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Towson, Hopkins students team to bring together entrepreneurs from different schools

Baltimore Business Journal

November 6, 2018


A pair of students from Johns Hopkins University and Towson University are looking for ways to bring student startups and entrepreneurs from different Maryland universities together to build a more inclusive ecosystem around them.

Pava LaPere said she an fellow collegiate entrepreneur Matthew Lowinger met through their work in the entrepreneurship communities at their respective universities. LaPere is a senior and executive director of The Hatchery, an undergraduate venture incubator at Johns Hopkins. Lowinger is lead associate for the Student Launch Pad at Towson's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Earlier this year, the two began discussing a shared desire of wanting to see more collaboration and cooperation among the various collegiate innovation communities. The two are now leading an effort aimed at fostering that.

Their concept, called Innov8MD, is set to have its kick-off event Nov. 9 with a conference at the Spark Baltimore coworking space downtown. Around 200 participants are expected to attend from eight Maryland institutions: Towson, Hopkins, Morgan State University, University of Baltimore, Maryland Institute College of Art, University of Maryland, College Park, University of Maryland, Baltimore and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Up to five entrepreneurs from each of the eight schools will be able to demo their startup concepts during the conference. Burck Smith, the founder and CEO of edtech firm StraighterLine will give a keynote speech. During the event, attendees will be able to network with entrepreneurs and officials from other universities, and will also have access to mentor rooms, where they can get advice from local experts on building their own venture.

Students demoing at the event can attend for free. Other attendees will pay $10, but LaPere notes there are coupon codes available for some students as well. She said they want to make sure the event as "inclusive as possible."