Entrepreneurs in Maryland are being urged to meet some people getting off a bus.
It’s not just any bus. It’s a bus that organizers say can help entrepreneurs take their businesses to another level.
Called “Pitch Across Maryland,” a group of entrepreneurs, investors and others will be on the bus and will dispense advice to representatives of fledgling businesses. They will listen to business owners pitch their ideas, with the best ones getting a chance for national exposure and prizes.
The campaign by Startup Maryland, the local offshoot of the Startup America Partnership that formed last year, kicked off Tuesday with a meeting in Howard County. Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Baltimore sports apparel company Under Armour, is a member of the national group’s board of directors, along with former NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson, computer giant CEO Michael Dell and top executives with FedEx, Netflix and LinkedIn.
A group rode by bus to Ocean City and remained on the Eastern Shore for a few days. Then it’s on to Annapolis, Southern and Western Maryland, Harford County, Baltimore, National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Bethesda, Rockville, Frederick and other sites, before the finale in Columbia Sept. 28.
“We have seen incredible interest from entrepreneurs across the state,” said Julie Lenzer Kirk, director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship in Columbia and co-chairwoman of Startup Maryland. “Over 30 folks signed up to pitch just on the Eastern Shore.”
Stops are scheduled at incubators, economic development agencies, universities and state landmarks. Besides the pitch competition, entrepreneurs will be able to receive coaching and advice from investors, consultants and others, along with information on resources.
“We are excited to host Startup Maryland here in Charles County,” Kwasi Holman, director of the county’s Economic Development Department, said in a county news release. “This is an opportunity to bring some focus to our region and demonstrate the variety of innovation, energy and talent we have here in Charles County and Southern Maryland.”
The Pitch Across Maryland bus will be Tuesday at the CSM La Plata campus at 8730 Mitchell Road from 10 a.m. to noon; in Leonardtown at 22950 Hollywood Road from 1 to 3 p.m.; and in Prince Frederick at 115 J.W. Williams Road from 4 to 6 p.m.
For a complete schedule of tour stops, go to www.md.s.co/blog/pitch-across-maryland. To participate in the competition, entrepreneurs must register in advance.
Contact Marcia Keeth, business development manager for retention and expansion, at KeethM@CharlesCounty.org or 301-885-1345.
Pitch Across Maryland bus tour schedule
Tuesday: Kickoff in Howard County. Stop in Ocean City.
Wednesday: University of Maryland, Eastern Shore; Salisbury University; Cambridge.
Thursday: Easton; Washington College; Chesapeake College.
Friday: State Capitol, Annapolis.
Sept. 18: College of Southern Maryland in La Plata, Leonardtown and Prince Frederick.
To participate in the competition, entrepreneurs must register in advance. Contact Marcia Keeth, business development manager for retention and expansion, at KeethM@CharlesCounty.org or 301-885-1345.
Sept. 19: Higher Education and Applied Technology Center, Aberdeen; University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Sept. 20: University of Baltimore.
Sept. 21: Department of Business and Economic Development headquarters, Baltimore; Federal Hill.
Sept. 24: National Harbor; Bethesda Green headquarters.
Sept. 25: William E. Hanna Jr. Innovation Center, Rockville; Frederick Innovation Technology Center.
Sept. 27: Garrett Community College; Hagerstown.
Sept. 28: Mid-Atlantic Biotech Conference, North Bethesda; Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia.
Go to startupmd.org.