Tom Loveland, CEO of Mind Over Machines and Greater Baltimore Committee president and CEO Don Fry hosted a Tech Roundtable on Sept. 26 with key members of Baltimore’s thriving entrepreneurial tech community in an effort to learn more about the business issues that are of interest to this industry group. In an informal discussion, tech CEOs said their vision is to have Baltimore become the hotbed for tech startups.
Recognizing that Baltimore is already an education hub and a bio hub, the tech leaders are confident their vision can be realized and want to address specific issues to make that happen. The most important issue they identified that needed to be addressed is workforce.
All 15 companies represented at the meeting, held at the offices of BTS Software Solutions in Baltimore, had job openings and are struggling to fill them.
“We need to keep college students here so that they work here, grow here and invest here,” said Betamore CEO Mike Brenner.
The tech CEOs said all of their companies would benefit from a formal program to place more students interested in tech careers into area businesses for internships. There was a brisk discussion about creating a four-month training program to get college grads ready for jobs in technology. Participants cited the Academy for Software Engineering in New York as a model.
The industry, which participants said has grown “organically,” recognizes that growth will be fueled by policy, tax law and a better relationship with city and state officials. One member said their relationship with city government and large businesses has been awkward and the group would like to see it improve.
There was agreement the GBC could provide the needed interface between policymakers, large businesses and technology companies. The GBC and tech company executives pledged to work together to identify ways that the thriving tech industry in the Baltimore region can realize its enormous potential.