Archives For Minority Business

The second annual InvestMaryland Challenge is in full swing. If your business is in need of a jump start, check out this site for more information about the national business competition. The Challenge offers applicants free admission to networking events, social media promotion, scoring and feedback from judges, exposure to venture capital firms and angel investors and the chance to compete for more than $600,000 in prizes. Winners of the Life Sciences, IT, Cybersecurity and General Industry categories will each win $100,000 awards. Others will take home smaller grants, incubator space, consulting services and other cash and in-kind prizes. Applications are due by Dec. 6.

Judges include a distinguished lineup of industry leaders and experts in a variety of fields. Meet a selection of judges below.

Meet The Judges:



Robb Doub joined New Markets Venture Partners in 2003. Robb is the lead administrative partner and serves as a board director for eCoast Sales Solutions and Appfluent Technology, and is lead partner or board observer for K2 Global, Kroll Bond Ratings, Navtrak, Three Stage Media, CSA Medical and TidalTV. He also serves on the board of Egeen International and the Conflicts Advisory Board of the off-shore hedge funds.


Daphne Dufresne joined RLJ Equity Partners from Parish Capital Advisors, where she was a Venture Partner managing the direct investment and co-investment program. Formerly, Ms. Dufresne was a Principal at Weston Presidio Capital with $3.4 billion of assets under management. She also served as Associate Director in the Bank of Scotland’s Structured Finance Group. Ms. Dufresne received her B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.


Christy Williams Wyskiel is an entrepreneur and investor with 20 years of experience focused on the life sciences and healthcare industries. Previously, Christy was Managing Director at Maverick Capital, an equity hedge fund with $12 billion under management. She co-founded GrayBug, an ophthalmic drug-delivery company. In 2012, Christy joined the Johns Hopkins Alliance, a board charged with evaluating the commercial viability of research projects at JHU.


Frederick J. Ferrer has over three decades of experience in the National Security, Intelligence Community (IC), Homeland Defense and Cyber. Mr. Ferrer holds a Master’s of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University and serves in a number of leadership capacities, including the Maryland Commission on Cybersecurity Innovation and Excellence; National STEM Consortium Advisory Committee; and Chesapeake Regional Tech Council.


As the Executive Director and President of the Emerging Technology Center in Baltimore, Ms. Tillett is responsible for management of budgetary, administrative, programmatic functions and strategic planning. Prior to joining ETC, Ms. Tillett served as president and co-founder of Immersive 3D, LLC, a technology start-up providing web-based 3D computer gaming solutions for K-20 education and offering contract-based technology services.

See the full list of judges and submit your application on

BusinessIQ Express

Disadvantaged businesses could benefit from an online cash flow management tool.

The U.S. Small Business Association is launching an online cash flow management tool for disadvantaged American businesses, the SBA announced Wednesday.

BusinessIQ Express was formed through a partnership between the SBA and Experian, a leading global information services provider.

The program assists small business owners with the following tasks:

  • evaluating prospective customers’ and suppliers’ ability to pay
  • monitoring business relationships with alerts and notifications of key changes
  • collecting outstanding debts and avoiding future losses

In order to qualify to use the tool, businesses must be small disadvantaged firms in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program or certified in SBA’s Historically Underutilized Business Zone program. These businesses are generally owned by women, minorities, those with disabilities, or are located in designated geographic areas.

A webinar on using BusinessIQ Express is planned between 2 pm and 3 pm on April 2. Find registration information here.


The recently passed Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act, which will likely result in a wind farm near Ocean City, provides $10 million to assist minority firms in gaining contracts. It also paves the way for clean energy programs at historically black colleges, the Baltimore Business Journal reports.

According to the article:

The funding will help businesses gear up to handle a variety of work related to the wind farm, including manufacturing components for wind turbines, transporting freight and providing engineering and other professional services, said [Vernon] Wade, CEO of Wade Enterprises Inc., an information technology company based in Ft. Washington …

The legislation also includes the creation of a Clean Energy Program Task Force to recommend whether Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore should establish programs that would grant a degree or certificate in clean energy.

Find the BBJ’s complete report here.