A businesswoman's vision for an entrepreneur ecosystem thrives in Maryland

05/25/2020| Soo Koo

A businesswoman's vision for an entrepreneur ecosystem thrives in Maryland

05/25/2020 | Soo Koo

Guest feature: Soo Koo is the communications director for the Governor's Office of Community Initiatives. Follow along with GOCI on Facebook and Twitter.

Stephany Yu, an entrepreneur and co-founder of Sunwater Capital, has developed more than 40 million square feet of residential, commercial, and retail property in the United States and China. So, when she came to North Bethesda, Maryland, she did it again but on a larger scale—creating a 103,000-square-foot innovation center.

After arriving in Maryland during the real estate downturn, she envisioned a business and innovation hub within the warehouse district in North Bethesda, taking cues from Montgomery County’s Twinbrook Sector Plan.

“My husband and I were looking for creative spaces for Sunwater Capital's business, and we thought the North Bethesda Warehouse District had great potential for something exciting,” said Yu. “I was confident that our team could do something special for innovators, especially with Maryland’s reputation as supporting entrepreneurship."

The team at Sunwater Capital ultimately transformed three warehouses built in the early 1960s into a creative, environment-friendly, and LEED Gold-certified center with a rooftop vegetable garden.

The Greencourt Innovation Center has served as a catalyst for revitalizing the neighborhood, but more importantly, the center boosted economic opportunities in Maryland by incubating, integrating, and involving new entrepreneurs and businesses with great potential based on technology and innovation.

Today, the Greencourt Innovation Center is a hub for a sustainable ecosystem or innovative growth companies in Maryland including Viinet, which offers online wealth management services; Yuan Media, a bilingual digital media firm covering local and national news and introducing community and business leaders; Sunwater Capital, a private equity fund focused on supporting entrepreneurs; and 1776, an incubator and accelerator assisting innovators to translate new ideas into products, services, and ventures.

“Powering entrepreneurs shapes our future and changes Maryland for the better,” said Yu. “The Greencourt Innovation Center will remain a hub for both their start and expansion. We are thrilled to be here.”

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