Black Entrepreneurs in Maryland Offered New Source for Seed-Round Funding

By Michael Jenkins 0 Comments

In Maryland, A government backed venture capital firm and a private bank have come together to fund minority entrepreneurs.

The Maryland Technology Development Corp (TEDCO) and the black-owned Harbor Bank of Maryland have partnered to create a program that offers seed-stage funding to African American startups based in Maryland.

TEDCO is “a source for entrepreneurial business assistance and funding in the development of startups across maryland”.  After reviewing data from previous years, TEDCO found that black businesses that applied to their programs were successful; there were just too few African Americans applying.

Further investigation — including feedback from diversity outreach — found that African American entrepreneurs did not have access to funding sources that other founders may have:  friends and family with disposable income to invest in their ideas.

In an intentional effort to change that, TEDCO partnered with Harbor Bank of Maryland to start the Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund, a program that will fund 10 African American entrepreneurs by providing each with $40,000 over four quarters.  Half of the funds will come from TEDCO while the other half will be sourced from Harbor Bank’s in-house community development corporation.

Seasoned entrepreneur McKeever “Mac” Conwell has been tasked to lead the team vetting applicants to the program.

McKeever "Mac" Conwell of TEDCO.

In a Biz Journal article, Conwell explained that “The new pre-seed fund represents a step in the direction of fixing funding disparities in the black innovation community.”

Use the following links for more information on the Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund, TEDCO, and Harbor Bank of Maryland:

Sources:

http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2017/02/14/tedco-harbor-bank-start-new-fund-geared-toward.html

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