MICA, IMET students practice pitches in preparation for entrepreneurial finales, made possible by Ratcliffe Foundation

The fourth iteration of “Pitch & Mix,” held on March 10, brought science and art togetehr.

The Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship (RCCE) at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) visited the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) for an evening bringing together science and art at the Ratcliffe Foundation “Pitch & Mix.”

The fourth iteration of the “Pitch & Mix,” finally back to an in person event at IMET, gathered together six fellows from the Ratcliffe Environmental Entrepreneurship Fellowship (REEF) program at IMET: Nutralgae, Kia Ramarui; Environmental United, Donovin Smith; Peterilizer, Haoyu “Peter” Chen; Stromberg Environmental Solutions, Matt Stromberg; Revolution Roe, Pengzheng Yong; Alga Power, Jing Wang; and eight venture finalists from the Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship UP/Start program: ORA the Brand, Elana Wallach; e-Sprouts, Ellis Edwards; Endless Dolls, Kendra Bray; Chimaera, Angela McQuillan; Darling City, Laura Akromas; Baldridge Studios, Natalie Bates & Addison Baldridge; Oopsduck, Gabriel Chez, Chloe Azcuy, Matthew Grand & Alex Rosales; and Nocrastination, Natasha Fray; at MICA on March 10, 2023 for an evening of innovation and art. Funded by the Ratcliffe Foundation, the programs, seemingly different from the outside, both focus on bringing creative entrepreneurial ideas to the world.

Taking place at the IMET in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the fellows were given the opportunity to present a three-minute pitch to one another, selling solutions to creative problems in the marine and environmental technology industry or the creative arts sector. IMET Executive Director Russell T. Hill attended the Pitch & Mix, remarking, “This annual event, held in-person again in 2023, provides a great opportunity for our IMET graduate student scientist/entrepreneurs to meet and exchange ideas with the outstanding arts students from MICA, to everyone’s benefit.”

From the REEF program we learned about solutions to agricultural waste, clean water and fish harvesting. UP/Start fellows pitched on creative marketing solutions, accessible music lessons, multifunctional fashion and bioart. The UP/Start fellows practiced timing and flow for the program's finale on April 11 at MICA’s Brown Center where each venture will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win up to $105,000 in seed funding.

In addition to the programs pitching to each other, Carlene Cassidy, CEO of the Ratcliffe Foundation, also attended the Pitch & Mix and provided valuable feedback to each fellow in preparation for their final pitches in April. Carlene Cassidy remarked, “Friday evening’s event was a wonderful opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs from two world renowned Baltimore-based academic institutions to get together. Bringing together the best from the arts and sciences to practice their pitches, share their insights and form synergistic business relationships. Over the course of three short hours, we witnessed personal growth in confidence with public speaking, networking and business. It was also great to see students learn from one another and refine their new venture plans. Congratulations to program leaders Stacy Stube - Interim Director, Creative Entrepreneurship and Nina Lamba, Assistant Director - IMET and Program Director - Ratcliffe Environmental Entrepreneurship Program, for bringing these groups together and for setting them up for success!”

The Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology hosts its annual Open House, where scientists share their research with the public, on Saturday May 6th from 1-4 p.m. Find more information and register here.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls over 3,000 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.

About Phillip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation: Phil and Carole Ratcliffe created the foundation in 2003 with a vision to provide access to education & training for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners
to grow their ventures, create jobs, and expand economic opportunities in local communities.

The Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) is a joint University System of Maryland research institute capitalizing on the strengths of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Maryland Baltimore. IMET utilizes the research, training and technology transfer capabilities of these partner institutes to further its mission.