New TEDCO Programs Support Women Entrepreneurs

New TEDCO Programs Support Women Entrepreneurs

Two cohorts of tech innovators selected for Howard and Montgomery County pilot programs

COLUMBIA, Md. (November 29, 2022)TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, announced today the selection of 15 entrepreneurs to participate in two new 10-month pilot leadership development programs. In collaboration with local university and county partners, TEDCO created the Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence in Howard County and the Leading Women’s Program in Montgomery County to support entrepreneurs in building critical skills, expanding their networks, and successfully growing their businesses.

The two new pilot programs aim to build on a promising milestone: at 52%, Maryland has the highest rate per capita of women-business ownership in the United States. Nationally, 42% of all businesses are women-owned, employing 9.4 million workers and generating revenue of $1.9 trillion.

Unfortunately, women-owned start-ups face an array of challenges, including the all-important access to capital. A Harvard Kennedy School study found that fledgling businesses with at least one woman on the founding team received only 13% of venture capital. And while Black women lead the way in business formation, only 3% are running mature businesses. Research cites three key reasons—the types of businesses, limited access to capital, and the uneven distribution of access to key resources needed for entrepreneurship success—as barriers to entry and catching-up of disadvantaged groups.

TEDCO’s women entrepreneur leadership programs help ensure that Maryland continues its trajectory as an inclusive leader in the innovation economy.

“The team at TEDCO is excited to get to work with these two cohorts of women entrepreneurs and our collaboration partners,” said Linda Singh, executive director for TEDCO’s Women Entrepreneur Leadership Program. “The participants will benefit from both the program offerings and our cohort model, where they’ll have the opportunity to collaborate, grow their networks, and navigate the local innovation ecosystem together. It’s a winning combination for the leaders, their companies, and ultimately, the state of Maryland.”

The Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence Cohort

The Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence is a Howard County-based pilot program in collaboration with Howard County Government. The program will leverage the unique expertise of Maryland’s four HBCUs including Bowie State UniversityCoppin State UniversityMorgan State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The pilot program will take place at the Maryland Innovation Center (MIC) in Columbia, MD. Strategic supporters at the Maryland HBCUs will work with the cohort to determine their needs at the intersection of research, tech transfer, and education. Another major component of the program is helping cohort members collaborate as a community and build their local and statewide networks. The new program will also build an alliance of diverse founders and CEOs, beginning with Howard County in 2022 and expanding across the state in future years.

The participants chosen to participate in the inaugural class are Adeola Ajani, Tricia Clarke, Shannon Collins, Malaika Dirieh, Modupe Eyo, Imani Hasell, Sabrina Mapp, Tiffany Page, Denise Rollins and Nik Sweeney.

“Here in Howard County, we value our small businesses and entrepreneurs—and we’re committed to public-private collaborations that ensure a fair playing field for all who choose to locate their businesses here,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “With programs like the new Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence, we’re not only investing in the cohort and their startups, but also the economy and our future growth. It’s a win for everyone.”

The Leading Women’s Program Cohort

Created in collaboration with the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC), this community of tech-based female founders and CEOs began meeting in 2022. The 10-month Leading Women’s Program will be a combination of virtual and in-person courses held at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in Rockville, Md. Science and tech entrepreneurs will network and engage in a pilot program focused on leadership, communications, real world perspectives, and development plans.

The participants chosen to participate in the inaugural class include Sue Carr, Hannah Dibonage, Joyce Fields, Jeannine Melican, and Raquel Vazquez.

Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) is excited to collaborate with TEDCO on this growth opportunity for women in our local tech start-up community,” said Bill Tompkins, President & CEO of MCEDC. “Montgomery County is Maryland’s most populous county, with women-owned businesses continuing to fuel the economy. With the Leading Women’s Program, we’re investing in innovative entrepreneurs who choose to start and grow their companies right here in the county.”

To be eligible for either cohort, applicants were required to 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. For more information about the program, visit the website at

TEDCO, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, enhances economic empowerment growth through the fostering of an inclusive entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. TEDCO identifies, invests in, and helps grow technology and life science-based companies in Maryland. Learn more at


Media Contact

Tammi Thomas, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, TEDCO,

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