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Ben Wu resizedBenjamin H. Wu has been named the new Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Governor Larry Hogan and DBED Secretary Mike Gill announced today.

A former DBED employee, Wu is among the first Cabinet deputies to be named to the Hogan administration. He will act as Chief Operating Officer, responsible for overseeing the Department’s charge of attracting companies to the State, as well as working with in-state companies to help them expand and add jobs, while connecting them to partners and resources. Continue Reading…

The latest Maryland business news:

Gov. Martin O’Malley presented on Tuesday $765,000 in matching grants to fourteen Maryland nonprofit and government entities in support of fifteen War of 1812 bicentennial projects.

“The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake and the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner are important chapters in our history as a state and as a nation,” said Gov. O’Malley. “I want to thank the grant recipient organizations for their commitment to telling this story and using these funds to invest in community revitalization, tourism development and job growth in Maryland.”

Star-Spangled 200 grantees celebrate Maryland Day at the State House.

Governor O’Malley and Star-Spangled 200 grantees celebrate Maryland Day at the State House.

The grants, supplemented by more than $2.5 million in matching funds, will support capital improvement, visitor experience, programming and education projects that expand economic development and tourism-related job creation throughout the State.

“From the kick off to this year’s Chesapeake Campaign in St. Mary’s County to the Bicentennial Living American Flag with 6,700 school children at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, these grants will bring the bicentennial to life in 2014,” said Bill Pencek, executive director, Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

Continue Reading…

BALTIMORE, MD (March 25, 2014) – The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) announced today that 12 startup companies have advanced to the final round of the InvestMaryland Challenge, the State’s national business competition. The finalists are competing for $100,000 top prizes in four categories — Information Technology, Life Sciences, General Industry, and, new this year, Cybersecurity. All companies who entered the Challenge are eligible for more than $300,000 in other prizes, including grants, software and lab and incubator space. The winners will be announced in May.

“Congratulations to the finalists and all the companies that advanced in the InvestMaryland Challenge. To stand out from the field of 260 applicants is an achievement in itself and a testament to the strength of the companies competing for the top prizes,” said Dominick Murray, DBED Secretary. “For two years in a row, Maryland has been named the #1 state in the country for innovation and entrepreneurship and companies like those competing in this Challenge are the reason why. They are the future leaders of Maryland’s Innovation Economy and we are proud to support them as they grow and create jobs.”

Now in its second year, the InvestMaryland Challenge drew 260 applicants, including 29 companies from 11 other states and Washington D.C. The field was narrowed over two rounds of judging by more than 80 investors, successful entrepreneurs, business executives and other members of the Maryland startup community. In early March, panels of judges interviewed 41 semifinalists — 14 in IT, 10 in Life Sciences, 11 in General Industry and six in Cybersecurity — and selected the 12 finalists from that pool. IT, Life Sciences and Cybersecurity were open to only Maryland companies. The General category was open to out-of-state companies as well as Maryland companies.

IT Finalists: Continue Reading…

The latest Maryland business news:

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), through the Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), has invested $75,000 in CoFoundersLab, a Rockville startup that provides an online matchmaking service for entrepreneurs. The MVF investment was made with funds raised byInvestMarylandone of Governor Martin O’Malley’s key economic development initiatives. A public-private partnership between the State and venture capital firms,InvestMaryland raised $84 million to reinvigorate the State-run MVF and support the growth of young Maryland companies in biotechnology, cybersecurity, e-commerce and other high-growth industries.

“CoFoundersLab is an innovative, exciting young company and a valuable resource for their fellow entrepreneurs. Having a strong team in place is often the most important ingredient in a startup’s success,” said Dominick Murray, DBED Secretary. “Entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses are the engine that drives Maryland’s economy and keeps our State competitive. We are proud to make this investment in CoFoundersLab and look forward to their success, and the success of the companies they touch.”

“We’re delighted to gain the support of the Maryland Venture Fund to help CoFoundersLab achieve its ambitious plans for growth. InvestMaryland has proven to be one of the most progressive state programs to help foster startups activity, the engine for job creation,” said Shahab Kaviani, Cofounder and CEO of CoFoundersLab. “With this investment we’ll continue to improve our matching algorithm and launch events in more cities so the best founding teams can unite to launch new business and create jobs for Maryland and beyond.”

