Baltimore, MD

Baltimore Innovation Week 2021 - A Whole New Look for Year 10

Susan Kelley

A Virtual Celebration in Charm City
Baltimore Inner HarborPhoto by Brendan Beale on Unsplash

Innovation Week 2021 is almost here in Baltimore, and naturally 2021 brings with it a new way of doing things. The 10th anniversary of Baltimore's Innovation Week, BIW21, takes things online, but spares no creativity in bringing you shiny new ideas. Best of all? The entire event is free!

An impressive lineup of presenters headlines the May 18020 event, a three-day celebration of independently-produced events that showcase local companies and the "good news" stories that have punctuated the trying times of late. There are more than 40 official partners for the event, all working in sync to offer attendees a fantastic experience this year. The event features discussions with local experts in nearly every field imaginable from top companies and the ability to network with them, albeit online instead of at the traditional elbow-rubbing affair.

This year offers an insider view of the positive impact Baltimore is having on the U.S. through innovation and a view into the latest ideas from Charm City innovators.

The event kicks off Tuesday, May 18 at 9AM thanks to the Maryland Momentum Fund, with a session titled "Strengthening Baltimore as a Hub for Innovation." The focus of this session is to showcase Baltimore's entrepreneurial system and its growth. There are a host of incubators, co-working facilities, accelerators, and investment funds in the Baltimore area, making this a great way to start the three-day event. The panel of startup supporters will offer their thoughts on what is going well, what Baltimore lacks, and how the area can support growth. Those in attendance will be asked to offer what they need, how the group overall can build a better, stronger entrepreneurial comunity, and move forward in this decade and beyond to be an innovative hub.

Other Tuesday sessions include Legal Aspects of Fundraising, Accelerating Student Entrepreneurship, Collaborative Design Thinking Opening Access to Black Entrepreneurs, Location-Based Marketing Tips, and more. Each session is led by a local entrepreneur, educator, or local expert in his or her field. Some are returning from last year or prior, having hosted successful panels or discussions in the past. Many area students are expected to log in for the Accelerator session, since this panel, comprised entirely of student entrepreneurs and stakeholders, will explore the growing student entrepreneurial scene in Baltimore at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Wednesday's session offerings include Start Small: Partnerships During the Pandemic, hosted by Towson University, Innovating as a Mother, which features Moms as Entrepreneurs who will interview 3 mom-innovators in order to shed light on not just what it's like to innovate here in Baltimore as a woman, but how to do it as a mother.

Wednesday will also include sessions on what it may be like to operate in a Post-Pandemic economy, a Pet Meet & Greet, and how to scale past your first customer. Wednesday also offers the chance to meet Baltimore City Comptroller Bill Henry, Maryland State Delegate and Comptroller candidate Brooke Lierman, and State Delegate Stephanie Smith for an engaging panel moderated by Jess Gartner, CEO of Allovue, where they will discuss how Maryland is leading the nation in civic finance innovation. The "Start Here, Stay Here" session takes place at 10:30 AM.

Thursday's agenda is equally packed, offering Investment Crowdfunding, Tax Planning, Youth Engagement, and Leading in Social Innovation, plus many, many more. Emerging entrepreneurs on Thursday can learn how to globalize business, since 95 percent of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. U.S. Commercial Service will host a "Going Global" session to discuss how to tap into that 95% and Tech Slice will feature 22 local tech companies to focus on inclusion at any level.

Participants can register for sessions individually on the BIW21 site to get login credentials. All sessions are free of charge, but registration guarantees a spot in the schedule and allows moderators to ensure access for all. Speakers will provide everything that you need to participate fully in each session.

The series of events is a collaborative effort across seven distinctly defined sectors. Leaders have collaborated to encompass creatives, students, entrepreneurs, salespeople, marketing execs, developers, social activists, and wrapped everything into the technology surrounding it to innovate in the Baltimore area. For the tenth year, experts from each of these domains are getting together to network and make Baltimore a more vibrant, forward-thinking city and region.

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Susan is a runner, avid traveler, mom of three grown children, and a newly-transplanted Baltimorean who follows tech trends, especially at the intersection of health and the public good. Sound intriguing? It is. Often, technology is at odds with the "earthy-crunchy," but sometimes, it is a real boost. Susan is an avowed supporter of women's and human rights, so that situates well here.

Baltimore, MD

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