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Business owners aren’t the only ones gearing up for the 2015 InvestMaryland Challenge. Judges are also hard at work preparing to evaluate and mentor early-stage companies competing for more than $600,000 in prizes.

In advance of the Challenge’s Dec. 12 application deadline, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) hosted a Judges Forum. Judges include an array of investors, successful serial entrepreneurs, executives, consultants and other members of Maryland’s startup community. DBED praised the group for volunteering their time and provided training.

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How would an extra $100,000 change the way you do business? You could find out by applying to the 2015 InvestMaryland Challenge. But keep in mind—applications are due by Dec. 12, 2014.

Now in its third year, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development‘s (DBED) InvestMaryland Challenge seeks to showcase and grow the State’s thriving start-up community. Winning companies in four categories—Information Technology, Defense and Security, Life Sciences, and Sustainability and Exploration—will each receive $100,000 grants.

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Wherever you operate a business in Maryland, a dedicated regional business development representative is available to assist.

This team of eight hardworking women and men at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) supports job creation through business retention and expansion, and also make resource connections.

Representatives work closely with local economic development partners on business expansion and retention projects. They develop relationships with in-State businesses and provide one-on-one assistance on regulatory issues, financing, business development and workforce and connect them to state and federal resources.

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The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development’s (DBED) tax credit programs spur job creation and investment in infrastructure, support start-up and early stage companies and encourage research and development.

Mark Vulcan, Program Manager of DBED Tax Incentives, provides an overview of DBED’s tax credits in the above video.

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DBED Secretary Dominick Murray and HSA Executive Director Ida Haisma sign an MOU partnering the Netherlands and the State of Maryland.

DBED Secretary Dominick Murray and HSD Executive Director Ida Haisma sign an MOU partnering the Netherlands and the State of Maryland.

The 2014 CyberMaryland Conference is helping to forge relationships between cybersecurity leadership from around the world.

On Thursday, Europe’s largest security cluster signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), which hosts the conference.

The Hague Security Delta (HSD) of The Netherlands agreed to join Maryland in using science and technology to increase security and stimulate economic development. The three-year partnership will encourage trade, investment, research and development, and commercialization opportunities.

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Motionsoft’s management software provides solutions for the wellness industry. Photo courtesy of Motionsoft.

The Maryland Venture Fund (MVF) has invested $600,000 in Rockville-based Motionsoft, a leading provider of management software to gyms and fitness clubs.

The investment comes as part of a $10 million Series B investment round led by Route 66 Ventures and included Edison Ventures as a co-investor. The State of Maryland’s investment is part of a multifaceted effort led by Governor Martin O’Malley to stimulate growth and job creation among high-tech startup companies in Maryland.

“Today’s investment is part of our focus on innovation — we are committed to supporting our entrepreneurs, innovators, startup companies and small businesses like Motionsoft because, in addition to being the future leaders of our economy, they are creating the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Governor O’Malley.

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The InvestMaryland Challenge is back. In its third year, the State-sponsored competition will again award $100,000 prizes to Maryland’s top early-stage businesses, Governor Martin O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) Secretary Dominick Murray announced Wednesday.

The 2015 InvestMaryland Challenge will launch four new categories—Information Technology; Defense and Security; Life Sciences; and Sustainability and Exploration—making the contest more inclusive than ever. Grand prize category winners will each receive $100,000 grants. Applicants are also eligible to win other prizes, including cash grants, incubator space, marketing and legal services, and opportunities to pitch investors. All applicants will have opportunities to network with fellow entrepreneurs, judges, potential customers and partners.

Past winners have experienced rapid growth after completing the Challenge. Frederick-based Luminal, a grand prize winner in 2014, raised $10 million in additional investment and tripled the size of their staff. Likewise, North East-based i-Lighting, a grand prize winner in 2013, doubled the size of their facility, doubled their staff and launched several new product lines.

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Diversified Packaging Products, Inc. is based in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.

