An alliance with Maryland’s HBCUs enables promising, diverse, and underrepresented women business leaders a more equitable future
COLUMBIA, Md. (March 23, 2022)—TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, announced today the launch of its new Women Entrepreneur Leadership Programs. The new programs are designed to build an alliance of diverse founders and CEOs to strategically navigate Maryland’s entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. In collaboration with Maryland’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), TEDCO’s new programs will focus on creating a diversified community of women entrepreneurs and help them grow their companies.
“Using the input from TEDCO’s Task Force for Women Entrepreneurs to develop the course foundation, we were able to create a one-of-a-kind program focusing on mitigating challenges Black women entrepreneurs face,” Linda Singh, executive director for TEDCO’s Women Entrepreneur Leadership.
The leadership program kicks off with a pilot program in Howard County at the Maryland Innovation Center (MIC). The Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence will convene a cohort of 25 women entrepreneurs, with the goal of developing a network of peer advisors and creating a collaborative community. The HBCUs will determine the needs of these entrepreneurs at the intersection of research, tech transfer and education. Maryland’s HBCUs include Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
“Recent numbers show the continued challenges faced by early-stage women entrepreneurs –2.3% of venture funding went to women in 2020, down from an all time high of 2.8% in 2019, yet 42% of all business are women owned,” said Troy LeMaile-Stovall, TEDCO CEO. “TEDCO recognizes the need to ensure all Marylanders, especially women, given that the state has the highest rate per capita of women-owned businesses, are provided the proper opportunities and exposure to realize their dreams. This pilot with our friends in Howard County represents our commitment to ensure our dreams become reality and access to wealth inclusion and expansion opportunities are realized.”
To be eligible for the cohort, applicants must be a founder, co-founder, or CEO whose company is at a minimum of pre-seed to growth stage and a maximum of pre-series A. Watch the webinar to find out more about the program by visiting https://youtu.be/LmUSLXU8Egc.
The new program builds on past work by TEDCO as it works to support women and underrepresented entrepreneurs.
In 2016, TEDCO commissioned a study into the demographics of those start-ups applying for funding and support from TEDCO to try to identify underserved entrepreneurs. As a result of that study, TEDCO launched the Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund, which eventually became the Builder Fund for start-ups run by entrepreneurs who demonstrate economic disadvantage.
In 2019, TEDCO went further by convening its Task Force for Women Entrepreneurs. The 12 thought leaders in the Maryland entrepreneurial ecosystem were tasked with identifying and implementing concrete actions to drive outcomes for women entrepreneurs in the state. The task force came to a close with the recommendation of implementing these programs into the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.