Startup Champions Network Summits

Twice annually, Startup Champion Network members meet in-person to connect, share knowledge/experiences and take a deep, behind-the-scenes dive into the local host ecosystem.  This personal interaction is a critical part of the member value-proposition as well as an important commitment all members make -- to celebrate each other.

These 2.5 day intimate gatherings bring together the nation's top ecosystem builders and national ecosystem support organizations to convene conversations, gain insight from real world case studies, and explore and experience new communities, against the backdrops of some of the nation's top emerging ecosystems. Summits address topics most relevant-to and of interest-to members including:

  • Inclusive Entrepreneurship (Baltimore Summit Theme) 

  • Changing a community's culture to believe in possibility

  • Fostering collaboration

  • Engaging and empowering under-represented populations

  • Leading coalition support for entrepreneurship and innovation

  • Funding your ecosystem building efforts

  • Forging stronger startup teams

  • Creating mentor-driven networks

  • Unlocking local/regional capital and attracting outside capital

  • Supporting and connecting with corporate innovators

  • And more topics/best-practices from Members


Where: Baltimore, Maryland
When: Sept 28-30, 2016
Hosted By: Startup Maryland

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
— Edgar Allan Poe, From the Short Story Eleonora, 1842

Join us in Baltimore in September!

Crab cakes and Football .... that's what Maryland does, right?!


**more details to come**

Wednesday, September 28

11:30 – 1:30pm: Optional Pre-Activity 1: STRT1UP Roadshow Tour Stop @ Spark

3:00 – 5:00pm:  Optional Pre-Activity 2: Under Armour Worldwide HQ + Wellness Innovations

5:00 – 6:30pm:   Optional Pre-Activity 3: Innovation and The Cannabusiness Entrepreneur (Offit)

7:00 - 9:00pm:  Dinner

9:00pm +: After-hours (Federal Hill / Fells Point / Harbor East / Village North)


Thursday, September 29

8:00 - 8:30am:  Breakfast: Welcome to Spark (Hosts: Shervonne/Beth + Cordish Cos.)

8:30 - 9:00am:  Welcome to Baltimore (Various Dignitaries)

9:00 - 9:30am:  Session 1: SCN Leadership Team Summit Orientation | National Partner Intros

9:30 - 10:00am: Session 2: Data MVP Overview | Ecosystem Updates (Active Member Examples)

10:00 - 10:15am:  Break

10:15 - 11:15am:  Session 3: Intro. to Summit Theme (Inclusive Entrepreneurship: Julie Lenzer+LT)

11:15 - 12:00pm:  Session 4: Ecosystem Responsibilities (Baltimore Unrest / Innov. Village: Rich May)

12:00 - 1:00pm:  Lunch: Readiness: Preparing for Inclusion (Dwayne Johnson/Innovate Oregon)

1:00 - 2:00pm:  Session 5: Inclusive Funding: (Rodney Foxworth: IHub / Rodney Sampson: ATL-THire)

2:00 - 3:00pm:  Session 6: SBA Funding: (Mark Walsh/Assoc. Admin., Investment/Innovation)

3:00 - 4:30pm:  Local Look-in: Balt. Innovation Week

4:30 - 6:00pm:  Break: (email catch-up / relax)

6:00 - 8:30pm:  Community Event (BetaCity @ CityGarage)

9:00 - 11:00pm: Whiskey and War Stories (Lord Baltimore Hotel SkyBar)


Friday, September 30

8:00 - 8:30am: Breakfast:

8:30 - 9:30am:  Session 7: Youth Engagement (Shahab Kaviani: LaunchAcademy)

9:30 - 10:30am: Session 8: Inclusive Rubrics (Paulo Harris: Oppty. Youth / OldTown E. Baltimore)

10:30 - 11:30am:  Session 9: Topics from Members+Nominees (Various)

11:30 - 12:00pm:  Fireside Chat with Binko about Local Ecosystem

12:00 - 12:30pm:  Break

12:30 - 2:00pm:  Lunch with Local Ecosystem Leaders

2:00 - 2:30pm:  Break

2:30 - 3:30pm: Session 10: Champions Report Back to Binko

3:30 - 4:00pm   Break

4:00 - 5:00pm: Summit Wrap-Up | Future Summit Theme(s)

5:00 - ????pm:  More Cham City Fun for Champions Staying or With Late Departures

Well ... we are going to dive deep and find out what else the Free State has to offer in the form of an ecosystem for locally grown ventures and their founding teams.  

Since the landing of the ships Ark and Dove on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in 1634, Maryland has been fertile ground for defiance, revolution and the entrepreneurial spririt.  

From venerable brands like Domino Sugar and McCormick Spice Company, to industry leaders like T.RowePrice and Legg Mason, to emerging market-disruptors like OrderUp, SourceFire and Under Armour, Maryland brings its A-Game when it comes to forging break-out ventures. 

Maryland consistently ranks in the Top 3 among U.S. states for funded research, K-12 and higher education, workforce talent, innovation and entrepreneurship.  With the spoils of the world's largest natural estuary, Chesapeake Bay, the broader Mid-Atlantic region is also a hub for environmental stewardship and the emerging industries around sustainability.  