CoFoundersLab is the world’s largest online community of entrepreneurs and helps them discover and connect with more than 25,000 cofounders, advisers, and interns to launch and grow new businesses. Members make connections through an online matching site at and through in-person matchup events hosted in more than 35 cities across the globe. Its success stories include ReelGenie, an online service based in Silver Spring that creates videos from a customer’s videos and photos. ReelGenie received a $150,000 investment from the MVF in July 2013. CoFoundersLab has also provided Premium Memberships to all 41 companies that advanced to the second round of the InvestMaryland Challenge, Maryland’s national business competition.

Created by Governor O’Malley and passed by the General Assembly in 2011, InvestMaryland is the largest venture capital investment initiative in Maryland’s history. In March 2012, the State raised $84 million for the program through an online auction of tax credits to Maryland insurance companies. Two-thirds of the funding – $56 million – is being managed by carefully screened private venture firms that will invest the funds and, if successful, return 100% of the principal and 80% of the profits to the State’s general fund. The remaining third of the InvestMaryland capital is largely allocated to direct investments by the state-run Maryland Venture Fund.

The Maryland Venture Fund is a regionally recognized leader in seed and early-stage investing and a national model for state-supported investment programs. With nearly two decades of experience and numerous successful investments, MVF invests in highly innovative technology companies across the full range of industry sectors including software, communications, cybersecurity and life sciences companies in the areas of healthcare IT, medical devices and diagnostics.

A new Amazon facility is expected to bring a major economic boost to Baltimore and the surrounding area. By the end of 2015, the Internet retailer plans to build a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in place of a former General Motors plant in Southeast Baltimore. The facility will create more than 1,000 full-time jobs.

“[Workers] can make up to 30 percent more than they might make in a retail job, together with comprehensive health benefits, a tuition-assistance program, 401(k), company stock options—these are good paying jobs that more than 1,000 people will be able to take advantage of,” said Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray.

Murray praised the inter-agency effort that led to Amazon’s business decision, which included coordination with the Maryland Port Administration, the Maryland Transit Administration, the Comptroller of Maryland, other agencies and the Baltimore Development Corporation.

The effort to build a relationship with Amazon and compete for the new fulfillment center was led by Jerry Sanford, director of business recruitment and location services within Maryland DBED, Murray said.

Over the course of about a year, Maryland competed against about a half-dozen other states for the facility, according to Sanford.

“It’s going to have a significant economic impact, beyond the direct jobs. You have to look at the transportation and infrastructure that’s necessary, FedEx and UPS shipping in and out of the facility [and] all of the services that need to be provided directly to Amazon,” he said.

Among the deciding factors for the new location were One Maryland tax credits, valued at up to $5.5 million, available for development projects in qualified economically disadvantaged areas. Total available tax credits could exceed $43 million, spread across multiple tax cycles. Amazon’s initial investment in the facility is expected to exceed $212 million.

Mark Vulcan, director of tax services within Maryland DBED, who assisted in coordinating tax credits for the planned development, called the project a “win-win.”

“We’ll have the jobs, we’ll have the facility. The people will spend money here, they’ll live here, the community will benefit, the state will benefit, it will benefit everybody in the state of Maryland. This is a win-win, and but for the incentives, it would not have occurred,” Vulcan said.

Career opportunities, as well as photos and video showing how a fulfillment center functions are available online.

Job opportunities for Maryland workers are also posted on the Maryland Workforce Exchange website.

Are you a company looking to do business with Amazon?  Register your business on Amazon’s supplier database.

Photo of Amazon Fulfillment

The new Baltimore facility will be patterned off others across the United States. Photo credit Amazon

Maryland added 6,200 private sector jobs in June, and 4,300 total to continue the state’s streak of strong job creation in 2013, according to figures released Thursday afternoon by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Over the last 12 months, Maryland has added 42,800 jobs, a 1.7 percent increase. Since the bottom of the recession, Maryland added back 99.4 percent of the jobs lost to the downturn.

“Last month, Maryland’s businesses created 6,200 new jobs. Together, as a state, we’ve now recovered more than 99 percent of the jobs lost in the national economic downturn — a significant step forward in our job creation and recovery efforts,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a written statement. “Thanks to the better choices we’ve made together, all three bond rating agencies recently affirmed Maryland’s fiscally responsible approach by certifying our State as one of only nine with a Triple A bond rating. But there are still too many moms and dads out of work, and that’s why the most important job we create is the next one. The O’Malley-Brown Administration is committed to investing in the skills, talents, innovation and creativity of our people so that we can continue to strengthen and grow our State’s economy, and move forward by expanding opportunity for our diverse and growing middle class.”

The leisure and hospitality sector added 3,200 jobs and education, health care and social assistance added 1,800 to lead the private sector growth. Other sectors posted smaller gains or declined. Government employment declined by 1,900 in June.

