Social Entrepeneurs

Meeting Social Entrepreneurs Where They Are

Supporting historically underserved entrepreneurs – especially those leading social enterprises–is vital to the economic progress of neighborhoods and the overall well-being of Baltimore City. We accompany social entrepreneurs (SEs) through the full lifecycle of the entrepreneurship journey with our 5-stage Enterprise Development Pipeline, allowing leaders to come into the development cycle at any stage.

5-stage Enterprise Development Pipeline


Ignite sets the tone for the entrepreneurship journey by building an Impact Model through the Theory of Change framework that serves as the foundation of the social enterprise.


The ideate stage supports emerging social entrepreneurs. Resources and mentorship guide ideation, early-stage impact, business modeling, prototyping, market testing. Capital, through microgrants, is used to support entrepreneurs through this process.


The Create stage equips social enterprises with tools and guidance for sustainable growth. Resources: peer groups, bespoke mentoring, Boost Program, cohort-based curriculum. Ignite Capital offers microgrants/investment.


Grow stage aids established social enterprises with strategic tools. Resources: peer groups, mentoring, 6-month accelerator. Ignite Capital provides investment for growth plans.


Scale stage aids enterprises scaling beyond local markets. Tailored resources address unique needs, Scale stage aids enterprises scaling beyond local markets. Tailored resources address unique needs, including Miller Center's Replication Playbooks.

Programs & Curriculum

IW provides SEs with curriculum developed with the help of our partners at Miller Center. Programs support SEs in the later stages of the pipeline with enterprise development curriculum in the form of structured modules, a timeline with concrete deliverables, and a cohort of SEs and Mentors to work alongside. SEs in all stages of the pipeline are also able to receive asynchronous curriculum support that addresses the challenges facing their enterprise.


The Boost program packs core business lessons into a powerful four-day workshop to help local, established nonprofit, for-profit and hybrid social enterprise leaders learn business fundamentals, improve their strategic thinking, and articulate a business plan that demonstrates impact, growth, and long-term financial sustainability.



Our accelerator delves into eight core social enterprise business modules over a period of about six months. The goal is to help social enterprise leaders in Baltimore hone in on key aspects of their business and develop a solid growth strategy that demonstrates an increase in their enterprise’s social impact and a plan for long-term financial sustainability.



IW’s Executive Mentor Network is a diverse group of accomplished leaders with the common goal of sharing their subject matter expertise, industry experiences and social networks with the next generation of Baltimore entrepreneurs.


Access to capital

IW’s subsidiary impact fund, Ignite Capital, addresses Baltimore’s critical gap in access to capital necessary to lead and grow sustainable enterprises.


Access To Markets

Over the years, IW's commitment has been exemplified through initiatives like "Nature’s Colors" and "Transform Lexington Market." These platforms have not only provided a direct market but have also showcased the capabilities of SEs in the network.


Additional Social Entrepreneur Support

Fostering the success of historically underserved entrepreneurs, particularly those leading social enterprises, is critical to Baltimore City's economic growth and overall welfare. 

Our approach includes:

  • Full life cycle support through our entrepreneurship development program

  • Comprehensive and modular curriculum tailored to the needs of social entrepreneurs

  • Mission-driven network for collaboration and support

  • Whole person care approach, ensuring the entrepreneur's well-being is taken care.

Innovation Works Collaboration

Are you interested in applying to receive support from IW?

You might be a fit for the IW Pipeline if…

  1. You're operating or have an idea for a social enterprise
  2. The social enterprise is/will be based in Baltimore
  3. Your social enterprise is/will be economically supporting a historically disinvested community in Baltimore
  4. You are seeking support resources to help sustainably grow your social enterprise

Application Process and How To Apply

  1. Submit Collaboration form
  2. After submitting, you will receive an email to set up an initial call with IW’s Pipeline Manager
  3. After your initial call, we will email you with our acceptance decision*
  4. If accepted, we will begin connecting you with relevant Pipeline resources