Category: Student Ventures

Meet the Entrepreneur

Meet the Entrepreneur: Victoria Roberts

Meet the Entrepreneur: Victoria Roberts


Victoria Roberts and The Growing Minds Initiative are a part of the Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab’s 2017–18 Cohort. Below, The Johns Hopkins University Kreiger School of Arts & Sciences senior talks about The Growing Minds Initiative, finding support and exploring Baltimore.

In 5 words, what does your company do?
Provide education to children in Tanzania.

What are your goals and how will you get there?
Our venture aims to provide sustainable access to education for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children by creating community farms for caretakers to work on, selling the produce to pay for school fees. We have built 2 poultry farms and currently have 13 caretakers and 56 children enrolled. We hope to expand our farms later this month, allowing us to sell more chickens and more eggs. This increase in profit will allow us to enroll more families, and we hope to be sustainable by the end of this year.

Why have you chosen Baltimore as your startup’s home?
Attending Hopkins, I learned that Baltimore offers a wealth of opportunities for success- from the Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab (the mentors, the advisors, bootcamps, contacts, and resources) to work spaces such as Impact Hub, Baltimore has many resources for helping grow social impact ventures- even ventures overseas like mine!

What opportunities make it a good place for growing a business?
Working in the same space as other like-minded people, having connections and resources to a huge social impact network, and many opportunities for growth.

In terms of startups and innovation, what’s one (positive) thing that separates Baltimore from other tech hotbeds?
I personally don’t have any experience in other tech hotbeds, but the network of support that is fostered here in Baltimore seems pretty hard to match. Co-work spaces, impact cohorts, mentors, and the other like-minded people working in the same city all contribute to an overwhelming amount of support, not only for the venture, but for you personally.

If you could give your past self one piece of advice for creating a startup, what would it be?
Remember to take time for yourself! Life gets extremely busy when creating a startup and it’s important to take a step back and make sure you’re prioritizing your health and your wellbeing.

What book are you currently reading?
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee

What innovator do you look up to? Why?
Our director, Alex Riehm, and all of my cohort members in the Social Innovation Lab cohort- they have given me so much advice, support, guidance, and feedback throughout this process, and I don’t know where I would be personally or venture-wise without all of their help.

It’s after a long day of work, and you don’t feel like cooking. What is your go-to Baltimore restaurant?
Papi’s Tacos in Fells Point

What’s your favorite non-work-related thing to do in Baltimore?
Explore restaurants and cafes, finding different study spots in different neighborhoods- it’s nice to take a break from the library!


Good News: July 2018

Good News: July 2018

Startup News

  • Gemstone Biotherapeutics Awarded Grant from National Science Foundation
    The Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins spinout committed to developing technologies for skin regeneration was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant by America’s Seed Fund. The program, powered by the National Science Foundation, provides seed money to the most promising science and technology startups across the country.
  • Perceptive Navigation awarded $3M in federal funding
    The Johns Hopkins spinout was awarded the National Institutes of Health Phase IIB Small Business Innovation Research grant to commercialize its ultrasound system that provides medical imaging from within the body. The company will work to further develop the product and conduct studies as it works toward regulatory approval to market its device.
  • Clear Guide Medical gets $2M grant to develop tools for pediatrics
    The Johns Hopkins spinout has received a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to apply its imaging tools to pediatrics. The company’s SCENERGY device is offered as an accessory to ultrasound systems, and helps provide imaging and guidance of a needle during medical procedures like biopsies, epidurals and tissue removal.
  • Maryland companies raised $247M in venture funding during the second quarter of 2018
    Investors have pumped $247 million in venture capital funding into Maryland companies in the second quarter of 2018, including Johns Hopkins startups LifeSprout and WindMIL.
  • Social Innovation Lab alumni named as The Daily Record’s Very Important Professionals
    The newspaper’s annual VIP List honors professionals 40 years of age and younger who have been successful in Maryland. This year’s list featured Shantell L. Roberts, of Touching Young Lives, Incorporated, and Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, of Medicine for the Greater Good.
  • Hopkins licensee Allakos Inc. announces pricing of its IPO
    The clinical stage biotechnology company announced the pricing of its initial public offering of more than 7.1 million shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $18 per share. Allakos has raised more than $140M in venture funding to advance a pipeline of drug treatment candidates for various gastrointestinal diseases.


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