Hundreds Celebrate FastForward 1812’s Promise to Support Innovation
On April 26, hundreds of people came to East Baltimore for the grand opening of FastForward 1812. The event, billed as a celebration of a new physical space to support innovation, was just as much a celebration of the innovation hub’s promise to impact the future of Johns Hopkins, the city of Baltimore and people around the world by helping bring life-changing technologies to market.
“[This space is] a physical manifestation of our commitment to bringing together the necessary ingredients of innovation,” Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels said during the celebration’s opening remarks.
Daniels added that FastForward, a coordinated suite of resources designed to efficiently move technologies from startup to marketplace, acts as “a launching pad for entrepreneurs from not only Hopkins but also, in fact, from across Baltimore.”
In addition to 8,000 square feet of office, co-working and meeting space, FastForward 1812 features 15,000 square feet of dedicated and shared wet lab space, a much-needed startup resource in Baltimore. But the specs of the innovation hub don’t tell a complete story.
“We’re providing more than physical space,” said the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Executive Vice President Dr. Landon King at the grand opening. “We’re providing a network of mentors and other resources to move ideas forward.”
The myriad resources FastForward 1812 provides—including its affordable space, mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders, legal and accounting support, funding opportunities and access to Johns Hopkins’ core facilities—are designed to help startups reach their potential, set roots in Baltimore and, eventually, help establish the city as a leading space for innovation.
For too long, Baltimore lacked the resources startups needed to develop into successful businesses. This lack of support forced them to move their promising businesses to more fertile innovation ecosystems. Now Baltimore has a number of accelerators located around the city, including three FastForward innovation hubs.
Like the leaders at Johns Hopkins, Pugh foresees a future where the startups supported within FastForward will move into their own offices and become a part of Baltimore’s economy.
“These kinds of tech and biotech companies will create new jobs and help bring manufacturing back to Baltimore,” Pugh said. “They will start here, grow here and be part of the city’s economy.”
“When you think about the innovation and the technology and the biotech companies that can grow right here … it doesn’t get much better than that,” she said before officially opening the innovation hub by lighting a sign with the words “Start Here.”