A Canvas for Innovation

March 2013 / Abell-Supported Research / Community Development

A final report on the feasibility study.

The role of entrepreneurship in the generation of net new jobs is a topic that has drawn much attention during the economic downturn beginning in 2008. While there are many state-level programs promoting entrepreneurship across the country, including state-supported pre-seed and seed funds, investment tax credits for angels, and state and regional subsidies to support business incubators, there is a sense that these measures may not be having the desired outcomes when measured by employment growth, sales growth, and business survival.

In the fall of 2011, The Innovation Alliance of Baltimore issued a “white paper” describing a perceived need in the Baltimore Innovation Community for a single entry-point and facility for the innovation community in Baltimore. While existing programs like the Emerging Technology Centers (ETC), and others addressed the needs of a portion of the user community, the notion persists that the City was missing the synergistic effects that a fully engaged entrepreneurial ecosystem might offer.

In January of 2012, The Innovation Alliance, Inc., with support from the Abell Foundation commissioned this study to evaluate emerging trends in innovation and entrepreneurship in Baltimore.

During the initial phase of the study, The Innovation Alliance sought to evaluate how innovators and entrepreneurs in Baltimore currently interact and collaborate, what existing programs, events and activities work well in supporting this community, and what is missing that might accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship. These responses will be evaluated in the context of a review of “Best Practices” from other markets in an effort to identify how best to bridge any gaps in the Baltimore entrepreneurship ecosystem to achieve a more vibrant, cohesive, collaborative, sustainable ecosystem resulting in employment growth and wealth generation that acts as a catalyzing force to stimulate even greater entrepreneurial activity.

Following the issuance of the interim report in May of 2012, the Innovation Alliance authorized Facility Logix to conduct the second phase of the study, which focused on developing an operational model that could be implemented in the first-choice facility identified as the “Pratt Street Car Barns” located at 1146 East Pratt Street in Baltimore and owned by AR Companies.

This final report presents a compilation of the findings from the phase I portion of the study and the operational model developed during the phase II portion of the study.