A Picture of a live event at BELN . a Baltimore area entrepreneurship programs'

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(Baltimore Entrepreneurship & Leadership Network)

I want to Join


Foundational  Values



What is BELN?

BELN is a group of leaders of social entrepreneurship and leadership programs serving Baltimore. BELN’s mission is to support organizations that help aspiring and existing entrepreneurs and leaders develop their knowledge, skills, connections and access to resources, with the overarching goal of building on the assets of, and responding to the challenges facing, underserved Baltimore residents and communities.

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Foundational Values

Each of our programs has a different structure and offers different content.  Yet there are values that we share, and which serve to distinguish our work from that of other organizations.

  • Supporting Participants’ Growth as Leaders and Social Entrepreneur

We support participants’ growth as individuals, leaders and social entrepreneurs through diverse means including: academic study, reflective learning, skills-building, peer exchanges, community partnerships, mentorship, and networking.

  • Strengthening Nonprofit Organizations, Mission-Driven Enterprises, and Public Agencies

Our participants are current or aspiring leaders in the non-profit, private and public sectors.  We help participants strengthen the entities where they work or with whom they have internships or partnerships.

  • Improving Outcomes for Baltimore Residents and Communities

We view entrepreneurship and leadership as vehicles for listening to, learning from, and working with Baltimore residents, to benefit individuals, families, and their communities.  In partnership with residents, our programs seek to address Baltimore City’s racial and wealth inequities.

Incubator vs Accelerator

An Incubator is a program that supports early-stage startup companies to expedite profitability and success. Incubators provide startups with valuable resources such as free office space, equipment, mentorship, a collaborative community, and networking opportunities with potential funding sources.

Accelerator program expedites the growth of existing companies that have developed business models and validated products in the marketplace. They provide companies with valuable resources such as mentorship, co-working spaces, and legal services.

Fellowship vs Academic Program

A fellowship program provides funding for research, academics, and other purposes to candidates who meet a select program criteria.

An academic program is any degree offering (certificate, undergraduate, or graduate) program with a unique code for a certain institution.



Elevation Awards

The Elevation Awards provide planning grants of $10,000 and personalized support to people of color who are Baltimore City residents piloting novel approaches to strengthen Baltimore communities. The aims of the Elevation Awards are as follows:

  • Directly leveraging the assets of communities to pioneer new solutions in social entrepreneurship.
  • Elevating leaders of community solutions; and
  • Supporting the early-stage pipeline of social entrepreneurs in Baltimore.

At the conclusion of the 10-month grant period, awardees will have the opportunity to showcase their projects to prospective funders. 


Troi Barnett, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Senior Manager

Email: troi@baltimorecorps.org


Established in 2016, the Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program at Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute is a one-of-a-kind initiative that aims to equip the next generation of Baltimore’s community activists with the knowledge, skills, and tools to be transformative leaders. This year-long fellowship:

  • Enhances the capacity of young, passionate Baltimore community advocates with the skills to help improve the trajectory of health in their communities.
  • Under the guidance of a community advisory board, identifies and works with engaged community leaders and academicians to serve as faculty.
  • Keeps an authentic community voice at the center of the training.
  • Is a safe environment to be transparent and vulnerable and grow through peer support, reflective learning, and faculty guidance.
  • Teaches from a structured curriculum that combines the history of Baltimore, theories on leadership and community development, research and policies, and evidence-based practice.


Rebkha Atnafou, MPH, Director, Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program

Email: ratnafo1@jhu.edu


Community organizations often work in silos, these silos lead to fragmentation, fragmentation leads to duplication, and duplication leads to wasted resources – time, talent and treasure. CLLCTIVLY launched in 2019 with the first phase of our project, (CLLCTIV ASSETS) an online asset map/directory of organizations in Greater Baltimore listed by neighborhood and area of concentration. CLLCTIVLY is a place-based social change organization centering Black genius, narrative power, social networks, and resources mobilization.  We are creating an ecosystem to foster collaboration, increase social impact, and amplify the voices of Black-led organizations in Greater Baltimore.


