Serial Entrepreneur Lily Bengfort to Join Startup Maryland for “Raise Your Game” Bootcamp Session

Startup Maryland (www.startupmd.org), an initiative of the UpGlobal consortium (www.up.co)today announced that Lily Bengfort will participate as the second instructor-mentor for Raise Your Game.

Raise Your Game is Startup Maryland’s bootcamp initiative developed to provide the entrepreneurial community with a structured educational program and to help startup CEOs and founders understand and employ the building blocks of strong startups and startup communities. The new twist for this bootcamp is that the sessions will be proctored/taught by experienced (often serial) entrepreneurs who are very well-recognized and respected.

Ms. Bengfort is an award winning entrepreneur who has co-founded and built two successful firms, both of which were acquired by larger companies: Preferred Pest Control acquired by American Pest and CenGen Inc. a leader in the field of highly mobile tactical wireless networks acquired (2011) by DRS Technologies, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica Group (FNC.MI), a multi-billion dollar defense contractor which ranks among the top 10 global players in aerospace, defense and security.

Other ventures for Ms. Bengfort have included leading edge hardware and software solutions for networking and communications, including secure highly mobile ad hoc networks using voice, video and data sharing applications in disruptive bandwidth constrained environments as well as service areas.

“Lily is one of the most recognizable leading-women in Maryland entrepreneurship and with her track-record of results she is an ideal mentor for young startup entrepreneurs,” stated Julie Lenzer Kirk, Co-Chair of Startup Maryland. “With a cross-section of industries in her background Lily knows first-hand some of the common pitfalls to avoid when considering such daunting challenges as selling to the Federal government or deciding when and how to sell your company.”

With government clients in the military and national security areas, Ms. Bengfort built CenGen into a multi-million-dollar concern, winning several national awards for exceptional service and achievement including the U.S. Small Business Administration Maryland Business person of the year in 2010 and DARPA Director’s Award for helping the agency fulfill its mission to conceive, explore and demonstrate advanced and breakthrough technologies in 2005. She was named Influential Marylander for Technology in 2011 by The Daily Record and Maryland Technology Company of the year in 2006.

Guyana, South American-born, Ms. Bengfort is no stranger to accolades and recognition. In 2009, she received the FIRN American Success Award and was selected to be a Fellow of the University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law and the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Programs in 2012.

Currently, Ms. Bengfort is president of MINC-IT where she actively advises and invests in early-stage education and digital technology ventures.

 

A Roadmap to Raising Your Game as an Entrepreneur

Beginning with the first session on July 25, 2013 which featured Under Armour founder/CEO, Kevin Plank, Raise Your Game consists of 6 monthly educational “bootcamp” programs emphasizing the critical components of building successful companies.

The 6 primary topics of the Raise Your Game bootcamp include:

  • CEO 101 (7/25) – How to be a strong startup CEO and team leader (Kevin Plank)
  • Starting Up (8/15) – Best practices when forming your company | avoiding pitfalls
  • Planning for Financial Success (9/19) – Financial Models, capitalization table, accounting
  • Virtualizing Your Company (10/17) – Lean Startup approach | outsourcing
  • Go-to-Market Strategies (11/21) – Sales, marketing, PR, channel | distribution
  • Raising Capital and Exit Roadmapping (12/19) – Lifecycle stages, financing options, exits

Registration can be found at: https://startupmdraiseyourgame.eventbrite.com

 

Raise Your Game is the first component of Startup Maryland’s Coaching initiative. Coaching joinsConnectionCelebration and Capital as four primary Areas of Concentration for Startup Maryland throughout 2013 and beyond. These four guiding initiatives were officially announced at a White House reception, during which Startup Maryland highlighted past successes and future plans for Presidential advisors and officials from several government agencies.

“No matter whether entrepreneurs are just starting out with an idea or ready to inflect their startup into hyper-growth, Raise Your Game provides perspective and knowledge for leader-peers at all stages,” stated Michael Binko, founder and co-chair, Startup Maryland.

