web Productions
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 
 

Software Firm Moves Into Bigger Digs In Canton

Software firm 6th Street Commerce has moved into a larger office in the Emerging Technology Center at Canton. The move, to a space twice the size of its previous quarters, was made to accommodate current expansion and future growth. The e-commerce company is in the process of hiring up to six key staffers "as quickly as possible," says 6th Street Vice President of Marketing David Anderson.

Anderson says the company is looking for a Chief Technology Officer, web designer-developer and staffers in sales and marketing and in accounting. "We want to grow out sales and marketing team," he says.

The company has been housed at the Canton ETC since its founding in 2008. Anderson says the location has offered flexibility in accommodating its relocation into larger quarters and for its business support. He calls the ETC a "great place for a young company."

6th Street Commerce is introducing a new version of its e-commerce software this month, Saleswarp, intended for mid- to large-size retailers to manage their online and backend operations. The new version of Saleswarp has expanded customer management features and a redesigned user interface, says Anderson.

Saleswarp was launched last year and is the company's sole product. The enterprise product helps companies increase sales and decrease operating costs. Anderson says it helps retailers manage orders, product and suppliers across one to multiple stores. 
 
Anderson says the company recently acquired two new clients in the national and international fashion industry whose names he was not at liberty to announce yet. Among clients listed on its website are First Book Marketplace, a non-profit book buying group for students and teachers; Crafts2u, an online craft store; and Forest Hill Lacross, a new league.

He also says that Saleswarp is now being marketed to web design firms and system integrators to help retailers develop a web presence.
  
6th Street Commerce won the 2012 Maryland Incubator Award in the information technology category.
 
Source: David Anderson, 6th Street Commerce
Writer: Barbara Pash
 

WYPR Radio Series Explores Race and Inequality

Inequalities in housing, employment and education in the Baltimore metro area are the subject of a new radio series on WYPR FM 88.1. “Lines Between Us” kicked off Sept. 28 on the National Public Radio affiliate and will continue weekly for a year.
 
The series has a companion website that is the public's portal to the “landscape of inequality” in Baltimore neighborhoods, says Lawrence Lanahan, senior producer of “Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast." Segments of the series air every Friday between 9 to 10 a.m. on this program. 
 
“We want listeners to tell us their stories, either written, video or audio," to be featured on the website, Lanahan says. He notes that each segment will delve into a topic like how many people in a neighborhood don't have jobs and how long they've been unemployed, how many graduated from high school and how many own their homes or rent. 
 
Lanahan says the series is a first for “Maryland Morning” but not for WYPR, which ran a “Growing Up Baltimore” series and accompanying website through the news department. From the program’s perspective, he is hoping to reach elected officials, government officials and community members.
 
The University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute, the research arm of the Merrick School of Business, is providing the data and maps on which the series and website are based.
 
Seema Iyer, associate director and research assistant professor at the institute, says it has been collecting data and issuing annual reports on race and inequalities in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County for about a decade. This year Provost Joseph Wood initiated a series of activities for the university community that focused on the reports.
 
After WYPR approached the university, “it made sense to partner with them,” Iyer says. “Data is only as good as the number of people who use and understand it. We see it as a way to get our data to their audience, which is much larger than ours.”
 
Moreover, Iyer says the radio series gives the data a new, personal dimension. “The stories you can tell in an arena like WYPR give a different perspective to the data,” she says. “For us, it’s a great opportunity.”
 
 
Sources: Seema Iyer, University of Baltimore; Lawrence Lanahan, National Public Radio WYPR.FM
Writer: Barbara Pash
 





Biotech Firm Fyodor to Begin Trials for Malaria Test

Fyodor Biotechnology Inc. expects to complete human trials on its product to detect malaria next year, with commercial production to begin in 2014. The Baltimore biotech firm is also in the planning stages for a second product, a variation of the first, that should be ready for production by 2015. The tests are significant for diagnosis and treatment of an illness that is endemic in developing countries around the world. 

"The tests will be revolutionary in malaria circles," says Eddy Agbo, CEO and chairman of the board of Fyodor, which has established a global network of malaria health professionals.

