TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, announced today the launch of its new Women Entrepreneur Leadership Programs. The programs 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 programs will focus on creating a diversified community of women entrepreneurs and helping 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,” said 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. 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.
Prioritizing female business owners
“Recent numbers show the continued challenges faced by early-stage women entrepreneurs. 2.3 percent of venture funding went to women in 2020, down from an all-time high of 2.8 percent in 2019, yet 42 percent of all businesses are women-owned,” said Troy LeMaile-Stovall, TEDCO CEO. “TEDCO recognizes the need to ensure all Marylanders, especially women, have opportunities and exposure to realize their dreams. Especially given that the state has the highest rate per capita of women-owned businesses. This pilot with our friends in Howard County represents our commitment to this goal. We want to make sure 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.
A history of supporting women and underrepresented entrepreneurs at TEDCO
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. Read more about the task force on Lioness here.
Learn more about the Women Entrepreneur Leadership Programs and view the request for applications by visiting the website at https://www.tedcomd.com/women-programs.