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Big Business At Bowie State University

Big Business At Bowie State University

New Residential, Commercial And Educational Living-Learning Center To Invigorate Local Economy And Prep Future Biz Owners

By Raoul Dennis // @suitemagazine

Bowie State University held a ceremonial groundbreaking Oct. 10 on a $42 million, 166,000-square-foot, six-story Living-Learning Building that will house 550 students, host an entrepreneurial training center and provide retail space for business.

The ceremony was attended by local and state education leaders, business leaders and elected officials as well as students and administrators at BSU. Leaders at the event revealed the impact planned for the center. Click here to read “Bringing Work Home.”

Construction will formally begin in February 2020 and is expected to be completed in 2021.

The project will be substantially funded with tax-exempt bonds through the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO).

Speakers at the ceremony shared the value that the center will bring.

Tom Sadowski, Vice Chancellor for Economic Development for the University System of Maryland (USM)

“The university system has over 175,000 students enrolled, 12 different campuses and three regional centers. Every year, the university system is responsible for the creation of more than 100 new startups. USM recently launched its own venture fund.

At the university system, we place very high priority on entrepreneurship and new venture development. It takes the right mix to make it work. There couldn’t be a better place to make it happen [other than BSU] and we are going to be with you every step of the way through construction, through the tenancy, welcoming and helping students as they begin to create ideas and create new businesses and new jobs.”


Johnetta Hardy, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Academy

“We are creating innovative thinkers---problem solvers for today’s and tomorrow’s workforce.  We want every student that graduates from BSU to do so with an entrepreneurial mindset. This will help make that happen.

This project will generate revenue for the community and economic development. The Living-Learning Center will enable BSU to become an eligible site for a $500,000 grant. There are only four HBCUs that are considered [eligible] sites and BSU will be the fifth.”


Lisa Smith, Bowie Business Innovation Center

Bowie BIC is a public private partnership. We have worked with 2,800 entrepreneurs who’ve come here to BSU to get the counseling and mentoring that we provide. They in turn have generated 435 jobs and $20 million in revenues. But the 2,500 hours of paid student internships is especially important. All of this impact has been driven by partnerships and will be driven by partnerships in the future. They are providing the future pipeline for Bowie BIC. The new center will be a part of our future.


Maryland Senator Douglas J.J. Peters, District 23 (Prince George’s County)

“This entrepreneurial [school center] will be the front porch of Bowie State University. I have been an entrepreneur all my life. I have started a couple of businesses but you cannot steal second if your foot is stuck on first base: you gotta take a risk. And by the way, I think it’s time to revisit the idea of a law school at Bowie State University. So we’re gonna do that this session.
  We need to take advantage of the MARC train. That train has huge amounts of funding around it. It stops here and we are looking to build a parking garage and other things that will bring people here to BSU. The race to excellence is on.”


Robert Brennan, Executive Director, Maryland Economic Development Commission (MEDCO)

We are involved with university system and we are pleased to be asked by Dr. Beaux to participate in the construction for this new facility. People ask ‘what pulls it all together when it comes to economic development?’ You need to have businesses, you need to have an infrastructure and most importantly, you need to have a well trained work force. We want to help develop a world class work force to be able to address not only today’s needs but the future needs of businesses that are here and those that are moving our community. In that way, we are pleased to be part of this project.


Ray Gilly, Prince George’s County Deputy Chief Administrative Office

On behalf of County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, we thank you for welcoming us to be part of this amazing project. This public private project will be an engine of innovation in Prince George’s County combining three concepts: residential facility, retail space and entrepreneurship. The center is no minor undertaking but as always, BSU rises to the occasion.

We are very impressed by the partnership this center will have with Startup Maryland that will create exposure and networking opportunities for the university. County Executive Alsobrooks views this innovative project as one of the many ways we can expand educational opportunities for our students, empower them to realize their entrepreneurial dreams and create a pipeline of talent to some of the greatest local and national employers.


More Details:

·         166,000-square-foot, six-story building

·         $42 million building project – substantially funded with tax-exempt bonds through the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO)

·         Balfour Beatty Construction, the lead contractor for the project

o   Smoot Construction, a minority-owned general contractor

o   Design Collective, Inc., a national, award-winning design firm

·         Construction is slated to begin in February 2020, with completion planned by July 2021.

·         The building will:

o   house more than 500 student

o   become the new home of the BSU Entrepreneurship Academy and the Bowie Business Innovation Center (Bowie BIC), the first business accelerator located at a Maryland historically black university

o   provide retail space that will be open to the public

o   include space for Bowie State student businesses and a student makerspace, as well as technology-infused classrooms and meeting rooms


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