I've always believed that resilience is the lifeblood of an entrepreneur. As a former Baltimore resident, that statement equally applies to all Baltimoreans, with the city recently looking to rise above a summer of historic gun violence numbers. However, amidst all of this, there are those still tirelessly driving innovation; entrepreneurs and creators who do not let statistics define them or their city, but rather choose to redefine through action and economic impact. That's the Baltimore I know and love.
One of the most active voices advocating innovation is none other than Under Armour CEO, Kevin Plank, who continues to make headlines, including the massive $5.5 billion Port Covington project being steered by his private real-estate company, Sagamore Development. Plank's investment arm, Sagamore Ventures, has partnered with Baltimore start-up and education technology incubator, Betamore, for their third annual Beta City event.
Beta City: A Celebration of Innovation
Beta City's September 28th event celebrates innovation by uniting Baltimore's community and bringing together creators, innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and more. I had the privilege of attending last year and the entrepreneurial energy was contagious.
The event is hosted at City Garage, a 140,000 square foot warehouse that was abandoned in 2009 and converted into a modern innovation hub for product and community development.
Highlights of this year's event include:
- A full day of startup pitches to venture capitalists, where the top pitch will be awarded a cool $25,000
- Interactive startup demo's -- learn all about emerging Baltimore companies
- 11,000 square foot tent which will house bars, food, entertainment, and demos
- Like-minded networking with over 1,500 of your peers
- Awards ceremony
- Live music, entertainment, and announcements
One of those announcements has already been unveiled. Betamore partnered with iFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform for women-led businesses. They will be launching their first Maryland cohort at Beta City, where applicants can demo + crowdfund, live. Founder & CEO, Karen Cahn added,
"We are thrilled to be launching our first iFundWomen Maryland cohort at Beta City this year. Both the event and our mission are strongly aligned and we look forward to highlighting local, women-led startups and small businesses. Thanks to the exclusive space provided by Beta City, those entrepreneurs will be demoing their products and crowdfunding, live -- a highly complementary dose of energy that will blend very well while we celebrate Baltimore's innovators."
Uniting a City Under One Roof
One of the most underrated aspects of Beta City is appreciating their 'why' behind the event. When speaking with Betamore CEO, Jen Meyer, you could feel the passion and ethos that makes it all worth it,
"Baltimore has come a long way and we're nowhere near being finished. Beta City deeply activates our city and unites us all, celebrating the innovations right in front of us today, and inspiring the entrepreneurial future. When we get a turnout that's 50% higher from last year, it humbly validates that there's a fast-growing demand to be part of a thriving Baltimore ecosystem. It's beyond exciting to be right in the middle of it and it's an equally as exciting time for Baltimore."
Whether you're a Baltimore native or not, any entrepreneur will appreciate the innovation and energy that will inevitably fill the room, and the city of Baltimore -- I know I will. Mark your calendars.