Jamye Wooten, Director 

Email: hello@cllctivly.org


Non-Leadership Degree

In Coppin State University Nonprofit Leadership studies, you will learn how to:

  • Apply knowledge of methods, vocabulary, and concepts of nonprofit leadership.
  • Use technology to access, capture, analyze, and report data and literature.
  • Understand and apply research methods to social issues and policy discussions.
  • Critically analyze nonprofit issues within larger historical and global contexts.
  • Demonstrate and apply knowledge and skills to research and community engagement efforts.

Nonprofit organizations aren’t in it for the money. Instead of pursuing a profit, nonprofit leaders and groups are leading social change, mobilizing voices, and providing a variety of critical services beyond the scope of government. You can also minor in Nonprofit Management and Youth Development.


Dr.Tenyo Pearl, Director Non-Profit Leadership Alliance

Email: tpearl@coppin.edu


Innovation Works supports social entrepreneurs through the full entrepreneurship journey and its five-stage social enterprise development pipeline, allowing leaders to enter the pipeline at any stage. Strategic Initiatives takes a macro look at Baltimore’s existing assets that can tackle challenges facing social enterprises and communities. We explore innovation within specific sectors. Through trusted community anchors, Innovation Works delivers social enterprise programming that ignites and develops local interest and capacity to transform neighborhood economies.


Jay Nwachu, President and Chief Innovation Officer

Email: Jay@iwbmore.org



The mission of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CI&E) is to elevate innovation

and entrepreneurship at Loyola. Our vision extends beyond the University campus into

Baltimore, where the CI&E is a part of transforming Baltimore through our support for wealth

creation and job creation driven by underrepresented women entrepreneurs and innovators of

color. The Baltipreneurs Accelerator is helping build a more prosperous and equitable Baltimore. We work with ecosystem partners to provide funding, training, and mentorship for Baltimore’s innovators, including Loyola students, faculty, and staff, with a preference for women entrepreneurs and founders of color. Teams are required to attend 10 instructional and networking sessions from February through April, ending with a Demo Day pitch in early spring with cash awards.

Next year’s Baltipreneurs Accelerator will provide a minimum of $40,000 in total funding for 6-10 ventures in the Baltimore community. Eligible models include both startup businesses and innovative social ventures. Apply in Dec for our spring program to receive a $2,000 stipend, dedicated mentor, pro-bono consulting support on a project, access to office hours with Startup Executive in Residence, 1 on 1 pitch/presentation coaching sessions, a 1 on 1 financial and accounting management coaching session, access to competitive/corporate research training, access to networking platform Loyola Connect, a photo session—in other words, all the training, technical assistance, mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to capital you

need to make your venture a success.

For more information go to https://www.loyola.edu/join-us/baltipreneurs/cohorts


Wendy Bolger, Director

Email: webolger@loyola.edu


Entrepreneurial Development and Assistance Center (EDAC)

EDAC connects budding and existing entrepreneurs to resources for venture management & growth.  Two core programs are:

  1. Returning Citizens Inspired to Development Entrepreneurial Ventures

The R.I.D.E Entrepreneurship Training Program is a resource to help returning citizens explore entrepreneurship either part or full time.  The training, for now, is held virtually. As part of the training, all participants will receive FREE access to a platform to create a Growth Plan (30-60-90), a small business advisor for one-on-one assistance, and a small advisory board to further help you move your idea forward. There will also be opportunities to work with other formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs learning new skills for your business.

  • The Baltimore Metro Women’s Business Center

This program manages operations for the benefit of women entrepreneurs to start, maintain and prosper for economic growth and sustainability. Morgan State University through its EDAC program embraces women entrepreneurs with access to capital, resources business education and support for their progress and community reinvestment


Omar Muhammad, Director

Email: omar.muhammad@morgan.edu


Community Fellowships

The Open Society Institute-Baltimore Community Fellowships Program seeks dynamic activists and social entrepreneurs  interested in implementing projects that address problems in underserved communities in Baltimore City.  The goals of these fellowships are to encourage public and community service careers, expand the number of mentors available to youth and promote entrepreneurial initiatives that empower communities to increase opportunities and improve the quality of life for their residents. 

