Innovation Works and Miller Center Form Partnership to Create 250 Social Enterprises, 5,000 Jobs in Baltimore

Media Mention, Press Release

Baltimore, March 5, 2019Innovation Works (IW) and Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University announce a strategic partnership designed to advance IW’s goal of creating or enhancing 250 Baltimore-based social enterprises employing 5,000 Baltimore residents and attracting $100 million in capital over the next ten years.

IW was formed to support Baltimore’s entrepreneurship development as a path to creating sustainable jobs, increasing average household incomes, and building neighborhood economies in underinvested communities. Miller Center, as the largest and most effective university-based social enterprise accelerator in the world, brings best practices and experience to the initiative.

 A five-stage process, which includes partnering with neighborhood organizations; developing long-term mentoring networks; bridging access to investment capital; and, investing in systems that support the field of social innovation are the means to achieve the goal.

 “With committed local program collaborators, a passionate group of mentors, and the strong support of the Jesuit community, our vision of providing a path to economic sustainability for Baltimore’s underserved can become a reality,” said Frank Knott, President of Innovation Works. “Working in tandem with Miller Center, with its successful track record of helping social enterprises scale and be investment-ready, allows us to use and adapt their models and tap their experts to fit our specific needs in Baltimore.”

 Miller Center has helped more than one thousand social enterprises around the world attain operational excellence and prepare for investment through its signature Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) programs.

 “We are tremendously excited to partner with Innovation Works to bring our time-tested Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) approach to support social entrepreneurs to Baltimore organizations,” said Pamela Roussos, Chief Innovation Officer for Miller Center. “Our global expertise, combined with IW’s deep community roots and strong local partner base, are a powerful combination to help realize the creation of jobs and economic impact for Baltimore families and communities.”

 As one of its first Baltimore initiatives, IW and Miller Center will host Innovation Works Boost—a 3-day workshop taking place June 18-20, in collaboration with Catholic Charities of Baltimore. Based on Miller Center’s GSBI Boost program, this free, capacity-building workshop will accept 20-30 Baltimore-based leaders.  With an emphasis on improving strategic thinking, social entrepreneurs will be more effective in articulating their business plans to demonstrate impact, growth and long-term financial sustainability.

 Applications are now being accepted at for participants who:

·      Currently lead an existing for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid enterprise

·      Are an early-stage enterprise that needs to develop a social enterprise business model

·      Deliver solutions that impact vulnerable, underserved populations in Baltimore

 Training sessions will be led by seasoned social enterprise development leaders from Miller Center and IW, and executive level mentors will support participants throughout the workshop. The deadline to apply is April 12, 2019.

 After the Innovation Works Boost, interested and qualified participants will have the opportunity to matriculate into the GSBI Online accelerator – a six-month, mentored, virtual program where organizations develop business models and strategies to sustainably grow their enterprises. Each individual will be matched with a mentor from the Baltimore mentor network.

 “Baltimore continues to experience increased energy in the social entrepreneurship sector, with a growing pipeline of talented individuals and organizations driven to move the needle on societal issues,” said Jay Nwachu, Innovation Works’ Chief Innovation Officer. “Innovation Works has a unique opportunity to shift the wealth dynamics in Baltimore. Our focus on social enterprises, commitment to economic development at the neighborhood level and systems-driven approach is a much-needed addition to the ongoing efforts in this sector.”

 Innovation Works’ local program and institutional collaborators are core pillars of the Baltimore community, and include Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, Catholic Charities of Baltimore, Open Works, University of Baltimore School of Business, Baltimore Corps, Think|Stack, Ignatian Volunteer Corps, the Maryland Province of the Jesuits, and the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.


About Innovation Works:

Innovation Works is a strategic partner of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, the largest and most effective social enterprise accelerator in the world.  IW is adapting Miller Center’s best practices to launch and grow 250 social enterprises over 10 years to employ 5,000 Baltimore residents and attract $100M in capital to Baltimore’s under-resourced neighborhoods. As an innovative, collaborative resource network that connects neighborhoods, entrepreneurs, social innovation assets and investors, IW’s mission is to build sustainable neighborhood economies in Baltimore that will result in better family living, more resilient communities, and a safer, more vibrant city. Learn more about the IW mentor network, apply for the IW Boost Program, and stay connected at

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is the largest and most successful social enterprise accelerator in the world. Founded in 1997, Miller Center is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University and is located in the heart of the world’s most entrepreneurial ecosystem. We leverage the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ethos of Silicon Valley and underpin it with the Jesuit heritage of service to the poor and protection of the planet. To learn more about the Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit