June 21, 2024
Annapolis, US 90 F

AAEDC Graduates 4th Cohort of Inclusive Ventures Program

U.S. Representative John Sarbanes, Anne Arundel County Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Pete Hill, and AAEDC Interim CEO Jill Seamon congratulated the latest cohort on graduating from AAEDC’s Inclusive Ventures Program (IVP) during the first-ever IVP Social on Friday, October 28, 2022.

Reflecting the geographic and sector diversity of Anne Arundel County’s businesses, participating business owners included:

  • Tinu Awoliyi, Tailored by Tinu LLC & The Luxury Career Club LLC, Jessup
  • Stacy Berver, Chill Axes, Crofton
  • Marie Bittinger, Red Lotus Float Spa, Hanover
  • Tracey Fowlkes, KKS Designs, Pasadena
  • Anne Haile, Haile Physical Therapy, Annapolis
  • Keona  Mackell, Keona’s Cleaning and Janitorial Services, Glen Burnie
  • Reginald McHenry, Tru Magic Empowerment, Gambrills
  • Savannah Mitchell, Sunday Morning Coffee Co., Millersville
  • Broderick Neel-Feller, Jammin’ Together, Annapolis
  • Amanda E. Robinson, The Healing Space, Crofton
  • Dawn Scalza, Crofton Jazzercise Fitness Center, Gambrills

“Congratulations to the members of this fourth IVP cohort and each of the past IVP cohorts,” said Representative Sarbanes. “Maryland’s small businesses benefit greatly from programs – like IVP – that equip entrepreneurs with the skills, resources, and mentorship necessary to grow and thrive. As the grandson of a small business owner, I know small businesses are the backbone of our economy and community. I will continue working to secure funding and support for initiatives that bolster small businesses.”

“Small and minority-owned businesses are the backbone of our local economy,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman. “We have seen the impact the IVP program has made on these businesses and will continue to invest in their growth and expansion.”

In the summer, Anne Arundel County committed more than a million dollars in ARP funding to double the number of IVP cohorts from two to four over the next two years.

“It’s been amazing to watch IVP establish itself as such a proven and impactful initiative in just two years,” said Seamon. “We look forward to watching twice as many business owners participate in and benefit from the program in the coming years.”

The IVP Social took place following Pitch Day when each business owner presented his or her business growth plans to a panel of expert judges, including potential investors. During the celebration, Representative Sarbanes and Mrs. Seamon presented each graduate with a certificate for completing the program. Graduation requirements include attending weekly three-hour classes over eight weeks and meeting with legal, human resources, and accounting mentors.  In addition, participants receive a $5,000 operating grant to be used as working capital when they complete the IVP. Will Holmes, Founder of Will Holmes Consulting and the Baltimore Economic Leadership League, is the program facilitator.

The IVP Social was particularly meaningful in including past graduates. The event was held at MuralizeIt Interiors, co-owned by past IVP participant Andrea Moragues. It featured custom desserts from two IVP graduates, Cake Artista owner Sandie Torres and SmallCakes Annapolis owner Al’Nisa Broadway. It was a great opportunity for past graduates to welcome their new peers to the IVP alumni ranks and discuss their businesses.

Introduced by AAEDC in January 2021, IVP aims to help small, minority-owned, woman-owned, and Veteran-owned businesses in Anne Arundel County by providing business education, access to capital, and mentorship. Including the latest cohort, 42 total business owners have completed the program.

To learn more, visit the Inclusive Ventures Program page.

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