TEDCO has launched its redesigned Institute for Women Entrepreneur Excellence, a program created to address the barriers to success women face in the entrepreneurial sector. The Institute will help to ensure Maryland continues to work toward being an inclusive leader in the innovation economy.

The Institute evolved from two pilot programs — the Leading Women’s Program and the Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence. Within these programs, TEDCO focused on leveraging the expertise of Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as other colleges, universities, economic development centers and counties in the state.

Through this expertise, the pilot programs were set up to begin building an alliance of diverse and disadvantaged women entrepreneurs in Howard and Montgomery counties. The Institute will expand this mission based on the existing alliance.

“Women still face challenges when navigating the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Linda Singh, Institute for Women Entrepreneur Excellence executive director. “In fact, recent numbers showed that venture funding to women-led businesses decreased from the all-time high of 2.8% in 2019 to 2.3% in 2020. With this redesigned program, we are working to combat this decline, confront the unique trials that women entrepreneurs face and create a community of resources and support.”

“We are excited to continue developing an inclusive community where women entrepreneurs can find various resources available to help leverage their success,” said Tammi Thomas, chief development and marketing officer at TEDCO. “With the creation of the Institute, we are expanding on the work the two pilot programs started and creating a more inclusive, supportive community that entrepreneurs throughout Maryland can rely on. Through this community, we can build on the statistic that placed Maryland at the top, having the highest rate per capita of women business owners in the U.S.”

Applications have opened for the program’s first cohort; to apply, visit sites.google.com/oiwee.com/iweeprogram?usp=sharing.