Upon successful completion of the full Raise Your Game program, graduate-CEOs will join an exclusive alumni network. To learn more, watch the video replay of an informative Raise Your Gamewebinar here http://youtu.be/8C4JVlH1fxs.

 

Empowering Entrepreneur Champions

Near the end of 2012, Startup Maryland began a campaign to engage its participants as Entrepreneur 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 a Theme and Areas of Focus were identified and prioritized. The connective and coaching/mentorship aspects of building strong startup communities compliment the celebration and capital access goals forming the four pillars of the Startup Maryland mission.

Looking for other startup/entrepreneur guidance and resources? Join the Startup Maryland entrepreneurial community. Learn more at http://www.startupmaryland.org

 

About Startup Maryland:

Startup Maryland is a regions initiative launched out of UpGlobal – an entity fostered jointly by the Case Foundation and The Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship. Startup Maryland is an initiative FOR entrepreneurs BY entrepreneurs to bring entrepreneurial resources together, improve awareness/celebration and increase access to capital / deal flow and mentorship, while also bringing together entrepreneurs in a community of support to drive greater economic outcomes.

Eastern Shore’s first Co-working Space opens June 26 in Salisbury

Home-based offices and telecommuting have grown exponentially in the last decade as entrepreneurs, freelancers and corporate employees leverage technology to make any space with Internet access a workplace. Although the benefits of working from home or an Internet café are numerous, the opportunities for networking, collaborating and engaging in the creative process are often lacking. Many solopreneurs are flocking to co-working spaces to fill that void.

Mike Thielke, right, executive director of Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC), will welcome Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown to officially open hotDesks, Maryland Eastern Shore’s first co-working space in Salisbury

Mike Thielke, right, executive director of Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC), will welcome Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown to officially open hotDesks, Maryland Eastern Shore’s first co-working space in Salisbury

A co-working space is a physical, “wired” location where individuals with workspace flexibility collaborate, and often, develop new business ideas. Although a relatively new concept in the United States, the co-working movement has been operating in Europe for several years. According to the Global Coworking Survey 2012, there are nearly 800 coworking spaces in the United States, and more than 2,000 worldwide.

The region’s first co-working space will officially open on Wednesday, June 26, with a ribbon-cutting featuring Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, followed by facility tours. Located off Route 50 at the Tri-County Multi-Purpose Center, 31901 Tri-County Way, Salisbury, hotDesks is a program of the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC).

hotDesks is a 1,800 square foot space with 24/7 magnetic-card security access. The room is equipped with a whiteboard wall, a network printer, cell phone signal booster, a fax, copier and shredder, and workspace for up to 40 people. A separate area for making private phone and video calls, as well as a conference room and kitchen space are also included. hotDesks will soon be equipped with a desktop 3D printer for entrepreneurs interested in makerspaces, locations where people gather to share resources and knowledge to create and build things.

“Typically when people talk about telecommuting or home-based offices they talk about increased productivity,” says Mike Thielke, executive director of ESEC. “But it doesn’t account for creativity and the power of inspiring new ideas and businesses through collaboration. The ability to share and develop ideas with others is an inherent ingredient for innovation. Co-working spaces like hotDesks provide the best of both worlds,” he adds.

Entrepreneurs, freelancers and transient workers access hotDesks as members, choosing the membership option that best suits their needs ranging from $150 per month for full-time members to $20 per day for drop-ins. Membership includes:

Wireless Internet
Cell phone signal booster
Undedicated desks & chairs
Lounge area
Conference rooms
24/7 magnetic-card security access
Network printer
Fax/copier/shredder
Whiteboard wall
Kitchen with unlimited coffee, tea, water, and popcorn.

hotDesks, Tri-County Council Multi-Purpose Center, 31901 Tri-County Way, Salisbury, is Maryland Eastern Shore’s first co-working space. Co-working is a new style of working because it blends the flexibility of working from home with the social and professional benefits of being in a vibrant office. hotDesks is designed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship by providing a community for independent entrepreneurs.

