Throughout history, periods of global upheaval have driven both devastation and transformation.
At a local level, the COVID crisis has been a binary force for Baltimore. When UpSurge launched last spring, we were in the midst of yet another COVID spike, and too many families across the city were losing loved ones or suffering other harms because of the crisis.
We also launched into a period of unprecedented change. We saw a workforce untethered from workplaces, the rise of telemedicine, and a deepening recognition of the persistent racial and gender disparities that exist in the US innovation economy. It was also a year in which the stock and housing markets roared, US venture investment nearly doubled and, right here at home, Baltimore’s innovation economy smashed records. The record year highlighted the very real opportunity that exists for cities like Baltimore – if we can lean into the momentum of 2021.
Equitably Expanding Infrastructure
What does that mean? From our perspective, it means equitably expanding the infrastructure to support founders in Baltimore – with capital, networks, talent and expertise. Growing from within our city, and attracting companies, founders and workers from elsewhere. Getting money off the sidelines to invest in our startups and our venture/ PE funds and angel groups. Keeping more talented young people in Baltimore when they graduate from our colleges, and providing on-ramps into tech for all Baltimoreans that want them. As a city, we can’t pick just one path to progress; we need all of the gears turning together if we want to drive progress at scale.
To do that, UpSurge works alongside partners across the city, region, state and country – leading or partnering to support initiatives led by others. Our work is always anchored by four key objectives of our 10-year vision. We aim to:
- Define Baltimore’s place alongside the world’s leading innovation cities, where
gamechanging companies launch, scale and thrive.
- Build on the growing momentum in Baltimore tech to become the country’s first
Equitech city, where all companies embrace the value of diversity as a force multiplier
and underestimated founders find fertile ground for growth – building the country’s
first truly inclusive tech economy.
- Become a center of excellence for technologies – from healthcare to AI, to fintech to web3 – that can break down barriers to equity.
- Build on-ramps for Baltimoreans from across our city into the knowledge economy,
creating pathways of opportunity into good jobs and family advancement.