Fyodor Biotechnology is working with partners who will manufacture and distribute the tests, which will be sold to government and non-government organizations like the World Health Organization, travelers and the military. The tests are for citizens and visitors to countries in the "frontier" market, aka developing countries.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine is conducting the human trials on the first product in Nigeria and Mali. The Urine Malaria Test is the first urine-based test geared to the type of malaria seen in Africa, the Caribbean and South America. The second product will detect the malaria strain found in Asia, China and India. It, too, is the first urine-based test for this malarial type and human trials will also be conducted.  
 
The human trials are required to obtain approval from the US. Food and Drug Administration. While FDA approval is not necessary to sell the products in other countries, it validates them, Agbo says. 
 
Agbo says the tests resulted from Johns Hopkins University’s global health initiative. Using technology that came out of the initiative, Fyodor created a one-step test that is accurate, easy to use, and quick. Test results are available within 20 minutes.
 
Founded in 2008, Fyodor was initially housed in the University of Maryland BioInnovation Center. It subsequently moved to the University of Maryland BioPark where, in July, it relocated from a 700-square foot space to a 2,000-square foot space.
 
The company is doubling its staff, from its current three full-time employees to hiring another three full-time employees by 2013 with expertise in chemistry and recumbent DNA technology. It is also looking for several part-time employees and interns who are familiar with biology, chemistry and laboratory procedures.
 
So far, Fyodor has attracted a total of $2 million in state and federal grants and from private investors, including Maryland Technology Development Corp. and the National Science Foundation (NSF). In August, NSF awarded the company a grant of $476,000 to continue its research.
 
Source: Eddy Agbo, Fyodor Biotechnology
Writer: Barbara Pash

Anne Arundel County Manufacturer Moves Into Bigger Digs

SemaConnect Inc., a manufacturer of electric vehicle charging stations, has moved from an Anne Arundel County incubator to new headquarters in a business park in Bowie. The relocation last month from the Chesapeake Innovation Center in Annapolis to an 8,000-square foot facility in Melford Business Park more than triples the size of its office. It allows SemaConnect to have its business and manufacturing operations under one roof for the first time and to continue its market expansion. 
 
Founded in 2008, SemaConnect’s station is web-based, wired into a 240-volt electrical source and can be mounted on a wall or pedestal. The company moved into the incubator in 2010, after having developed its first product and winning a federal contract administered by the state of Maryland and the Baltimore Electric Vehicle Initiative to build and install 58 electric vehicle stations around the state.
 
By 2012, SemaConnect has manufactured and sold almost 100 electric vehicle stations in Maryland and almost 500 stations across the US, from Washington, D.C., to Hawaii, according to Naly Yang, director of marketing.
 
Since 2010, when nearly all sales were to public entities like the state of Maryland, the number of private entities buying stations has grown. It started as a free program the state of Maryland was running. Now, says Yang, a lot of businesses like commercial real estate developers and hotels are interested in having a charging station as a way to promote themselves. The station owners determine what, if anything, they will charge for the stations’ use.
 
SemaConnect was recently commissioned to produce 1,500 stations for major retail sites across the U.S. like Walgreens and Simon Properties. This year, too, it is expanding its market to Canada, starting with British Columbia.
 
SemaConnect went from four staffers in 2010 to its current 25 employees, including a national sales team. Yang says the company is the third largest manufacturer of charging stations in the US based on the number of stations deployed.
 
Source: Naly Yang, SemaConnect
Writer: Barbara Pash

Blue Water Baltimore Grants to Fund Water Conservation Projects

Blue Water Baltimore is using a $400,000 federal grant to improve storm water management in Baltimore City. The nonprofit advocacy group intends to contact about 5,000 homeowners and institutional property owners as part of the Water Audit Program. 

Blue Water Baltimore was formed in 2011 from five different nonprofit organizations, all of which shared the same environmental goal, says Dana Puzey, Blue Water’s water audit program manager. The nonprofit will help homeowners pay for green roofs, rain gardens, conservation landscaping and other projects.
 