**This event is an invite-only Summit, if you are current a member or nominated member and are in need of a invitation code for Eventbrite, please send us a note at**

Housing federal agencies including the National Institutes for Health (NIH), National Security Agency, CyberCommand, the Defense Information Systems Agency, USDA, NASA-Goddard and many others, tech transfer and industry policy are on the daily work plate for many Marylanders.  With more than 15 institutions for higher learning, including Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland and MIC/A (Maryland Institute College of Art) Maryland breeds great talent across a broad array of skills and passions.

Given the wide array of geography contained in its relatively small boarders, Maryland residents enjoy a diversity of recreational options that affords a very high quality of life.  Not to mention the tasty Bay residents of Sebastidae (Rockfish, Stripers, Sea Bass), Crassostrea Virginica (Eastern Oyster) and Callinectes Sapidus (Maryland Blue Crab) for seafood enthusiasts.  

Your Host City: Baltimore

Baltimore, a.k.a. Charm City, is Maryland's largest urban center and will serve as the primary location for our Fall Summit.  

Baltimore was a town forged by immigration and the Industrial Revolution. Still the largest independent city in the United States, Baltimore was the second most active port of entry for immigrants and became one of the most productive U.S. manufacturing and heavy industries centers over a span of more than 300 years.  

We’ll have plenty of fun in this vibrant, historic and emerging city while engaging with the Baltimore Startup Community in an effort to absorb all the region has to offer . . .


About Our Host Organization: Startup Maryland

Startup Maryland is a venture development initiative launched out of the Startup America Partnership.  Driven from within the startup community and led by/for entrepreneurs, Startup Maryland is peer-driven and focused on high-growth startup ventures.  

Startup Maryland strives to connect innovation ecosystems recognizing the importance of founding-entrepreneurs and startup ventures to the innovation economy.  Startup Maryland rallies entrepreneurs, supporters, economic development agencies and other ecosystem stakeholders around four main initiatives (The 4Cs): Celebration, Coaching, Curation and Capital. For more information visit:

Meet Your Host Team

Michael Binko, Founder | CEO, Startup Maryland  

Binko is a serial entrepreneur, active angel investor and is currently president| CEO and a member of the Board of Directors for one of his portfolio companies kloudtrack® — a leader in cybersecurity+cloud (Cyber | Cloud) data/process management technologies and compliance solutions.  

Binko founded and served as Managing General Partner of GeminiVenture Partners and was Founder | CMO of LaunchFuel, a tech venture accelerator serving high-growth innovation startups from NYC to RTP.  

Binko is a Board Director/Advisor to many tech organizations including Onevest, a leading equity crowdfunding platform provider; the Software and Information Industries Assoc (SIIA); uBalt Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; LaunchAnnapolis; the Baltimore Business Journal CyberBiz Editorial Board; the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland (CAMI) and the NIH-MCCC Health Tech Forum.

Binko has been a regular contributing writer for the Wall Street Journal segment The Accelerators as a designated entrepreneur and angel guest-mentor.  Binko is a recognized thought leader on The American JOBS Act and the related concepts of Crowdfunding and Affinity Ventures.  As an active angel, serial entrepreneur, Mike is often invited to speak from the investor deal-flow perspective as well as how entrepreneurs can utilize new avenues for early-stage venture financing.  

Binko is a staunch champion of inclusive rubrics having founded the first Hackathon for Diversity and Social Justice in Baltimore; serving as a mentor participant in the Morgan State University EYECon Summit (Engaging Youth Entrepreneurs); and serving as an observer-mentor for the Baltimore Opportunity Youth-CONNECT -- an Aspen Institute initiative to engage inner-city youth with entrepreneurial hustle.

Binko has served as an instructor in the Corporate Ventures program with George Washington University (D.C. and Va.); a ventures instructor/mentor for the R. H. Smith School at the University of Maryland; serves as a business evaluator for the National Institutes of Standards in Technology (NIST) and is an accredited practitioner in business communications designated by APR. 


Shervonne Cherry and Beth Boots Workman, Ecosystem Managers, Spark Baltimore

Paulo Gregory Harris, Founder, Ingoma Foundation; Founder, Opportunity Youth; Founder, One Jobs For Baltimore (1J4B)

Julie Lenzer, Director Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Dept. of Commerce and Founder Startup Maryland; Engineer; Entrepreneur; Author

Mike Venezia, Ecosystem Director, Startup Maryland; Founder, WithTheFilm; Founder | COO, Formtree


Ryan Sears, Founder, Launch! Annapolis; Founder | CEO, SurveySnap




Richard May, Founder, Innovation Village - Baltimore

Tami Howie, Executive Director, Chesapeake Regional Tech Council

Shahab Kaviani, Founder, Launch Academy; Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Startup Maryland; Founder | CEO, CoFoundersLab and Onevest

**This event is an invite-only Summit, if you are currently a member or nominated member and are in need of a invitation code for Eventbrite, please send us a note at**

Past Summits:

Santa Barbara, California (Winter 2016)
hosted by StartupSB

Portland, Maine (Summer 2015)
hosted by Maine Accelerates Growth

Little Rock, Arkansas (Spring 2015)
hosted by The Venture Center

Nashville, Tennessee (Summer 2014)
hosted by the Nashville Entrepreneurial Center