For hotDesks information contact (410) 770-9330, info@hotDesks.org or twitter.com/hotDesksMD.

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Upper Shore SCORE Chapter Awards First Nano Loan

Sitting: Tyrus Brown, Owner of Brown Seafood.  Standing, left to right: Tom Beckett and Chuck Miller, Upper Shore SCORE mentors.  Michael Thielke, Executive Director, Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center

Sitting: Tyrus Brown, Owner of Brown Seafood. Standing, left to right: Tom Beckett and Chuck Miller, Upper Shore SCORE mentors. Michael Thielke, Executive Director, Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center

The local SCORE chapter headquartered in Chestertown and serving Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties has provided its first Nano Loan to a local seafood business.  Brown’s Seafood, owned by Tyrus Brown, was awarded a loan to expand his seafood business.  Mr. Brown opened his business in Queen Anne’s County about 12 years ago.  His company ships fresh seafood purchased from watermen in Queen Anne’s county to a growing number of customers located in an expanding regional market that includes Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and Delaware.

Tyrus plans to use his loan to purchase equipment to expand his services to include on-site catering of fresh seafood.

The Nano Loan program was developed by members of the Upper Shore Chapter 670 to help fill a gap in the availability of very small business loans for start-up and existing small businesses.  Nano Loans are also available for educational expenses related to approved certification programs.

Two non-profit organizations–the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center headquartered in Easton and Maryland Capital Enterprises, Inc. in Salisbury—are providing financial and administrative services for the Upper Shore Nano Loan program.

The program is an experiment limited to applicants from Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties.  SCORE has a limitation of $2,500 per loan, an interest rate of 6.5% and a term of up to 36 months for repayment.

To learn more about the program, call  SCORE at 410-810-2969.  If your call is not answered, leave your  name and phone number and you will be contacted by a SCORE Mentor.

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Maryland in Top Ten in Country for Entrepreneurship

According to Entrepreneur magazine, Maryland is considered to be in the top ten states for entrepreneurs.

Here are the top 10 states ranked for entrepreneurship and innovation, as measured by the number of high-tech businesses in the state, programs that support entrepreneurs, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) job concentration. Each state that made the list has something unique to offer resident entrepreneurs.

