Three years ago, the members of the National Society of Black Engineers – Baltimore Metropolitan Area Chapter (NSBE–BMAC) noted a need for greater support of minority innovators to establish technology- and science-based startup companies. Their observation led to the launch of an annual event: NSBE–BMAC’s Minority Innovation Weekend, also known as MIW. The third Weekend, held at the University of Baltimore’s Thumel Business Center on Oct. 12–13, 2019, offered an expanded lineup of events designed to provide attendees with the knowledge to develop an idea or concept to create a tech- or science-focused business and to attract capital providers to support their success.
The theme of MIW 2019 was “Hacking Innovation.” Seeing that minority populations have less access to early-stage capital and other resources needed to launch STEM-focused business, the MIW 2019 Planning Committee reasoned that to have a chance at being successful, minority entrepreneurs must “hack” their way to that success.
“‘Hack’ is defined as a clever tip or technique for doing or improving something, and ‘innovation’ is a new idea, method or device. At MIW 2019, we hoped to educate tech and science entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs and provide them with resources to grow or launch their business,” said NSBE–BMAC member Derek Westray, an electrical engineer, who helped organized the conference. “By bringing in speakers that have ‘done it before,’ we hoped to provide attendees with knowledge and access so they could ‘hack’ their own success.”