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Report offers 152 recommendations for improving Baltimore’s innovation ecosystem

Becoming an international force in the field of quantum computing, providing technology for every resident, and leading the fight against wage inequality are just a handful of the 152 ambitious goals outlined in a new report focused on the future of Baltimore’s startup economy.

The report, released by UpSurge, a company launched in January that is dedicated to making Baltimore the nation’s preeminent city for “Equitech” by 2030, offers goals and steps that can be taken to advance and promote the city’s innovation economy. An “Equitech” city refers to an innovation hub that sees diversity as a competitive advantage and prioritizes companies that drive progress in society.

The goals were developed by 18 groups of a total of 210 volunteers from various industry sectors who have been meeting to brainstorm and develop these recommendations since the summer.

The goals are categorized by industry, each featuring near-term goals that can be turned around by the end of 2022; “systems changes” that will take a bit more heavy lifting but can be completed by the turn of the decade; and a few “moonshots” that aim to “fundamentally change the Baltimore ecosystem.” Each goal outlines which local organizations and institutions could be involved in carrying out the goal, as well as information about how the recommendation would contribute towards UpSurge’s larger vision for the city.

Many of the shorter-term goals involve bringing together organizations with shared interests; gaining and sharing information about industry-specific funding, incentives and resources; and drawing more attention the different industries present in the city.

The team that developed recommendations related to the data/artificial intelligence industry, for example, recommended developing a series of monthly networking events to strengthen the connections between members of the industries. Recommendations under the food technology header include using Baltimore Restaurant Week to promote “non-traditional restaurants, food experience providers, and food product vendors,” alongside traditional dining establishments.

The longer-term “moonshot” goals focus more on massive changes and improvements to Baltimore’s innovation landscape and overall economy, often building upon the anticipated success of the shorter-term recommendations.

For example, the biggest goal presented by the government/policy team is for Baltimore to become a global leader in the fight against racial and gender pay inequality.

“As we push to make Baltimore the country’s first Equitech city, it is crucial to push for a business ecosystem where talent is compensated fairly based on skill and contributions to the community — and to develop and model practices that other cities can follow,” the report reads.

Other moonshot goals include making Baltimore a hub for quantum computing — a field in which the University of Maryland is currently a global leader — and providing internet access and devices, like laptops, tablets or smartphones, to every Baltimorean.

The full list, titled “Equitech 2030: UpSurge Teams Report,” can be found here.

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