  1. MarylandThe Maryland Entrepreneurs Resource List is a networking tool for connecting experienced tech executives with young startup entrepreneurs. The University of Maryland Baltimore County’s ACTiVATE initiative, supported by the state’s Technology Development Corporation, gives female entrepreneurs over a year of support and guidance as they launch their tech startups.
  2. Colorado: In addition to attracting hikers and bikers, the Western state is a hotbed for high-tech businesses and ranks fourth in the country for the number of new businesses born. Also, it has a relatively high concentration of STEM jobs and in the last two years has bolstered its high-tech workforce with an additional 1,100 software programmers, 840 engineers, and 675 science research jobs.
  3. Virginia: In addition to having the highest concentration of STEM jobs of any state in the U.S., Virginia has been home to the Center for Innovative Technology since 1985. The CIT’s mission is to promote technology-based economic growth in the state and is focused on getting money to more entrepreneurs in the very early, seed round of funding.
  4. UtahThe Utah Science, Technology, and Research initiative (USTAR) at the University of Utah, which is dedicated to turning research at the state’s universities into commercial businesses, received $6 million in funding in 2012. Also, the state and the Governor’s office teamed up with Weber State University to offer entrepreneurs courses, mentorship and affordable working space in a program called Startup Ogden.
  5. Massachusetts: The New England state, home to some of the most prestigious research institutes in the country, including Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a hub for STEM jobs. Also, in 2012, the state legislature passed a bill that will allow the Massachusetts to invest in several long-term research and development activities, provide $1 million for paid internships in startups, and another $1 million for a program to mentor entrepreneurs about how and when to access venture capital funding.
  6. Texas: The Lone Star State has more than 2.2 million small-businesses accounting for more than half of its private sector jobs. Also, since 2009, Texas has ramped up its STEM workforce by 34,000, primarily in the computer and IT fields.
  7. WashingtonImpact Washington supports manufacturing in the state and has a specific program targeting small manufacturers. Also, manufacturers can get access to funding through the state’s Washington Economic Development Finance Authority’s Industrial Revenue Bond program. In addition to its support for manufacturing, the home state of software giant Microsoft has a high percentage of STEM workers, with notable concentrations in engineering, science and computer workers.
  8. Arizona: The Southwestern state hosts the Arizona Innovation Challenge each year where it gives out $3 million in awards to entrepreneurs. Also, the state encourages investment in small Arizona businesses by granting tax credits through its Angel Investment Program, which it has budgeted $20 million for through 2016. Also, Arizona has a Fast Grant program giving winning entrepreneurs funding to use to hire expert consultants and test new products. The goal of the program is to help startups transform an innovative new product or idea into a money-making venture.
  9. Georgia: Atlanta is relatively active city for venture capital, with 54 startups getting money in 2012, according to the National Venture Capital Association, the venture-capital industry association. The capital city’s co-working space, The Atlanta Tech Village, has a waiting list of more than 100 people, a sign of the city’s active startup culture. Also, the Georgia Department of Economic Development runs a training program called Entrepreneur-Friendly Communities where it teaches local communities how to encourage and foster small-business growth.
  10. Florida: While Florida doesn’t have much to brag about when it comes to encouraging innovation, the Sunshine State has the highest business birth rate in the U.S., helping it to narrowly secure a spot on the entrepreneurship list. Also, the state has a very high growth rate of self-employed individuals, including the addition of 59,000 personal finance advisors since 2002, 39,000 property managers, and 38,000 securities and financial services individuals.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226521#ixzz2S9Pa8kKO

Startup Maryland Announces 2013 Dates for Pitch Bus Tour

Startup Maryland today announced dates (September 9 – 27) and the rough route for the Pitch Across Maryland 2.0, the second annual state-wide tour and celebration of entrepreneurship and startup companies.

Referred to by CBS News affiliate WBOC-TV 16 as “Opportunity on Wheels,” the inaugural Pitch Across Maryland tour was an overwhelming success last year. The bus traversed the state all in the name of celebrating entrepreneurship. A sampling of details, key data and results from last year’s tour follow:

25 tour stops around the state
6 months of active media coverage; more than 1 million press impressions
More than 30 “Rock Star” tour sponsors/partners including (universities, economic development agencies, angel/VC investors, incubators/accelerators, affinity brand owners, sponsors)
More than 225 startups attended; 168 startups “pitched” their idea/business
Video Pitch Competition winnowed field to Top 3 Fan Favorites and 8 Finalists as Best Candidates for Venture Investment
Governor Martin O’Malley got in on the action and on the bus rolling up his sleeves alongside Maryland startups. O’Malley pitched the Invest Maryland Challenge and MD Venture Fund
During the Tour Startup Maryland jumped from # 22 to # 4 in startup density (# of startups per million population) a key metric; Startup Maryland has since moved up to rank # 2 in U.S.
Startup Maryland was invited to the White House and Capitol Hill to brief President Obama’s OSTP team and testify to Congress on how to cultivate strong startup communities

“This year’s Pitch Across Maryland 2.0 will be bigger and better,” stated Julie Lenzer Kirk, Startup Maryland co-chair. “With 6 months to plan instead of 6 weeks we anticipate a much larger turn-out and many more mentors/partners at each Tour Stop.

