Blueprint to Reality Building Equitech Cities

Building Equitech Cities Through Ecosystem Development

One of the main drivers of ecosystem intelligence is creating connections and community within ecosystems and making information more accessible to everyone. We sat down with CEO of UpSurge Baltimore, Kory Bailey, on how he and his team support founders as they scale.

“Baltimore’s unique cultural blend, rich in history and diversity, presents an opportunity to create a more inclusive tech sector. By tapping into this diversity, the tech community can open doors for underrepresented groups, ensuring their participation and success in the tech world.”

One of the main drivers of ecosystem intelligence is creating connections and community within ecosystems and making information more accessible to everyone. As CEO of UpSurge Baltimore, Kory Bailey has an intimate knowledge of ecosystem development within tech.

We recently sat down for a conversation on how he and his team strategically figured out where UpSurge fit within the ecosystem and how to better support founders as they scale. He referenced Brad Feld’s concepts of leaders, feeders and instigators within an ecosystem.

“The leaders of our ecosystem are the founders. They’re the ones taking the risks, they’re the ones building the teams,” Bailey said. “Feeders are everyone who pours into those founders and companies, and then instigators are constantly bringing folks together and causing those collisions in a smart way. UpSurge serves as one of those instigators, creating pathways, access and opportunities for people to engage in the tech ecosystem.”

This shows up most noticeably in their Equitech vision. The concept of which is not just an aspiration but a definitive plan to build a thriving tech city rooted in diversity, inclusivity, and equitable opportunities. This vision goes beyond mere technological advancement; it aims to foster a sense of belonging for everyone in the technology sector. By leveraging local talents and resources, the goal is to construct a community where diversity in leadership and practices is not just welcomed but becomes the norm.

This is one area where UpSurge and EcoMap strongly align. There is data to support diverse teams with diverse leadership who can solve challenges and attack problems from different lived experiences outperform ones that are homogeneous. Diverse leaders and teams are an empirical advantage. EcoMap is a woman- and Black-founded organization where 50% of our team members are diverse. It is a necessity for us to serve our community in this way and, I believe, what has led us to thrive.

For Kory and his team’s work for tech founders, the underrepresentation of women and people of color in tech is a significant barrier that needs dismantling. Baltimore’s unique cultural blend, rich in history and diversity, presents an opportunity to create a more inclusive tech sector. By tapping into this diversity, the tech community can open doors for underrepresented groups, ensuring their participation and success in the tech world.

“The numbers don’t lie—95% of venture funding goes to white males while less than 5% goes to women and people of color. Demographically, the latter make up 70% of the U.S. population,” Kory said. “It’s important to acknowledge that there’s no way 95% of the great ideas don’t come from somewhere in that 70% of women and people of color.”

By actively engaging underrepresented groups in the tech community with mentorship programs, targeted funding, networking events, and educational initiatives, UpSurge ensures everyone, regardless of their background, has access to the resources and support they need to succeed in the tech landscape.

“Baltimore has this rich history, it’s uniquely placed in American history and geography, there’s such a unique blend of cultures,” Kory said.

 In a thriving tech ecosystem, success looks like a more diverse set of leaders in our ecosystem, safer and healthier neighborhoods. I am glad to be aligned in this vision with such innovative leaders like Kory.

Connect with Kory Bailey and his work at Upsurge Baltimore.

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