After reflecting on this last fiscal year, MIC Executive Director Chuck Bubeck deemed this year the most successful since the doors opened in 2019. Bubeck is a decorated entrepreneur and business leader who helps startups access the tools to accelerate change. He plays a vital role in the growth of the MIC and is enthusiastic about innovation.
What are the MIC’s most significant accomplishments from the past year?
Foremost among these accomplishments is the remarkable surge in memberships. This year’s growth stands as a testament to their most significant progress yet, nearly warranting the implementation of a waitlist due to soaring demand.
Bubeck attributes this membership surge to the second hallmark of the fiscal year: the enhancement in outreach. The MIC dedicated substantial time and resources to ensure a cohesive marketing strategy, incorporating SEO technology and consistent messaging.
Next, the Business Revitalization Initiative Through Entrepreneurship or “BRITE” program achieved impressive success this year. The National Association of Counties (NACo) honored the BRITE program with a 2023 NACo Achievement Award in the Community and Economic Development category, recognizing its significant contributions to empowering entrepreneurs. To date, the program has served approximately 1,000 participants.
Finally, expanding the mentorship program, known as the Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program, has been a dynamic success for the MIC. “We doubled then tripled the number of mentors and turned that into an actual and functioning program. We now have ten mentors engaged with us part-time,” Bubeck said.
Using the momentum you built up this past year, what are the priorities for FY2024?
Bubeck continues to underscore the significance of the BRITE program and EIR mentorship at the MIC and outlines plans for further expansion in the upcoming year.
“Continuing to grow the BRITE program remains a priority. The BRITE program has been the great lead in everything we do. We see a whole new group of people sign up for those classes, and then many become engaged with us,” Bubeck said. Ultimately, the MIC hopes to continue to develop BRITE and EIR offerings to reach more entrepreneurs in the county.
In tandem with expanding upon existing successes, the MIC is committed to cultivating new achievements. The MIC received recent approval to fund a new cyber program that incorporates cybersecurity as a foundational element within its entrepreneurial programs.
Addressing the challenge of Maryland’s access to capital will also be a priority for the MIC. Collaborative efforts with partners such as TEDCO aim to fortify Maryland’s capital resources, ideally empowering entrepreneurs who have completed the program to continue their ventures. Another focal point for the upcoming year is acquiring and implementing tools and technologies to track and manage the organization’s assets, which will help organize metrics. The MIC also plans to use these tools to follow the journey of entrepreneurs entering one of the MIC’s programs.
“The focus is on the entrepreneur, not on the product. The product will change, but the entrepreneur is the one we’re investing in,” Bubeck said.
What new enhancements can MIC members and BRITE attendees expect next year?
With the pandemic’s conclusion, individuals are eager to return to in-person interactions, and the MIC is committed to holding even more programs and events. The MIC has been working to grow its special interest groups, like a CEO forum. Efforts are also underway to structure groups around areas of interest such as healthcare and finance.
Additionally, the MIC building is also expanding! A coffee and lounge area is under construction on the first floor, adjacent to the lobby. This inviting space is envisioned as a hub for impromptu visits, fostering engagement and involvement.
What are you the most excited about for next year?
Bubeck expressed his excitement about the return to community and expansion.
He also enthusiastically highlighted the diverse and inclusive atmosphere at the MIC. Bubeck said that innovation knows no boundaries and transcends demographics. “Some of the best innovations come from being right in the middle of the problem and creating a solution first-hand,” he adds.
Bubeck closed the interview by giving a heartfelt shoutout to his dedicated team. Tracy Deik, Aphaia Harper, Jillian Joseph, Sydnee Neal, the Entrepreneurs in Residence, and more!
“This was our best year. We want to keep the momentum going. We’ve got a wind behind us pushing us.”