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One-on-one with Entrepreneur of the Year, Ali von Paris

From dorm room to household name, how the founder of Maryland’s trendiest brand became the state’s top entrepreneur. In this lively discussion, Ali von Paris reveals what it was like to start a T-shirt business while trying to save her favorite college bar to become founder and CEO of what is now known as Route One Apparel with its signature bold styles that are as iconic as the Maryland state flag. Learn how she overcame some of the toughest challenges all founders must endure and the pivotal moment when she started to think big and become one of the fastest growing businesses in the state.

Speaker: Ali von Paris, CEO & Founder, Route One Apparel

Moderator: Joanna Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Baltimore Business Journal

11:00 – 11:25 am

Ali von Paris

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Joanna Sullivan (moderator)

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Getting your first customers: A four-step process to revenue and traction

As a startup founder, you've got plenty of responsibilities and obligations. But if you want to build a thriving business, customer acquisition and sustainable revenue need to be a priority. In this session, fellow startup founder and sales coach Brendan McAdams is going to demystify the customer acquisition process and break down the four critical key steps (Mindset, Alignment, Process, and Scaling) that are fundamental to effective, actionable sales execution.

Speaker: Brendan McAdams, Founder, Kiinetics; Co-founder of; and Program Director of Accelerate Baltimore

11:35 – Noon

Lessons Learned from Start-Up to Scale-Up

Join this lively panel discussion as 3 graduates from the CCBC Center for Business Innovation Elite 10 Accelerator program share valuable lessons learned as they grew their businesses during the most difficult market conditions in decades. Key takeaways include:

  1. Learn how to follow the money and target profitable customers who align with your business and mission. 

  2. Discover how to adapt and pivot, even during the most unpredictable times, and never lose sight of your vision.

  3. Find out why it’s never too soon to develop an exit strategy – and why it is so critical in the start-up stage.


Frank van Vliet (moderator), Founder, Sales Brewers, LLC and CCBC Elite 10 Accelerator Coach

Nichelle Roane & Todd Sheridan, Founders, Treehouse Juicery

Takia Ross, Founder, Accessmatized

Tasha Lee, Founder, Tasha Flowers

2:00 – 2:25 pm


Frank van Vliet (moderator)

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Nichelle Roane & Todd Sheridan