Innovation Works


To reduce Baltimore’s racial wealth divide by teaching and accompanying members of disinvested communities to build and own successful social enterprises.


Describe and analyze the delivery of Miller Center’s methodology by Innovation Works in Baltimore, and develop written materials to support the scaling and export of this partnership to other domestic US urban communities.

Research Activities

Innovation Works seeks to reduce the racial wealth divide in Baltimore. To investigate how it creates this impact, we conducted 25 interviews of employees, board members, mentors, and entrepreneurs in IW’s network, and administered two quantitative surveys. Data collection focused on the stakeholders’ experiences of working with Innovation Works, and their perception of IW’s impact. This allowed us to explain the interactions between Innovation Works employees, mentors, and community members in Baltimore. Additionally, we documented the pipeline through which Innovation Works organizes its support, and what aspect of this support each employee is responsible for.

Key Findings:

  1. Grit and Adaptability are Critical Aspects of IW Team Culture That are Needed Regardless of Location. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, IW shifted its focus to personal protective equipment initiatives, expanded its online curriculum and programs, and continued to move forward with capital investment in the Baltimore community.
  2. IW’s Efficacy Relies on the Credibility of Their Public Image and Their Connections With Community Stakeholders. Community members view IW as socially and financially involved in the community through their social entrepreneurship curriculum, programs, and capital investment fund.  Their strongest community connections are partnerships with stakeholders who act strategically and align closely with their approach.
  3. A Strong Community Identity and Culture of Entrepreneurship is Vital for Future IW’s Locations. IW is successful at building strong networks within Baltimore because the city itself has a strong sense of identity, at both the neighborhood and city level. This facilitates the spread of knowledge of and trust in IW.


  1. Innovation Works in the City of Baltimore: A Playbook for Bridging the Racial Wealth Divide Using Social Entrepreneurship. The modules include financial model and viability, leadership and teams, markets and customers, and a roadmap for establishing IW outside of Baltimore, to name a few. This document helps those working to scale IW understand the essential ingredients it needs to be successful in another location.
    1. Download the Innovation Works in the City of Baltimore Playbook
  2. Recommendations to Management. We created a comprehensive memo with recommendations on how to improve a variety of different aspects of IW’s methodology. These recommendations span across the playbook modules, with notable suggestions for marketing and financial improvement.


Social Enterprise:
Innovation Works Baltimore

Pearl Heumann
Public Health Science, Psychology

Alexa Williams
Communication, Sociology