The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and The Harbor Bank of Maryland Community Development Corporation (HBCDC) announced today the launch of a pilot program, the Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund (MBPF). The MBPF will provide pre-seed capital and mentorship to underrepresented tech entrepreneurs in Maryland.
“The Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund is designed to be TEDCO’s initial attempt to grow entrepreneurship in underrepresented communities with the goal of fueling innovation and economic development in Maryland,” stated TEDCO President and COO John Wasilisin. “By partnering with Harbor Bank, a top-rated African-American-owned financial institution whose mission aligns with the MBPF, TEDCO’s initial effort is aimed to broaden the resources available to African-American tech entrepreneurs.”
TEDCO’s mission is to facilitate the creation of tech businesses and foster their growth throughout the State through the commercialization of technology. Nationally known as more than a seed/early-stage funding and support resource, TEDCO has invested in more than 400 seed investments over 14 years through 8 funding and 6 mentoring and education programs. TEDCO’s $22 million awarded to start-ups resulted in $1 billion follow-on funding.
Harbor Bank started in 1982 with a mission to serve the urban market, and in particular African-Americans who were disproportionately rejected by majority institutions. Even today, a study conducted by TEDCO in 2016 indicates the African-American community lacks access to early pre-seed funds, traditionally known as the “friends and family round.” The MBPF pilot program will provide 10 African-American entrepreneurs with up to $40,000 each to test initial business assumptions and build a prototype.
“This pre-seed funding partnership with TEDCO is a continuation of Harbor Bank’s work to address an unmet need in the community. Nearly 35 years ago, The Harbor Bank of Maryland was founded to address the need for access to capital and financial services in Greater Baltimore,” stated Joseph Haskins Jr, Chairman, President and CEO of the Harbor Bankshares Corporation. “We continue to be innovative in our support of small businesses and entrepreneurs to drive economic development in the state.”
The Harbor Bank of Maryland Community Development Corporation’s recent showcase of African-American technology companies led to approximately one million dollars in early-stage commitments for the firms involved. HBCDC is also developing a co-working space at its Baltimore headquarters to support underserved entrepreneurs.
MBPF information sessions are scheduled for February 22, 2017 at TEDCO in Columbia and March 1, 2017 at The Harbor Bank of Maryland’s 25 West Fayette Street branch in Baltimore from 5-6:30 p.m.
TEDCO plans to begin accepting applications for the MBPF program on March 1, 2017. Fund investment terms and conditions can be found online at www.tedco.md/program/minority-business-pre-seed-fund-mbpf. For more information about TEDCO and HBCDC’s Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund, contact McKeever Conwell at firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-715-4180 or Calvin Young at email@example.com, 443-923-0534.