A veteran-owned company has received a helping hand from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) through a $20,000 interest-free loan, DBED Secretary Dominick Murray announced Monday.

The loan was awarded to Grasonville-based Diversified Packaging Products, Inc., an Eastern Shore wholesale distributor that supplies barware and beverage accessories. The Military Personnel and Veteran-Owned Small Business No-Interest Loan Program is administered by DBED in consultation with the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA).

The company plans to use the funds to help the company finance equipment upgrades, including a new server, information management system and desktop computers. These are important components of the company’s ongoing expansion, according to James McCrea, a former captain in the United States Air Force. He and Mary Ellen McCrea founded the Diversified Packaging Products nearly 30 years ago, selling their original beer and wine gift boxes throughout the United States and internationally. They have recently expanded their product line to include various barware supplies and customizable accessories for the beverage industry.

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luminallogoLuminal, a rising star in Maryland’s cybersecurity community, has earned a follow-on investment of nearly $451,000 from the Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), the equity investment arm of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED). The investment, made with InvestMaryland funds, is part of a $10 million funding round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA).

Luminal specializes in cyber defense related to securing cloud computing systems. The company is relatively new to the State. Earlier this year, it relocated from West Virginia and became eligible to participate in Maryland’s cybersecurity industry incentives. The MVF previously invested $600,000 in the company. Luminal later won a $100,000 grand prize in the InvestMaryland Challenge, a DBED-sponsored national business competition. It was also the first company to take advantage of Maryland’s Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit.

 

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Thanks to its unique collection of government agencies, research facilities and private companies, Maryland is home to a major defense technology market.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) plans to bring this community together for its Contract Connections: Defense Labs Tech Transfer Showcase, Sept. 15 at the BWI Marriott Hotel in Linthicum Heights.

The event is tailored toward scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and company representatives involved in cloud computing, network security, interoperability, biological defenses, infectious diseases and vaccines.

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National Golden Tissue began producing in Hagerstown in 2008.

National Golden Tissue began producing in Hagerstown in 2008.

National Golden Tissue (NGT)—a Hagerstown-based manufacturer of paper towels, napkins and bath and facial tissues—is planning major expansion and the creation of 100 new jobs. Spurring development is funding and assistance from State, federal and local resources.

“We are proud to be a manufacturer in the great state of Maryland,” said Gus Shahrooz, Chief Operating Officer for NGT. “We owe a large portion of our success to the support we have received over the years from Washington County, Hagerstown, and the State. The level of cooperation and support that these organizations have given NGT should be a testament for any manufacturer in the country looking to relocate.”

Governor Martin O’Malley and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), announced on Wednesday, support for NGT in the form of a Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) $1 million conditional grant to Washington County. The CDBG is overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Through the program, DBED and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development administer federal funds for community and economic development. Continue Reading…

Maryland Business PropertyDid you know that one of the State’s most comprehensive listings of available business properties is not only free of charge but easily accessible through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development’s website, ChooseMaryland.org? You don’t even have to register or log in to use the Maryland Business Properties section of the website. It’s one of many resources DBED provides for growing companies.

Let’s walk through how to use this service and some details you should keep in mind while searching:

  • The Business Properties page features approximately 2,500 available buildings and sites, including photos, addresses, square footage, proximity to airports and highways, an interactive map and contact information to speak with a DBED representative, a local economic development representative or property broker.  
  • The interactive map allows for in-depth search customization and categorization. Simply change the settings to search for a specific size, building feature or zoning. In addition, you can obtain detailed demographic information (population, household income, etc.) about any community in Maryland. The map also helps business owners take advantage of regional finance options and tax credits by showing Priority Funding Areas and One Maryland Jurisdictions.  
  • This service is best suited for medium to larger sized businesses, as the directory primarily includes properties of at least 20,000 square feet or 10 acres of land.
  • The information on buildings and sites comes directly from listing brokers and from DBED’s local economic development partners. The software is powered by Location One, the oldest, largest and most affordable economic development building, site and community database system in the nation.

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