Loyola Awards $25,000 to Baltimore Entrepreneurs

Loyola University Maryland’s Simon Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship awarded a total of $25,000 to four ventures that participated in the center’s Baltipreneurs Accelerator, a four-month part-time program supporting startup businesses and social ventures with training, technical assistance, mentorship, networking, and access to capital.

  • Iyonna Woods of Fancy Free Hair and Skin received the $5,000 Hustle Award, which recognizes the entrepreneur who achieved the most during the program.
  • Araba Maze of Storybook Maze received the $5,000 Impact Award, which recognizes the entrepreneur most likely to achieve the greatest social and environmental good in Baltimore, and the $5,000 Audience Choice Award, chosen by attendees to the program’s Demo Day for strongest pitch presentation.
  • Andrew Schmutter, ’24, and Declan Budnitz, ’24, of S&B Commerce received the $5,000 Peerless Award, which recognizes the entrepreneurs who best used the program to build a network and find and provide support to others.
  • Rafael Casas, Ph.D., of SpringWear received the $5,000 Greyhound Award, which recognizes the entrepreneur most likely to achieve significant growth.

The awards were presented March 19 at Demo Day, the Baltipreneurs Accelerator’s culminating event where program participants showcase their ventures in a pitch competition and network with attendees.

“Demo Day this year was a big night with a large cohort of 12 ventures that shared their stories and the large crowd who showed up to support them,” said Wendy Bolger, the center’s founding director. “We were happy to welcome more students than ever before, alongside alumni, faculty, staff, the business community, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem, who were mobilized with the support of UpSurge, among other partner organizations. We expect the exposure, the nondilutive capital, and supercharged networks will add up to increased opportunities for this cohort.”

This year’s cohort consisted of three Loyola students, six women founders or co-founders, and 14 who identify as people of color. In addition to the award recipients, the cohort included Ballmecca Inc.BLYNK Inc.Dental DesiresFair Winds Candle Co.Ikonic Visions Multimedia GroupInferno StreetwearThe ContractHer, and VijoGeo.

Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management in Baltimore delivers an internationally recognized Jesuit business education. Recognized for its scholarship, ethical leadership, and tradition of excellence, the Sellinger School delivers a wide range of sought-after fields of study including eight undergraduate majors and 11 undergraduate minors as well as full-time, part-time, and fully online MBA and Master of Accounting programs.