Up to 10 individuals are awarded a Baltimore Community Fellowship to implement innovative projects that seek to improve the circumstances and capacity of an underserved community in Baltimore city. Applicants may come from all walks of life, including but not limited to – business management, the arts, law, public health, mental health, education, architecture, and engineering.  Fellowship awards are in the amount of $65,000 for a term of 18 months.  The Fellowship grant is intended to provide a living stipend to support an individual’s full-time, independent work on a project.  It is awarded directly to an individual to guarantee flexibility in carrying out the objectives of the project.


Pamela King, Director, Community Fellowships

Email: Baltimorefellowship@opensocietyfoundations.org


The Social Innovation Lab (SIL) at Johns Hopkins University accelerates emerging ventures and leaders to change Baltimore and the world. SIL supports innovative, early-stage, mission-driven ventures, and disruptive technologies to create change and opportunity in Baltimore and beyond. Our primary enterprise is our six-month Accelerator program that provides Baltimore-area social ventures the resources required to develop into thriving, sustainable startups with measurable impact.

Our annual Impact Bootcamps enable entrepreneurs to gain or enhance the essential skills to launch and lead a social venture. Programming features members of the Johns Hopkins and Baltimore-area ecosystems with an open door for new, potential partners to join upcoming bootcamps. On an enduring mission to deepen connections within Baltimore, SIL has helped over 110 startups raise millions in funding and directly impact their community and its people. SIL is open to non-profit and for-profit ventures led by Johns Hopkins faculty, students, and staff, or Baltimore community members.


Madison Marks, Director

Email: jhtv-sil@jhu.edu


STARTUP Accelerator

The Towson University StarTUp Accelerator is an intensive eight-week, cohort-based fellowship where ventures take residency and collaborate to accelerate their ventures.

  • Accepted ventures receive a $10,000 equity-free stipend as well as mentorship, founder-centric programming and exposure to successful ventures who are alumni of this model.
  • Founders who have begun to introduce their services or products into the market should apply.
  • Selected founders will take up residency at The STARTUP at the Armory—TU’s new state-of-the-art, entrepreneurship space in downtown Towson.


Patrick McQuown, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship

Email: pmcquown@towson.edu


Community Development Fellowship Program

The Community Development Fellowship Program—housed in the Schaefer Center for Public Policy—gives dynamic, motivated students who have a strong interest in effecting positive change in urban areas the opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills and gain hands-on development experience. By matching students with organizations that directly support Baltimore neighborhoods, this grant-funded fellowship program aims to improve the city while cultivating the next generation of community development leaders.


Daniel Khoshkepazi, Community Development Fellowship Coordinator

Email: daniel.khoshkepazi@ubalt.edu


M.A. Nonprofit Management and Social Entrepreneurship

As nonprofit organizations fill an ever-increasing societal need by providing services in areas spanning health care, education, workforce development and support for disadvantaged populations, a new generation of nonprofit managers is in high demand. These managers must be prepared to deal head-on with the challenges that nonprofit organizations face due to their legal status, governance, and funding needs in addition to managing and meeting standards of accountability.


Ed Gibson, Director

Email: egibson@ubalt.edu


M.S. in Health and Social Innovation

Our social entrepreneurship centered curriculum provides the fundamental tools and competencies needed to take idea to action, and prepares you to build your own venture or lead change in an existing organization. This MS in Health and Social Innovation offers four concentrations that will equip you with specialized competencies in your desired field. Choose between the Health ScienceUser Experience (UX)Global Health Innovation, and Scientific and Medical Entrepreneurship tracks to gain the exact skills you need to provide sustainable solutions to complex problems.


