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2021: A year of building successful and impactful government digital services firms

Transforming the way government serves its people

2021 has been an empowering and insightful year for all of our cohort companies, partners, board, and team members as we worked together to foster a diverse ecosystem of digital services firms that are transforming the way our government serves its people. Navigating through the program during one of the most unprecedented times in history was a test of our commitment to nurture, empower, and connect underrepresented entrepreneurs working toward the public good. 

Working through the highs and lows of managing a remote work-life balance during a global pandemic proved just how dedicated we were to changing government for the better. At Hutch, we are elated about the hard work and resilience that our cohort companies have put forth in this pursuit, and we are beyond excited about the growth and success that the program has seen over the last year. 

Recently, we celebrated the achievement of 4 digital services firms, the second cohort to graduate from the Hutch program. The Hutch Class of 2021 includes Theta, Systone, Lucky Rabbit, and IOCYBER. In January 2022, we are excited to welcome our next cohort to the Hutch community, increasing mentorship and peer-to-peer support in the tech ecosystem. 

As we plan for the future of Hutch and the continuous growth of the digital services community, we understand the importance of having a dedicated workspace for our cohort companies to learn and grow together, post-pandemic. Earlier this year, we officially launched the Hutch coworking offices on the first floor of Spark Baltimore at Power Plant Live, featuring 6,900 square feet of private office, coworking, and collaboration spaces for participants and graduates of the incubator. The Hutch coworking offices provide women and minority-led technology firms looking to break into the $100 billion federal contracting industry with dedicated workspace to collaborate, build, and grow together through the program and beyond. 

As we continued to guide the growth of the incubator and scale the program to support more founders, we realized that we needed to assemble a team of industry professionals with great skill and experience in government. Thus, we welcomed our first advisory board in the summer of this year. Board members include: Carla Briceno, CEO and Co-Founder of Bixal, Robbie Holmes, Director of Digital Services and Software Engineering of Prince William County, Virginia, Traci Walker, Executive Director of the Digital Services Coalition; and Marc Jones, General Counsel of CivicActions to name a few. 

“I joined the Board of Hutch because it is filling a critical gap in the digital services tech space. The work of this organization to incubate businesses led by underrepresented groups will literally change the face of digital tech for the better. Representation not only matters, it is essential to ensuring an equitable tech/social ecosystem for all users!” said Clair Koroma, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Defense.

Not only were we growing internally, but we used our tools and resources to impact the community significantly. Hutch recently joined the TEDCO Urban Business Innovation Initiative (UBII), which enhances economic empowerment by fostering an inclusive entrepreneurial, innovative ecosystem by identifying, investing, and growing technology companies in Maryland. 

Hutch was recently ranked #14 on the Baltimore Business Journal’s largest accelerators and incubators programs in Maryland and awarded the Greater Baltimore Committee 2021 Bridging the Gap Achievement Award in Mentorship, alongside our parent company, Fearless. 

Since 2019, Hutch has acted as a home base for our entrepreneurs, giving them a foundation of support that they can grow from without getting lost amongst bigger companies in the industry. We look forward to bringing our companies the best tools and resources needed to be successful in government.

The last year has shown us how important it is to stick together as a community and to uplift and empower one another in the journey. Each of us must be the change we wish to see in the world and government. Creating a space where all are represented is how we plan to impact change. 

We look forward to a productive and impactful 2022. 

Hutch celebrates second cohort to graduate from digital services incubator

Hutch, a digital services incubator that strengthens minority and women entrepreneurs, today graduated their second cohort of companies. Four companies have emerged from the intensive 24-month program with a vision and the skills necessary in strategy, branding, contracting and leadership to build an impactful business that can compete in the competitive government services market. 

Hutch believes that increasing the number of minority and women-led companies in the digital services world is critical to build technology that better serves the public good. Most Hutch companies are engaged in contracting or subcontracting work before they even leave the program. This year, the following companies have joined Hutch’s growing list of graduates:

  • ioCyber, founded by Angelo Crawford, is a cybersecurity company that secures organizations from the inside out, using expertise in identifying security risks and penetration testing.
  • Lucky Rabbit, founded by Shaun Edens, delivers simplistically designed innovations that provide quantum improvements using technology and data.
  • Systone Iterations, founded by Stephen Ibitoye, goes beyond technology to transform outdated processes and implement data-driven decisions.
  • Theta, founded by Emmanuel Iroanya, is a growing full-service digital and management firm with a mission to create a world where technology works for everybody.