Stakeholders from all categories are already lining up to co-host stops and herald the celebration. While Startup Maryland intends to remain true to it’s BY Entrepreneurs … FOR Entrepreneurs mission the simple fact is the wealth of resources available to startups in Maryland is relatively unequaled and more surprisingly … unknown.

“From research dollars flowing through federal labs (NIH; USDA; NASA; NIST) to cyber-security and defense hubs (Ft. Meade – NSA/DISA; Ft. Detrick; APG) to world leading academic institutions (Johns Hopkins; UMBC; University of Maryland) this confluence of resources gives Maryland startups an Unfair Advantage,” added Michael Binko, co-chair Startup Maryland. “This concept of resource wealth and the Unfair Advantage is a key theme identified by our Startup Maryland entrepreneur Champions as critical in their efforts to forge and inflect strong high-growth companies,” Binko continued.

At each stop, Startup Maryland and Tour Sponsors/Partners host rallies sharing information about the incredible entrepreneurial resources across the state. Additionally, entrepreneurs are provided coaching, guidance and support from business mentors and other leaders from TEDCO, DBED as well as active angel/VC investors.

Then, the entrepreneurs climb onto the bus and pitch their idea/business in the mobile UpStart Show™ video studio. Videos are uploaded to YouTube® and then open to public viewing/voting. This aspect of the competition allows the entrepreneurs, sponsors and tour hosts to activate social networks for even broader awareness and celebration.

For the blog from the road last year go to http://www.governor.maryland.gov/blog/?p=6848 . For more information as well as a complete schedule of tour stops see below and visit www.startupmd.org:

Employee-Ownership Conference May 10

What does it mean to be an owner? In We the Owners: Employees Expanding the American Dream, employee-owners from New Belgium Brewing, Namasté Solar, and DPR Construction answer this important question.

Successfully thriving in the global economy of the 21st century and beyond will require new business models and strategies to enable the American Dream of opportunity and economic prosperity. One model that is an alternative is the employee-ownership model (e.g. ESOP, stock/stock options, cooperatives).

We the Owners captures stories from the founders and employees sharing the workers’ perspectives on shared ownership structures, highly empowering corporate cultures, linked reward and risk incentives,
and human-capital innovation models.

The film follows as decisions are made on founding the company, expansion, succession, recruitment, and layoffs.

Presented by
Mary Ann Beyster, Executive
Producer and President of The
Foundation for Enterprise Development

The Free on the Shore Employee-Ownership Conference will be held on Friday May 10,
2013 on the campus of Salisbury (MD) University. http://www.salisbury.edu
On site check-in and registration 9:00 to 9:25AM , program 9:30 to 11:00 AM.

Salisbury’s New Co-Working Space Hosts NASA Space Apps Challenge April 19-21

Space exploration has captivated Americans for more than five decades. The science brought back from missions often generated new ideas that were applied to solve challenges for life on Earth. It is with this entrepreneurial spirit that NASA, government agencies and organizations worldwide will host the second International Space Apps Challenge April 20-21, with events across all seven continents.

In all, 80 locations on seven continents in 42 countries including 19 in the United States will participate. hotDesks, a new co-working space in Salisbury, Md., will be the only Delmarva location, and one of only five locations in the Mid-Atlantic region.  The 2012 challenge engaged more than 2,000 participants who collaborated on more than 100 open source solutions to 71 featured challenges.

hotDesks will host a weekend event from April 19-21, and is currently accepting registration. To register go to spaceappschallenge.org and click on “register” at the top right. The event is free and is open to individuals with a broad range of skills, including engineers, technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, students, and entrepreneurs.

The Salisbury event is presented by the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC), Salisbury University, and event partners the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Maryland Capital Enterprises (MCE), and Betamore.

“This event is a perfect launch for our co-working space,” says Mike Thielke, executive director of ESEC. “A co-working space taps into the impact community and teamwork creating new ideas and new businesses. The NASA Space Apps Challenge is also harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit of citizen volunteers to solve problems, “ he adds.

