Innovation Festival Opens This Weekend Event is Sponsored by Red Bull


Baltimore is a city ripe with innovation and ideas, and the Red Bull Amaphiko Festival this week looks to capitalize on that by providing support to new entrepreneurs.

From Aug. 17-19, the festival will feature speakers from more than 50 organizations, a workshop for young entrepreneurs and a block party at Hollins Market, culminating in a summit on Sunday that explores the intersections of creativity, business and social innovation.

“We saw that there were a ton of people working tirelessly with great ideas [in Baltimore], but they lacked resources, social capital and support,” says A.J. White, the U.S. program manager at Red Bull. “We wanted to provide platforms to showcase their work and inspire others.”

A year ago, Baltimore was chosen as the first American Red Bull Amaphiko Academy host city, due to its emergence as a leading social innovation hub. The academy is an 18-month launch pad for grassroots social entrepreneurs making a positive change in their communities. The program seeks to give them mentorship, practical skills and inspiration needed to improve themselves and their ideas.

The program featured a 10-day workshop last year, and many of the participants are speaking at this year’s festival.

A Red Bull Amaphiko event in Santa Catarina

One such 2017 program fellow, Brittany Young, founder of B-360, says the program offered her the skills she needed to further her idea of encouraging disconnected youths and adults to pursue career opportunities in STEM fields through dirt bike riding.

“The biggest thing I learned was how to be a better storyteller,” Young says. “How to diverse myself into different [storytelling] methods really helped me.”

Also, the fact that Baltimore was the first U.S. site chosen by the Austrian-based company was important to Young.

“Them picking Baltimore to be the first U.S. academy felt good because it showed that they cared about the city and our ideas,” says Young.

Walker Marsh, another 2017 fellow and the founder of The Flower Factory, a program connecting the community with nature through an urban garden, says the name attached to the program was a major draw at first.

“The first motivation was that it was Red Bull,” Marsh says. “A huge company interested in local entrepreneurs was big to me.”

As for what advice he hopes to impart as a speaker at this year’s festival, Marsh says he plans to stress the importance of staying motivated.

“There’s a certain focus you have to give,” Marsh says. “Everything you give, you will get back something. You think differently [as an entrepreneur], you have to be open and honest with yourself.”

With the exception to the Young Entrepreneurs Workshop, all festival events are free and open to the public.


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