The three-day Amplify 2022 program this week will feature a slate of speakers from political, business and cultural backgrounds; a Shark Tank-style entrepreneurship competition; field trips to local institutions; and more.
The program will take place from Wednesday, May 4 to Friday, May 6 at various locations across Baltimore. The events are being organized by the nonprofit Baltimore Homecoming, which gathers Baltimore natives and program alumni who are now across the U.S. and the world to collaborate and invest in Baltimore.
“We want Baltimore Homecoming to act as a connector – a conduit through which Baltimore alumni can engage with the local community and be a part of its future,” said Robbin Lee, executive director of Baltimore Homecoming, in a statement. “We intentionally designed this year’s event with more opportunities for conversation to help build deeper and more meaningful connections between alumni and the Baltimore businesses, artists, changemakers and leaders who make our city worth investing in.”.
Amplify 2022 will especially highlight local businesses and nonprofits that are women- and minority-owned and those that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Among this year’s speakers are Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott; Nasdaq President and CEO Adena T. Friedman; author and University of Baltimore professor D. Watkins; artist, author and social entrepreneur Chris Wilson; Anirban Basu, chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group; Delali Dzirasa, CEO of digital services firm Fearless; Jess Gartner, CEO of K-12 finance technology company Allovue; Kristen Valdes, CEO of b.well, a health data company; Ellington West, CEO of Sonavi Labs, a creator of AI-informed medical devices and software; Dug Song, chief strategy officer at Cisco Security; and Dan Porterfield, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute.
A Crab Tank startup pitch competition, in the style of ABC’s television show “Shark Tank,” will feature five startup founders who will compete for a $25,000 grand prize, as well as a $2,500 people’s choice award.
Judging the competition will be a panel of business leaders: Mac Conwell, founder of Rarebreed Ventures; Lisa Green Hall, impact chair at Apollo Global; Jason Murphy, owner of Murphy Enterprises; Takia Ross, owner of Accessmatized LLC; and Dave Troy, founder of 410 Labs.
This year, the Amplify program will include two new initiatives to minority- and women-owned restaurants and local musicians.
With the first initiative, Dine Around Baltimore, the nonprofit Thread Baltimore will facilitate conversations while guests dine at participating restaurants: Charleston, Magdalena, Hersh’s, BLK Swan, Water for Chocolate, Alma Cocina Latina, RYMKS Bar & Grille and Ekiben at Groundwork Kitchen.
The second initiative is a partnership with Baltimore-based entertainment and media company EPIC FAM, which will provide a taste of the city’s music scene with performances by Wifty Bangura, Rufus Roundtree & Da B’More Brass Factory, and other local artists.
Amplify 2022 will also include presentations from the five winners of the 2022 Homecoming Hero Awards program.
Attendees will take field trips Thursday afternoon to Project JumpStart, Emerging Technology Centers, Baltimore Legacy Builders Collective, B&O Railroad Museum, Roca Baltimore, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore Unity Hall and others to learn how these institutions are “driving innovation in workforce development, bringing equity to underserved communities and revitalizing Baltimore’s cultural centers,” according to a release.