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.