Labor officials also revised higher the preliminary estimate of Maryland’s job growth in May, leaving the state with an increase of 6,500 jobs that month rather than the 4,600 originally reported.

Baltimore-based Light Point Security is competing in the InvestMaryland Challenge.

Baltimore-based Light Point Security is competing in the InvestMaryland Challenge.

Light Point Security, a Baltimore cybersecurity company, was tapped Monday for the Wall Street Journal’s first “Startup of the Year” competition that pits 24 young companies from across the country against one another in series of tasks and challenges.

Light Point and its fellow competitors will be assessed “on the basis of their firms’ scalability, long-term viability, originality and distinctiveness of their products and services, utility, and ability to perform tasks we and our mentors set for them,” according to newspaper. (More on the contest here.)

Startups will be pared from the pool over 20 weeks until one is named “Startup of the Year.” Sir Richard Branson, of the Virgin Group, AOL cofounder Steve Case and other big-name entrepreneurs will serve as mentors throughout the competition.

“We are honored that Light Point Security’s innovative technology earned the attention of The Wall Street Journal,” Beau Adkins, cofounder and CEO of Light Point, said in a statement. “Our unique approach to protecting companies from web-based malware has already been embraced by the security industry, and it is encouraging to see that it is also gaining recognition among the mainstream media. We congratulate the 23 other startups selected for this prestigious honor, and look forward to engaging with them and the amazing mentors.”

Light Point uses virtualization and cloud computing technologies to protect its clients from malware. Its product, according to the company, creates “virtual computers” within each employee’s machine to handle web browsing. After use, the “virtual computers” are destroyed, meaning no malware ever reaches the actual computer.

goveventELKRIDGE, MD  - Governor Martin O’Malley today urged action in Washington to avoid federal sequestration – a series of automatic cuts that threaten job creation and reduce vital services for families and children in Maryland and across the nation.

The Governor visited FLIR Systems, a thermal imaging and threat detection systems manufacturer that employs middle-skill workers – a critical sector of Maryland’s economy. FLIR has made a commitment to grow its business in Maryland, but with looming sequester cuts, the expansion remains uncertain.

“These are job-killing cuts that are an economic threat to Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “Too many moms and dads in our State will lose jobs, too many children will lose access to programs like Head Start, and too many of our most vulnerable Marylanders will lose assistance from the safety net we’ve worked so hard to protect. If Congress cannot come together with a balanced approach to avoid these automatic cuts, we will reverse much of the progress we’ve made in Maryland creating jobs and expanding opportunity for more families.”

The full announcement from Gov. O’Malley about sequestration and Maryland can be found here.

UPDATE: Maryland Democrats to hold Twitter Town Hall on sequester Thursday afternoon.


Photo by Brent D. Payne, flickr/cc

Photo by Brent D. Payne, flickr/cc

Maryland’s largest daily newspaper could soon be sold, along with its publishing siblings The Los Angeles TImes and Chicago Tribune, according to a published reports.

According to a wire report on The Sun’s website:

The company has retained JPMorgan Chase & Co. to oversee a potential sale of the division that includes the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, according to the person. Evercore Partners, a boutique investment bank, reportedly also has been hired.

There has been widespread speculation that Tribune would attempt to unload the newspaper business to focus on its more promising television operations. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is among the possible bidders for the newspaper assets.

Read more here.

Lockheed Martin's 100th Anniversary. by Jay Baker at Middle River, MD.

Lockheed Martin’s 100th Anniversary. by Jay Baker at Middle River, MD.

Lockheed Martin announced today that it will be relocating approximately 70 jobs from its Johnstown, Pennsylvania Global Supply Chain Services (GSCS) facility to its Middle River, MD site.

The company says that transition of the work to Middle River will begin immediately and will continue over the next several months. Employees in Johnstown were notified of the decision today. In a statement, Lockheed Martin said “We are working toward making positions available to qualified Johnstown GSCS employees willing to relocate to Middle River. Additional roles will be filled locally as needed.”

The Middle River location — home of the original Glenn L. Martin Company and developed in 1929 — currently employs 420. Throughout Maryland, Lockheed Martin has 7,539 active employees and nearly 5,000 retirees. In addition to Middle River, other Lockheed Martin locations in Maryland are Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt, Hanover, Patuxent River, Rockville and Seabrook.

A company spokesperson said that the move to Maryland, which was prompted by an expiring lease in Johnstown, will save the business $1.6 million annually.


According to a tweet from Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Lockheed Martin in Middle River, Maryland will soon be adding 70 new jobs.