J. Howard Kucher, DPA, MBA, Program Director

Email: jkucher@umaryland.edu

Community Leadership Programs

The Community Leadership programs at UMBC prepare aspiring and practicing leaders with the skills and experience needed to generate transformative social change. We help students develop greater self-understanding, engage with the assets and challenges of urban communities, hone practical leadership skills, and build personal and professional relationships that will support their growth as leaders.

These programs are designed for working professionals and offer courses in the evening to accommodate students with full-time jobs. Classes are located in Catonsville and Baltimore City, and conduct class visits to neighborhoods, to learn directly from community and nonprofit leaders. UMBC offers a 9-course Community Leadership Master’s program (M.P.S. in Community Leadership) as well as a 4-course post-baccalaureate certificate in Community Leadership.


Sally J. Scott, Graduate Program Director

Email: sjscott@umbc.edu


  • Places and Placemaking

This course will support students in cultivating a strong sense of place, and in developing leadership skills in the practice of placemaking. Place is best learned through experience (i.e., by being there!), and our classes will include multiple group outings exploring the rich culture and history of our Baltimore area. Taking a hands-on approach, students will be guided to develop and present their own placemaking project. Bring your curiosity about the way we create meaning in the world around us and bring your walking shoes as we explore this together in interesting local places.

  • Asset Based Community Development

This course will address the fundamentals of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) — how to practically implement ABCD in your daily professional practice while developing a community of practice — using ABCD as well as becoming ABCD practitioners in the field. Working through an ABCD process, participants can move towards whole-community mobilization through mapping the capacities & assets of individuals, associations, and institutions while building relationships.

  • Restorative Practices

This course will address the application of restorative justice/restorative practices to community leadership frameworks. Restorative practices is a relational framework grounded in interdisciplinary theories and collective processes. When used to create spaces for engaged learning, inclusive decision-making, and social capital building, restorative practices has the potential to transform communities and systems by allowing community members to maintain and sustain relationships even when harm has occurred.


Sally J. Scott, Graduate Program Director

Email: sjscott@umbc.edu

Alex Brown Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

UMBC has worked closely with the Baltimore business community and UMBC faculty and staff with one vision in mind—to create a leading center for university entrepreneurism. UMBC’s entrepreneurial spirit, dynamic and diverse academic environment, commitment to excellence in research and education, and experience in economic development provide a strong platform for creating and supporting entrepreneurism in the region.

UMBC’s two degree programs in entrepreneurship include an Entrepreneurship Minor for undergraduates, and a Master’s in Professional Studies (MPS) in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Leadership.   The MPS empowers professionals to drive organizational change. Whether you are working within an existing business or want to start your own, our program will teach you the real-world skills needed to thrive. Led by seasoned entrepreneurs, our program will teach you how to bring an entrepreneurial mindset, innovative practices, and thoughtful leadership to your organization.


Kevin Fulmer, Graduate Program Director

Email: kevinf@umbc.edu

Shriver Peaceworker Program

The Shriver Peaceworker Fellows Program was established at UMBC with the founding of the Shriver Center in 1993. Peaceworker is grounded in the early 1960s vision of Sargent Shriver and President Kennedy who realized the potential impact of Peace Corps Volunteers who would be returning home ready to apply the lessons and experiences they had gained while abroad.

The Shriver Peaceworker Program supports and engages returning Peace Corps Volunteers through a graduate level service-learning program integrating studies, service, and ethical reflection with the goal of preparing them for lives and leadership in diverse fields of public and private service. As a community engaged program of UMBC our mission is to impact pressing social needs in the Baltimore region through partnerships with community agencies involving direct and significant service of Peaceworker Fellows focused on creative solutions across a range of social concerns. The Peaceworker Program’s vision is to equip a growing network of social change leaders for lives and careers building peace and community in Sargent Shriver’s spirit of practical idealism.

Contact: Joby Taylor, Ph.D., Director

Email:  jtaylo14@umbc.edu

1500 — 1960

An exhibition about the different representations of the ocean throughout time, between the sixteenth and the twentieth century. Taking place in our Open Room in Floor 2.