“What sets apart the International Space Apps Challenge from other events is that this is a collaborative opportunity to engage people from all over the world to participate in space exploration and develop state-of-the-art technology to improve life on Earth and in space,” said Nick Skytland, program manager of NASA’s Open Innovation Program.

How it works

More than 50 challenges have been designed for this year’s event. Each event location will choose a subset of projects to help focus their teams. Challenges categories include: software; hardware’ citizen science; and data visualization. To view this year’s challenges visit: http://spaceappschallenge.org/challenges.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptops, no computers will be provided. Wireless Internet with sufficient bandwidth and IP addresses will be available.  We will be video/web streaming live online connection with other International Space Apps Challenge sites worldwide.

Winning project teams will be selected in areas such as best solution on a specific challenge, most creative solution, most social impact, etc.  Two project teams will be selected for consideration in the NASA’s global judging process.  Global awards will be announced two to three weeks after the event.

For more event information or to register, visit spaceappschallenge.org.

hotDesks, Tri-County Council Multi-Purpose Center, 31901 Tri-County Way, Salisbury, is Maryland Eastern Shore’s first co-working space. Co-working is a new style of working because it blends the flexibility of working from home with the social and professional benefits of being in a vibrant office.  For hotDesks information call (410) 770-9330, info@hotDesks.org or twitter.com/hotDesksMD.

Business Plan Contest Open to High School & College Students Deadline April 19

The Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC) and Maryland Capital Enterprises (MCE) are hosting the second annual Student Business Plan Competition on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The deadline for registration has been extended to Friday, April 19, at 5 p.m. For eligibility, rules, and submission information, visit www.ShoreBizPlan.com or call (410) 770-9330.

Eligible participants from area public and private high schools and community colleges must be residents Maryland’s Eastern Shore: Mid-Shore County Region (Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot) or Lower Shore County Region (Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester). Community college participants must be part-time or full-time students at Chesapeake or Wor-Wic community colleges.

Semi-Final cash prizes are: First Place – $500; Second Place – $250; and Third Place – $100. Finalist cash prizes are: First Place – $1,000; Second Place – $500; and Third Place – $250.

Open to individuals or teams, the competition seeks unique, innovative, and scalable business plans that could be fundable for any idea of a commercial endeavor. All submissions must be the original work of those making the submission and must describe a new or early-stage company.

Semi-final judging will take place by district: Chesapeake College and Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot county students and Wor-Wic Community College and Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester county students. Each district will hold its own Semi-Final Round consisting of five finalists from which three winners will be selected. All winners from each district advance to an Eastern Shore final judging.

The competition is designed to motivate students to assess their own skill sets and characteristics in relation to areas of existing personal interest or knowledge in which they could successfully make a living and possibly create jobs for themselves and others on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Founded in 2006, the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center works to develop and enhance an entrepreneurial ecosystem on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. ESEC provides training; services and programs to help business owners and entrepreneurs succeed by creating greater access to capital, and offering programs that develop entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. Included are ShoreVenture, a comprehensive 10-week entrepreneur-training program, annual business plan and student plan competitions, and an annual entrepreneur conference.

In 2012, ESEC launched “hotDesks,” providing co-working spaces for independent professionals. The first location opened in Salisbury with a second location to be announced on the Eastern Shore. For more information on the business plan competition or ESEC, call (410) 770-9330 or visit ventureahead.org.

The International Space Apps Challenge Gearing Up

International Space Apps has  announced that registration for the 2013 Space Apps Challenge is now open! 75 cities around the world will be participating, making this year’s Space Apps one of the largest mass collaborations ever. We hope you can join us on April 20 – 21, 2013 and take part in this monumental event.

