Archives For January 2011

Maryland Business and Economic Development Secretary Johansson explains Governor O’Malley’s Maryland Made Easy plan to simplify regulations for businesses.

by Christine Hansen for MDBizMedia

Governor O'Malley outlines Maryland Made Easy plan to simplify regulations for businesses in the State.

Taking the recommendations from the forum he held last month with business leaders across the State on Jobs and the Economy, Governor O’Malley today launched, Maryland Made Easy, an initiative that streamlines the application process for licenses and permits and simplifies regulations so that businesses can grow and create jobs.


The Governor today also announced the members of the Maryland Small Business Commission, and announced Ackneil Muldrow, II, CEO of Parker Muldrow & Associates, LLC as Chair of the Commission. Muldrow was the Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Small Business and helped build the framework for the Governor’s Maryland Made Easy initiative.


“Our focus is to come up with ideas and mechanisms and suggestions of how we can grow small businesses in Maryland. They are a critical part of our economy,” Muldrow said. “We want to go out and meet with small businesses in various communities throughout the State so we can formulate a plan on how we can address the needs for the growth of small businesses.”

The Commission’s first meeting was held today after the Governor’s announcement which was held in the DAP headquarters located in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore.

Jay Steinmetz, CEO and founder of Barcoding, Inc., a Baltimore-based technology company was also named to the Commission. Steinmets attended the Governor’s Forum on Jobs and the Economy in December and made the suggestion that the State centralize its license and permit system for businesses.

“The Small Business Commission’s charter is to identify the constraints on small businesses and the problems and concerns small businesses have – and to relay that to the government so that we can be effective as a State in producing jobs that stay in the State,” Steinmetz said. “I am looking forward to supporting the Commission so that we can eventually balance our budgets and balance our trade.”

The Commission is tasked with identifying other permitting, licensing and regulatory areas for review and is expected to submit a report to the Governor by the end of 2011.

by Christine Hansen for MDBizMedia

Often times, an idea is born when something hits too close to home, particularly in the case of the Baltimore-based biopharmaceutical company, Gliknik. Founded by David S. Block, and Steve E. Strome, M.D., Gliknik and its mission to develop therapies to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases, came to fruition because a family member of Strome was diagnosed with an inflammatory nerve disorder – Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, or CIDP – with few treatment options.

Both Strome and Block, armed with medical backgrounds, weren’t satisfied with the treatment options available. “We both thought there had to be an easier way,” Block said. “We were the two on the sidelines of sporting events and plays talking about drug discovery and drug development. And we eventually decided to start the company, really based on an idea that came from a whiteboard.”

That idea, the now patented immunomodulator platform, is a cancer vaccine that modulates the immune system, turning a cancer patient’s immune system against his or her tumor. With the idea in hand and financial backing, in March 2007, Gliknik was born.

In just three short years, the company has been able to take advantage of a number of State tax credits, including the Biotech Tax credit, and has received a number of grants and awards. Earlier this month, Gliknik announced that it raised $3.5 million in equity financing. Last year, the company was a recipient of a $200,000 Translational Research Award from DBED and partnered with the University of Maryland Medical Center to support development of a drug that aids in heart transplants. The drug was successfully tested in mice and is currently being tested on primates.

Block, the company’s President, CEO and spokesperson, says the company’s philosophy is to work toward the positive outcome – helping patients and creating new medical treatments to help patients. The company has already begun work on additional therapies.

He believes that without the help of incentives and programs, like the Biotech Tax Credit, companies like Gliknik wouldn’t survive.

“We wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the Biotech Tax Credit,” he said. “It means that money from outside of Maryland is putting good high paying jobs here in the State of Maryland. It’s a brilliantly designed program.”

And Block says he is interested in learning more about Governor O’Malley’s InvestMaryland venture capital legislative proposal and plans to attend InvestMaryland day in Annapolis on Thursday.

“We have to make sure there is a good balance between lower-risk, shorter timeline, high-technology companies and the higher-risk, more expensive, longer timeline biotech companies,” Block said. “It’s also important that the money be spent where investors are not already willing to put capital in – which means that the State or its entities that receive money from the State really have to be willing to lead in investments where venture capitalists are not yet ready to make an investment.”

Watch DBED Secretary Christian Johansson kick off the InvestMaryland initiative.


by Christine Hansen for MDBizMedia

Austin "Joe" Slater, Chairman of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and President & CEO of SMECO delivers opening remarks at Business Day in Annapolis.

Business leaders convened at the Governor Calvert House Annapolis today for the MD Chamber of Commerce’s Business Day.  The morning event included remarks from Chairman Austin “Joe” Slater, Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Senate Minority Whip Senator E. J. Pipkin, Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch and House Minority Leader Delegate Anthony J. O’Donnell.   Budget, transportation, taxes and education issues were major topics discussed.


“We want to create and retain more jobs in Maryland.  We are a great place to work, live and do business,” Chairman Slater said.  “But Maryland’s business taxes are far less competitive than our neighbors to the north and south.  We urge legislators to seek a competitive tax structure.”

Slater referred to the Chamber’s recent tax study, and asked legislators to keep Maryland competitive in comparison to its neighboring states, particularly in the financial services, biotech manufacturing professional services industries.  Slater also outlined the Chamber’s legislative priorities for the 2011 session, which includes:

  • Enhancing the business climate and encouraging job growth
  • Seeking a competitive tax structure
  • Promoting affordable health insurance
  • Funding the State’s transportation system
  • Protecting fair civil liability laws
  • Growing the economy while protecting the environment; and
  • Supporting education funding.

Slater urged legislators not to use the Transportation Trust Fund for general fund purposes and said the Chamber would support additional taxes to support transportation projects if the Fund was lock boxed.

Delegate O’Donnell echoed Slater’s remarks about Maryland’s assets: “We have a lot going for us. We have the best higher education system in the world, the best hospitals, the best resources – from our mountains to our beaches- and a very good K-12 education system.  But why aren’t we the best business state in the system?  We are in the middle of the pack – why aren’t we striving to be number one in the business arena?  Why isn’t Northrup Grumman asking us permission to be here?”

Senate President Miller remarked that this year’s legislative priorities are jobs and balancing the budget, and pushed the passage of a gas tax to fatten the Transportation Trust Fund.

“We need to find a way to get that done,” Miller said.  “These are difficult times.  We are not near the highest or the lowest of gas taxes in the nation – we need to find a way to increase the Transportation Trust Fund so we can put people back to work.  There is never a good time to do it.  But this is not a Republican or a Democrat issue – this is a people issue.  We need to get members on both sides to agree on this.”

All legislators except Delegate O’Donnell agreed that Governor O’Malley’s budget proposal was fair.  Speaker of the House Busch praised the Governor’s budget proposal, and particularly the Governor’s plan to end furloughs for State employees.

“I thought the Governor’s budget was going to be starker than it actually is – I thought more would be cut from education,” he said.  “State employees have not had a raise in four years – with furloughs three years in a row.  We have dedicated employees.  We cannot put the pressure on our state workforce.”