How Entrepreneurship is Helping Baltimore Bounce Back

Sometimes referred to as America’s Charm City, Baltimore has recently become an increasingly charming destination for innovators and entrepreneurs, and those groups are in turn helping the city emerge from the economic doldrums. Every month, Free Enterprise takes stock of one of America’s up-and-coming Silicon Cities; that is urban hotspots where small businesses are helping to foster innovation and build a vibrant technological sector. In September, we looked at how Baltimore is getting back on its feet after decades of decline in its once-robust manufacturing and shipping industry, with a little help from a growing startup ecosystem and technological innovation. Here’s what we found: A Community-based Approach to Entrepreneurship Between 2000 and 2010, the number of 25- to 35-year-olds with college degrees living within three miles of Baltimore’s downtown business district rose 92 percent. Part of the reason for that fast growth is a strong sense of local community support […]

How Entrepreneurship is Helping Baltimore Bounce Back

Silicon Cities

Can Technology Solve the Refugee Crisis?

Around the world, more than 60 million refugees have abandoned their homes to flee from desperate circumstances. Notably, six of every 10 Syrian citizens, an estimated 12.5 million people, have become refugees, an unprecedented number for a single country, according to the Pew Research Center. The Syrian refugee crisis is a complex political and humanitarian issue that has left many policymakers and public citizens searching for answers and desperate for a solution. Naturally, in our increasingly digital age, that has raised the question: What role can technology play? It turns out, a big one. A number of innovative mobile apps and online platforms have emerged in the U.S. and elsewhere to help migrants connect with lost loved ones, find aid, and even assimilate into new countries. Here are five startups that are using technology to help refugees. EmergencyBnB Inspired by Airbnb’s sharing model, Washington, D.C. resident Amr Arafa built a […]

Can Technology Solve the Refugee Crisis?

Doing good

Innovation that matters

 

These Online Stores are Getting Physical

While it’s no secret that most traditional retail stores are looking to expand their online presence, a select group of formerly e-commerce-only companies are moving in the opposite direction by opening physical stores. While it may seem counterintuitive for online companies to seek out physical spaces, the move can actually prove incredibly beneficial for their bottom lines, according to a CUT YEAR report by management consulting firm A.T. Kearney. The study found that physical stores play a contributing role in online purchases, giving customers a chance to touch and feel a company’s products and immerse themselves in the brand experience before making a purchase. Additionally, two-thirds of consumers who purchase goods online visit a physical store before or after the transaction, according to the report. Here’s a closer look at five of the online retailers that are responding to those trends by establishing a brick-and-mortar presence. Warby Parker Warby Parker […]

These Online Stores are Getting Physical

True innovation

How The Internet Of Things Is Transforming Your World

Editor’s Note: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is excited to host TecNation 2016 this week, an event that brings together business and government leaders to discuss the role technology and data play in all sectors of the economy as a catalyst for social good. Learn more and register to attend here. What happens when everyday items—everything from your thermostat to your home’s front door—are connected to the internet? That’s increasingly becoming a reality that now has a name all its own: The Internet of Things. But what does this mean for both large and small businesses, and what can they do to take advantage of it? These are just a few of the questions that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is exploring with its initiative, “The Internet of Everything.” Drawing on some of the industry’s leading voices, the project includes more than 30 essays on a variety of topics […]

How The Internet Of Things Is Transforming Your World

True innovation

This Former Teacher is Using Artificial Intelligence to Hack Education

Matthew Ramirez was teaching writing classes to students at the University of California at Berkeley when he started to get frustrated. He was spending the majority of his time giving repetitive feedback to students, and there wasn’t enough time to provide truly constructive, in-depth feedback to each individual before the next essay was due. “Given the time constraints of a semester and the number of students in a class, it wasn’t humanly possible to respond to everything I wanted to,” Ramirez said in an interview. “Nor was it possible to work through multiple drafts with individual students.” Ramirez took it upon himself to build a solution. Mixing his experience as a teacher with some advanced learning technology, he and his business partner started WriteLab – a Berkeley, California-based software company that helps students strengthen their writing skills by providing quick, customized feedback. WriteLab uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing […]

This Former Teacher is Using Artificial Intelligence to Hack Education

True innovation

How Black Entrepreneurs are Rebuilding Baltimore’s Struggling Neighborhoods

By some measure, Baltimore’s entrepreneurship economy is heading in the right direction. Startup activity in the city has increased by 7.4 percent since 2010, more than double the national average over that period, according to a report by the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore. Meanwhile, 51 companies in the greater Baltimore area made Inc. magazine’s 2015 Top 5,000 list, which ranks the fastest-growing private companies in the country. However, those promising economic figures mask some serious economic and racial challenges that linger in America’s Charm city. More than a quarter of the city’s African-American population, for instance, still lives below the poverty line, almost double the rate for Caucasians. In addition, Baltimore’s African American population faces a markedly higher unemployment rate, according to Al Jazeera. Previously under the radar, the well document riots last year (fueled by the death of local resident Freddie Grey) cast the national spotlight on some […]

How Black Entrepreneurs are Rebuilding Baltimore’s Struggling Neighborhoods

Silicon Cities

This Small Business is Helping Boeing Build America’s New Spaceship

Welcome to #BizUnited, a new series highlighting innovative partnerships between large corporations and small businesses across America. Check back periodically for new installments. Collaboration between two of America’s most innovative companies – one relatively small and largely unknown, the other a century-old, globally renowned corporation – is helping pave the way for the next generation of American space travel. Through a partnership forged by NASA, Houston-based Bastion Technologies, a technology and engineering company, is working hand-in-hand with aerospace and defense giant Boeing to build the CST-100 Starliner, a next-generation crew capsule that will allow the space agency to send American astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil. Currently, NASA relies on Russia’s space agency to help transport U.S. astronauts to the space station at a cost of $70 million per roundtrip. While Bastion has been a Boeing supplier since the company was founded in 1998, this new partnership […]

This Small Business is Helping Boeing Build America’s New Spaceship

True innovation

These Startups Will Turn Your Kitchen Into A Microbrewery

Americans have a big appetite for beer, and small brewers are playing an increasingly important role in sating it. Last year, craft breweries sold a record 24.1 billion barrels of beer, a 13 percent bump over the previous year—the eighth consecutive year of double-digit growth. Not surprisingly, the country’s growing love for craft beer and small-batch brews has bred another trend: an uptick in home-brewing. For hobbyists and aspiring brewers alike, whipping up that first hoppy concoction can be a thrill, and several new startups are committed to making it easier. Here’s a look at look at four innovative companies that will help transform your kitchen into a microbrewery. PicoBrew In 2013, Seattle-based PicoBrew launched the Zymatic, the world’s first automatic all-grain beer brewing appliance. Microsoft veteran Bill Mitchell co-founded the business with his brother Jim, a food chemist, and engineer Avi Geiger. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the […]

These Startups Will Turn Your Kitchen Into A Microbrewery

Creating opportunity