The International Space Apps Challenge is a technology development event during which citizens from around the world work together to solve challenges relevant to improving life on Earth and life in space. We’ve worked with some of the most brilliant minds around the world to create highly curated challenges to serve as inspiration for your projects, and we’ve partnered with some of the most innovative people we could find across the globe to host a network of captivating, inspirational, and fun events. However, Space Apps isn’t limited to just physical venues – we invite citizens from around the world to participate virtually (just select “virtual participation” as your venue when you sign up – we’ll send you everything you need!)

Startup Maryland Starts Raise Your Game initiative

Startup Maryland (www.startupmd.org), a regional initiative of the national Startup America Partnership (www.s.co), today announced the Raise Your Game initiative to provide the Maryland entrepreneur community with a structured educational program designed to help startup CEOs and founders understand and employ the building blocks of strong startups and startup communities.

Development of the Raise Your Game program and curriculum was led by Startup Maryland Entrepreneur Champions Sam Polakoff, (president of TBB Global Logistics), Gregg Smith (CEO of Koolspan) and Startup Maryland co-chair Michael Binko (CEO of kloudtrack®). Beginning in July of 2013, Raise Your Game will consist of a 6 month educational “bootcamp” program emphasizing the critical components of building successful companies. These topics include:

CEO 101 – How to be a strong startup CEO and team leader
Starting Up – Best practices when forming your company | avoiding pitfalls
Planning for Financial Success – Financial Models, capitalization tables, accounting
Virtualizing Your Company – Lean Startup approach | outsourcing non-core functions
Go-to-Market Strategies – Sales, marketing, PR, channel | distribution development
Raising Capital and Exit Roadmapping – Lifecycle stages, financing options, exits

NOTE: a video is available on the Startup MD YouTube site @: http://youtu.be/8C4JVlH1fxs

The Raise Your Game initiative is the first component of Startup Maryland’s Coaching initiative. Coaching joins Connection, Celebration and Capital as four primary Areas of Concentration for Startup Maryland throughout 2013 and beyond. These four guiding initiatives were officially announced at a White House reception during which Startup Maryland highlighted past successes and future plans for Presidential advisors and officials from several government agencies. (See Empowering Entrepreneur Champions below for more detail).

“Peer-to-peer mentorship and coaching is one of the cornerstones of Startup Maryland efforts over the next year and beyond,” stated Binko. “Open dialog between founders/entrepreneurs is proven to be one of the most beneficial learning methodologies for high-growth startup leaders. Startup Maryland is moving to formalize an approach with the Raise Your Game program.”
Whether entrepreneurs are just starting out with an idea or ready to inflect their startup into hyper-growth, Raise Your Game provides perspective and knowledge for CEO peers at all stages.

“Taught by experienced serial entrepreneurs/CEOs with specific subject matter expertise,
Raise Your Game participants will be empowered to network with entrepreneur peers while also gaining valuable perspectives from service providers (legal, accounting, PR/marketing) professionals who will also be invited to provide specific guidance on selected topics,” added Julie Lenzer Kirk, Startup Maryland co-chair.

Upon successful completion of the Raise Your Game program, graduate-CEOs will join an exclusive alumni network. To learn more, join us for an upcoming (March 14 @ 11 am ET) informative Raise Your Game webinar, go to: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/972651137

Empowering Entrepreneur Champions
Near the end of 2012, Startup Maryland began a campaign to engage its participants as Entrepreneur 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, a Theme and Areas of Focus were identified and prioritized. The connective and coaching/mentorship aspects of building strong startup communities compliment the celebration and capital access goals forming the four pillars of the Startup Maryland mission.

With active universities, accelerators, economic development agencies and innovation partners like Maryland TEDCO and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), Startup Maryland is concentrating on the entrepreneur communities to strengthen Maryland’s economic fabric while fostering a climate where the most promising companies can help each other while leveraging the state’s Unfair Advantage in order to inflect and thrive.

Looking for other startup/entrepreneur guidance and resources?

Join the Startup Maryland entrepreneurial community at http://startupmd.org/become-a-member/

About Startup Maryland:
Startup Maryland (www.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.