Innovators of Progress is providing resources for university students to explore entrepreneurship, and get connected to the community that’s committed to building startups in the Baltimore region.
The pre-accelerator is designed to give students experience applying entrepreneurial processes such as customer and product discovery to building a new venture. In the one-year program, students receive seed capital, access to virtual classes, tuition assistance and paid internships. In all, students can receive up to $15,000 in capital.
It’s designed for learning, and to set up students for success following the program.
“We’re trying to prepare students for that next step,” Proctor said.
Alongside education and experience, the program is also geared toward connecting students with the resources to build in Baltimore. It’s all aimed at creating a pipeline for students students so that when they finish school, “they have somewhere to go almost the next day when they’re done, and they can have funding available if they put their best effort into it,” Proctor said.
This year, that resulted in a new partnership with Conscious Venture Lab, the Baltimore-based accelerator focused on supporting companies building models for social impact as well as business success. CVL Program Director Marianna Pappas said it was a “no-brainer” to join forces, as the two orgs are motivated to build businesses that are a force for good.
“Both organizations exist to provide opportunities for the talent and great ideas that are right here in Maryland and investing time, effort, and funding in these entrepreneurs as they navigate the Baltimore startup ecosystem will have a vast impact on our community and beyond,” Pappas said.
Conscious Venture Lab will support companies with mentorship from its team, as well as connections through its network. It also sets up potential that ventures can join the Lab’s 16-week accelerator after completing Innovators of Progress.
This builds on an existing partnership between Innovators of Progress and the Maryland Tech Internship Program, a state-run program administered by UMBC that connects students with internships at tech companies and startups.
In a move to make the application process accessible, Proctor said Innovators of Progress is making the initial application short. Then, if students are approved, a second round includes submitting a more complete proposal.