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Startup Maryland Team Briefs White House Officials


Maryland’s “Unfair Advantage” Unveiled as Theme for Initiatives to

Celebrate Entrepreneurs and Help Inflect their Businesses —



Startup Maryland (startupmd.org), a state-wide initiative FOR Entrepreneurs … BY Entrepreneurs, was recognized during a White House briefing that corresponds with the two-year anniversary of the Startup America Partnership, a national entrepreneurship initiative in which Startup Maryland is a leading region.

Startup Maryland co-chairs Julie Lenzer Kirk and Michael Binko joined officials from Startup America, entrepreneurs from other high-performing regions, as well as Maryland Entrepreneur Champions from three startups that represent the rich diversity of Maryland’s innovation economy:

  • Brian Murphy, founder/CEO of Smith Island Baking Co. (http://smithislandcake.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.

“Startup Maryland has done an amazing job engaging young companies throughout their state, attracting more than 500 startups participants in the eight months since they launched,” stated Scott Case, CEO of Startup America Partnership. “They have set a great example for other startup communities across the country as they’ve identified the state’s biggest issues facing entrepreneurs and come up with innovative strategies to address them.”

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 president/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 affords 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 all of the Startup America regions,” concluded Case.

About Startup Maryland:

Startup Maryland (startupmd.org) is a regions initiative launched out of the Startup America Partnership (www.S.co).  It is a state-wide initiative FOR entrepreneurs BY entrepreneurs to bring entrepreneurial resources together, increase access to resources / capital / deal flow and boost awareness, while also bringing together entrepreneurs in a community of support to drive greater economic outcomes.

About the Startup America Partnership:

The Startup America Partnership (www.s.co) is a growing national movement of thousands of founders, experts and resources providing startups access to the corporations, investors, and services they need to grow. Launched in early 2011, the Partnership brings together startups and local champions from around the country focused on creating successful networks for young, high-growth companies to thrive. AOL co-founder Steve Case chairs the Partnership and the Kauffman and Case Foundations are its founding partners.

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