After doing an initial assessment of storm water on the individual sites, staffers will recommend ways to reduce the volume of water runoff, Puzey says. If the property owner decides to go ahead with the recommendation, he or she can apply for a rebate from Blue Water for the project.
 
Based on previous outreach efforts, Puzey says that many homeowners want to undertake such a project, but it isn't feasible because it’s too expensive or they don’t have a big enough site to make it work.
 
She figures that the 5,000 people they contact will result in 400 projects per year. The number of “in-ground” projects will vary depending on whether Blue Water is able to get matching grants from local government for the federal money.
 
Blue Water’s grant is part of an overall $9.2 million in grants the Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation distributed last month. A total of 41 projects in six states and Washington, D.C., got awards for Chesapeake Bay environmental initiatives.
 
The Baltimore metro area received nearly $750,000. Besides Blue Water’s grant, the Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County received $324,000 to work with the Maryland Transit Administration and Highway Administration on adopting pervious concrete and subsoiling. The project includes a demonstration project to replace an existing parking lot at the Maryland Science Center with pervious concrete.
 
Source: Dana Puzey, Blue Water Baltimore
Writer: Barbara Pash
 

Ignite Awarding Grants to Make Baltimore Better

Ignite Baltimore is seeking applicants for two Ignition Grants, to be awarded for projects that aim to make Baltimore City a better place to live and work. Past winners have included a video tour of the city’s parks and trails and interviews with the city’s homeless population.
 
Applications for the grants of up to $2,250 each are due by midnight on Sept. 30. A committee picks the winners. Now in its fifth year, the awards are sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Technology Council. Previously, the Baltimore Community Foundation sponsored the awards. This year, the sponsor is the Greater Baltimore Technology Council.
 
Kate Bladow, coordinator of the Ignition Grants, says the grants are intended to encourage people who have ideas that address the social and economic challenges of the city. The award-winners speak at the Ignite Baltimore event, which also helps to publicize their ideas.
 
In the past, a grant went to a woman who formed a company in which low-income, stay-at-home mothers made reusable bags for produce that were sold at local farmers’ markets. Another grant-winner taught a video-making course to children at the Walbrook branch of the Enoch Pratt Library and encouraged them to make videos of their neighborhood. A third winner was the developer of a website to showcase Baltimore’s dance community.
 
The winners will be announced at the Ignite Baltimore event, to be held this year on Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Brown Center of the Maryland Institute College of Art on Mount Royal Avenue. Last year, 1,300 people attended the sold-out event. Tickets to the event cost $5 each, and the proceeds are used to fund the Ignition Grants.
 
Source: Kate Bladow, Ignite Baltimore’s Ignition Grants
Writer: Barbara Pash

Marketing Firm Planit Lands Canadian Client, Hires New Staff

Baltimore advertising and marketing firm Planit has landed a new client in residential construction and has hired two new staffers with expertise in that area. Planit is offering branding expertise and website redesign for Royal Building Products.
 
Royal Building Products is the market leader in Canada for siding products and the division is expanding into the U.S. market following the acquisition of an Ohio-based siding manufacturer. Planit’s Executive Creative Strategist and Co-founder Ed Callahan says the firm competed with two other national companies for the contract, which was signed last month.
  
Royal Building Products produces everything from raw materials to finished products for the home building industry. Planit is introducing the company's brand and product line into the American home building marketplace, a projected $10.2 billion industry by 2016, for both builders and consumers. Planit has started working on a campaign to launch its new products in the U.S. market at the Las Vegas International Builder’s Show in January 2013.
 
Callahan says that Planit has added six major new clients, including Royal Building Products, since January 2012. Among the new clients are record company Def Jam; AGCO, a global agricultural company; and Sun of Italy, a Baltimore-based Italian food products manufacturer. 

The agency has also added 20 new staffers since January, including two new employees with expertise in the building product industry, for a total of 55 employees. Planit still has seven positions open, in social media, web application, interactive design and account managment.
 
Source: Ed Callahan, Planit
Writer: Barbara Pash; innovationnnews@bmoremedia.com
 
 
 
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