Baltimore County News
Social Solutions' Journey from Tech Incubator to Global Profile
Social Solutions started back in 2000 with a handful of talented people and a vision to improve the effectiveness of social services by using data-driven software to measure outcomes.
The journey took them to a technology incubator in Baltimore, with the company growing to 36 employees by 2006. Social Solutions hatched from the incubator and nested in White Marsh. Today, they have a global profile and by the end of this year expect to employ over 300 people and clear well over $40 million. Social Solutions client list includes federal and local government agencies and major non-profit organizations around the world.
“One of the reasons we’ve been successful here is the proximity to major non-profits, public institutions and universities. Having these elements so close together keeps ideas fresh and allows the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish, which is critical as we move to become an enterprise-class software company,” said Social Solutions CEO Scott Johnson.
Social Solutions has won Baltimore County’s New Directions Award, which honors a company that represents the future of the County’s business community, and recently received the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Award as a graduate of the Emerging Technology Center in Baltimore City.
This is how incubators and entrepreneurship should work – nurture while young and developing, give tools to help companies become independent, then let them run free to grow.
Maryland has long understood that visionary entrepreneurs need the room to be creative and thrive in an environment where they can benefit from other young companies, shared resources and mentorships. Baltimore County is home to two incubators, Towson University’s TU Incubator, which recently expanded into a larger facility and bwtech@UMBC, the second largest incubator in the State. Annual economic impact of bwtech@UMBC tenant operations supports 2,472 jobs in the Baltimore regional economy with associated income of $159 million. Businesses enjoyed total 2014 sales or revenue of $328 million because of bwtech@UMBC tenants, according to a study by Sage Policy Group.
Will Anderson, Baltimore County Director of Economic and Workforce Development, talks about the relationship between our colleges and incubators. “Having our incubators embedded in our college campuses not only offers a vibrant quality of life, but puts an invaluable network of resources to work, generating good ideas destined for success. We’re seeing a steady stream of businesses thrive in this setting and beyond.”
When companies are ready to hatch from the incubator, Baltimore County is ready to back them up. Six incubator companies recently received working capital loans from the Baltimore County Boost Fund, a program designed to help small, minority, woman and veteran owned businesses. The list includes up-and-coming companies Lesson Cast Learning LLC, RedShred, LLC and Light Point Security, LLC, each finalists in the Invest Maryland Challenge business competition for innovative startups.
So the next time you’re strolling through the campus of UMBC or Towson University, keep your eyes peeled for empty shells on the ground. It just might be a sign that an incubator firm is hatching as the next global company.
By Bryan Dunn, Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development
Baltimore County Tourism and Promotion
Since 1976 our country has recognized February as Black History Month. You can learn about and celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans throughout our nation’s history by attending any of the great events and activities celebrating Black History Month in Baltimore County.
The Hampton National Historic Site has posted a full schedule of inspiring and significant programs to be presented during Black History Month.
A commemorative exhibit, From Banneker to Douglass: the Quests for Freedom and Equality, will be on display through February 28 at the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum. Come see original works of art that commemorate the early efforts of Maryland’s African Americans and their allies in their pursuit of freedom and equality for all.
At UMBC, a film screening of “Slavery by Another Name” will be shown on February 2 and 4, and pianist JoyAnne Amani will celebrate the contributions of African Americans with her concert on February 15. A Stirring Song Sung Heroic, an exhibition of 80 black and white photographs by Williams Earle Williams, will be on display in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery until March 25.
On February 11, acclaimed public intellectual, best-selling author, and radio host, Michael Eric Dyson will lecture at Towson University as part of their Diversity Speaker Series. Dyson was named by Ebony as one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans.
Freeman Hrabowski III, the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County since 1992, will speak at Goucher College as part of the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Visiting Professorship Series on February 26. Hrabowski is a prominent educator, advocate, and mathematician who recently was named by President Obama to chair the new Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. Earlier that day CCBC will welcome social justice advocate and attorney Bryan Stevenson as a guest lecturer for the 2015 President’s Distinguished African-American Lecture Series.
On February 28, the Randallstown Community Center is hosting a free event, “In Celebration of Black History Month,” which offers an evening of music and poetry.
Todd Dolbin, Business Development Representative, Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development
With hackers in the headlines everyday, a growing force of cybersecurity entrepreneurs is developing technologies to stay ahead of the threats.
But like all new businesses, these cyber startups need office space, business connections, funding, and access to research.
The Cync Program at UMBC is a unique partnership between Northrop Grumman and the Cyber Incubator@bwtech, with an eye toward commercializing technologies that protect the nation from a growing range of cyber threats. The program builds on bwtech@UMBC’s successful business incubator framework by offering a scholarship program for companies with the most promising cybersecurity ideas.
The competitive Cync Program is currently accepting applications from high-potential, early-stage companies from across the country looking to further develop and commercialize their technologies. If you’re an innovative, technology-driven startup company involved with Cyber, Data Sciences, Big Data, Secure Mobility, or Physical Systems, then this program is right for you.
Selected participants will be able to draw on UMBC’s extensive research resources and have onsite access to senior representatives from Northrop Grumman who will provide technical and business advisory support. In addition, Cync companies will be provided with the same furnished, class-A office space and business support services that other Cyber Incubator companies enjoy – a value of more than $20,000 a year – all at no cost.
bwtech@UMBC is the only Maryland enterprise to combine business incubators with a research and technology park serving companies by offering a full spectrum of company support: early-stage, emerging, and mature. With over 118 tenants and almost 1,200 employees, bwtech@UMBC generates over $168 million in spending in the Baltimore region.
For more information on locating in Baltimore County, contact the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-887-8000, or visit our website.
Revised April 6, 2016