etc's startup in a box 

take the next step with your idea this fall with the daraja collective


ready to focus on your side hustle?

The PioneerBaltimore program is an initiative of the ETC (Emerging Technology Centers), Baltimore’s award-winning incubator.

This program is designed to take your early-stage business idea to the next step. Whether that is developing a business plan or working on a prototype, the ETC wants to help future entrepreneurs find the time to put these thoughts into action. The program is developed with the working professional in mind. The cohort will meet once a week after work hours. Focus on your idea for the next 10 weeks, and you could be ready to apply to the ETC's Incubate Baltimore program for guided mentorship to take your business to the next step.



Pioneer Baltimore utilizes a curriculum created by The Daraja Collective. This 10-week program focuses on customer discovery, idea validation, and relationship building. 


Are you a pioneer?

Apply to this program if:

  • You have an idea that is keeping you up at night

  • You're open to receiving feedback on your idea

  • Your solution will use technology (web, app, device) in some way

  • You want to meet and support other people at a similar stage in the process


what does the program look like?

During this program:

  • You will meet once a week from 6 pm-9 pm at the Small Business Resource Center (SBRC).

  • The program will be lead by a trained facilitator.

  • You will be paired with a mentor that will offer advice and guidance.

  • You will hear from a variety of community business leaders.

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what's in this for you?

This program will benefit you by:

  • Helping you develop a clear vision for your business idea

  • Connecting you to entrepreneurs, mentors, & resources in Baltimore

  • Providing new resources each week that can be useful tools and points of reference.


This 10-week program will bring guest speakers to the table each week to help you understand and grow the following areas of your business:

Week 1. Program Launch: Thursday, September 12th
Week 2. Idea Validation/Customer Discovery: Thursday, September 19th
Week 3. Competitive Analysis and Advantage Defining: Thursday, September 26th
Week 4. Building and Managing Teams/Understanding Yourself: Thursday, October 3rd
Week 5. Financial Literacy and Intelligence: Thursday, October 17th
Week 6. Legal Formation/Insurance: Thursday, October 24th
Week 7. Understanding Branding, Sales, & Marketing: Tuesday, October 29th
Week 8. Lessons Learned in Operations and Entrepreneurship: Thursday, November 7th
Week 9. Public Speaking and Pitch Development: Thursday, November 14th
Week 10. Celebration Night: Thursday, November 21st


We want pioneers to get the most out of the 10-week program. This means that there might be additional questions that need answers and are not covered during the weekly sessions. Sometimes it's nice to connect with someone who has been in your shoes. Each company selected to the Pioneer Program will be matched with a current or graduate ETC company founder or entrepreneur-in-residence to guide pioneers through their entrepreneurial journey. 


Applications open on a rolling basis
AUGUST 11, 2019 - deadline to apply to fall 2019 cohort
August 22-23, 2019 - In-person interviews
August 26 - cohort announced
SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 - Program starts

NOVEMBER 14, 2019 - program ends
NOVEMBER 21, 2019 - Celebration night



  • Program will require an application to be considered

  • The ETC will select 15 participants

  • There is no fee to apply or participate

  • The program will be hosted at the Small Business Resource Center and take place on Thursday evenings



The ETC is a non-profit venture of the Baltimore Development Corporation and the City of Baltimore's technology and innovation center. The ETC is what you need it to be, and more. Offering 3 additional programs to the entrepreneurial community- Accelerate Baltimore, Beehive Baltimore and Incubate Baltimore- the ETC is home to nearly 100 innovative companies. Since the late 1990's ETC current and graduate companies have raised over $2 billion in funding and created over 2,300 jobs in Baltimore. Find out how you can join our community today by visiting our website.