The small but mighty StarTUp at the Armory team continues to foster authentic connections within the co-working, entrepreneurial, and business communities. As we continue to grow relationships that provide resources and support for entrepreneurs, students, and the Greater Baltimore community, so does our community. This year, we welcomed over 10,000 new and returning faces to the StarTUp as their daily co-working and business engagement space of choice.
The StarTUp team focused on recruiting and building out the resident venture community on the second floor. TapIn, Lytos, FLAVE, and Beckman (previously Stocastic) all continued to thrive. We did welcome a few new businesses that took up residency on the second floor, including Rosebud Flea Markets, Zenjoy Relaxation Drinks, RoBokeh, Sparen, Athlytic, and NORAD. The Baltimore County Small Business support team is also housed on the second floor.
In February, we were privileged to have Governor Wes Moore hold his first cabinet meeting here at the StarTUp at the Armory. Governor Moore shared inspiring remarks with the 2023 Winter StarTUp Accelerator cohort.
In April, Baltimore Business Journal awarded us an INNO Fire Award for the work we do at the StarTUp. Our operating budget and grants for ventures, in just two short years, have a leveraged metric of almost nine times. This means that for every dollar we get, we generate almost nine dollars of economic development. This is only tracking the accelerator and not the co-working space or the business engagement conference rooms.
In June, we hosted members of the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) to showcase how the StarTUp contributes to the local economy, and how members can use similar tactics to further develop their local economies. This tour was a fantastic opportunity to highlight the impact that we have on our community and to position ourselves as a model for other institutions and organizations. The summer Accelerator cohort also participated in the MEDA tour—introducing and pitching their ventures and expanding conversations over lunch.
We had another year of record applications to the accelerator. It’s now easier to be admitted to Georgetown University or Carnegie Mellon University than it is to be admitted to the TU StarTUp Accelerator.
- We accepted our first international venture—HelloTask with fellow Mehedi Hasan Shoron from Bangladesh. Adding an international fellow to our cohort was eye-opening and a learning experience for all ventures. We are happy to report that after completing the accelerator and returning to Bangladesh, Mehedi raised $200,000 from USAID.
- We also had our first veteran fellow, Brett Lanier (West Point), of BettorVision.
- We continue to partner with the Johns Hopkins University FastForward U team. They bring their student cohort to meet the StarTUp Accelerator cohort for a day of collaboration. We also accepted Johns Hopkins University ventures in the StarTUp Accelerator, CurveAssure, member of our summer ‘23 cohort, won the inaugural Johns Hopkins Presidential Venture Fellowship. In 2023, 16 venture teams participated in the Accelerator programming, totaling 30 attendees.
In September, the StarTUp Accelerator Showcase featured all ventures who completed the accelerator in 2023 and drew a record crowd. Members of our community announced the Tiger Fund, a fund that will invest in select ventures from the accelerator.
One of StarTUp at the Armory’s top priorities is to highlight and uplift women entrepreneurs and business owners. In partnership with PNC Bank, the StarTUp facilitates and promotes the Maryland chapter of ATHENAPowerLink® Baltimore. Together, PNC Bank and the StarTUp are hosting ATHENAPowerLink® Baltimore’s first ever Women in Business Speaker Series. This series highlights the accomplishments, challenges, and insights of women business leaders in Maryland. The goal of this partnership is to provide a space, voice, and resources for women business owners to excel and grow their businesses.
Later in the fall we were part of a local area consortium that was awarded Phase I as a designation of a federal tech hub. This distinction demonstrates the importance of our innovative work.
2023 brought so many new partnerships such as State Farm, Monument Women’s Creative Alliance, and Baltimore County Public Schools and Towson University’s College of Fine Arts and Communication. We are very excited about what the future will bring the StarTUp at the Armory and are looking forward to the new year and hope you will stay tuned for all the exciting news soon to come.