“Hutch is designed to empower and connect underrepresented entrepreneurs. The program aspires to provide them with a strong foundation so they can grow their businesses without getting overrun by bigger industry competitors,” said Stephanie Chin, Program Manager of Hutch. “These four graduating entrepreneurs are already making an impact across government, in agencies such as The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).”

Hutch draws on Fearless’ experience and expertise in the digital services market to provide entrepreneurs with a foundation to secure their first government customer, and the specialization to scale their company and bring in more contracts. Those who fully invest in the Hutch program experience personal and professional growth that helps them catapult their company to the next level. Since the program began in 2019, Hutch has helped 17 small companies, including Ey3 Technologies, UpLight and Mastermnd, evolve into scalable, values-driven organizations.

Hutch has began the in-take process for the next cohort. Sessions for the 2023 class will begin January 2022.

Hutch collaborates with MD TEDCO to connect underrepresented tech entrepreneurs through Urban Business Innovation Initiative

Leading innovation to market is what TEDCO (Maryland Technology Development Corporation) does as Maryland’s leading source of funding for early-stage and technology-based businesses. Enhancing economic empowerment by fostering an inclusive entrepreneurial, innovative ecosystem by identifying, investing, and growing technology companies in Maryland. The organization’s latest program, the Urban Business Innovation Initiative (UBII), enhances economic empowerment by fostering an inclusive entrepreneurial, innovative ecosystem by identifying, investing, and growing technology companies in Maryland.

Hutch, alongside members of the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, is working with TEDCO to provide high-level support to early-stage entrepreneurs by offering guidance in developing technologies for commercialization and general business assistance for the continuous growth of their businesses. 

“With our well-established Rural Business Innovation Initiative (RBII), we’ve seen many entrepreneurs benefit from the support of our mentors,” said Troy LeMaile-Stovall, TEDCO CEO. “Building off the RBII model, we wanted to expand our focus to the entrepreneurs in some of our key urban areas of the state. Through our venture growth advisors, we are able to develop more partnerships and connections from Maryland’s resources to its entrepreneurs and continue our focus of knitting together the state’s ecosystem for a more sustainable future.”

TEDCO has been pivotal in providing business assistance to entrepreneurs throughout the State of Maryland and fostering innovation through technology transfer and commercialization from the state’s universities and federal labs. The Urban Business Innovation Initiative (UBII) provides technical and business support to underserved early-stage companies in key urban areas. 

“We know how overwhelming it is in the early days of growing a business, and this initiative spearheaded by TEDCO is a wonderful example of the State’s ecosystem joining together to connect underrepresented communities to opportunities, resources, and expertise,” said Hutch Program Manager, Stephanie Chin. 

Each urban region has a dedicated, highly experienced Venture Growth Advisor who evaluates potential clients and provides mentoring as well as connections to support programs offered by TEDCO and our collaborative partners.

Supported sectors of the initiative include: Cybersecurity, Educational Software, Environmental Solutions, GovTech and Civic Solutions, Renewable, Energy, IoT Devices, Nanotechnology, Public Health and Safety, Social Impact, Software Developers, Transportation and Mobility, and Urban Farming

Hutch is dedicated to intentionally investing and supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs by providing them with a blueprint for building successful and impactful government digital services firms. This collaborative partnership will allow us to continue to advance modern digital services by providing each company a foundation of support needed to help grow their businesses without getting lost amongst bigger companies in the industry.

All start-up companies or interested collaborative partners who want to learn more or apply for the TEDCO Urban Business Innovation Initiative, visit: https://www.tedcomd.com/resources/urban-business-innovation-initiative.  

This announcement was published independently of the Urban Business Innovation Initiative. This release does not constitute or imply an endorsement by TEDCO or the United States Government of the product, process, service, producer, or provider. The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of TEDCO or the United States Government.