An exciting year for business and Maryland’s overall economy is drawing to a close. Here were some of the highlights.
Amazon, other big brands, coming to town:
- Amazon, the Internet retailer behemoth, announced plans for a new fulfillment center in Baltimore, taking the place of a former vacant General Motors facility. The 1 million-square-foot center will create 1,000 quality jobs. But Amazon isn’t the only big name investing in Maryland—Volvo Group is planning to expand its Hagerstown facility and Sephora announced a new warehouse and distribution center in Harford County.
First InvestMaryland Challenge culminates, a new contest launched:
- RedOwl Analytics, i-Lighting and GrayBug won the top three $100,000 grand prizes in the inaugural InvestMaryland Challenge this past spring. Sponsored by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the contest was designed to boost the state’s most promising start-ups, but even non-winning finalists have enjoyed the benefits of publicity and outside investment resulting from the contest. Stay tuned to find out the winners of the contest’s second run in April 2014.
Maryland manufacturers continue to innovate:
- Maybe you have a taste for Wockenfuss chocolate or Tulkoff horseradish. Perhaps you’re in need of a Smiths Detection airport security x-ray machine or a colorful paper product label by Gamse Lithographing. Whatever your needs, Maryland has a manufacturer for you. Across the state, manufacturers are adapting to new technologies and weathering a changing marketplace. Maryland is also fostering a new generation of manufacturers through college and university programs specializing in 3D printing and other techniques.
Small and local businesses, the backbone of Maryland’s new community-conscious economy:
- B’More Organic‘s yogurt drinks are fat free, low lactose, gluten free and have no added sugar—not because it’s easy or popular to make a product with such high standards, but because they feel it’s the right thing to do. Likewise, Clean Currents, a wind energy distributor, leads neighborhood programs on cleaner living, and Local Color Flowers is helping to reinvigorate the state’s flower farm industry by sourcing 100 percent locally grown flowers and shrubs. These small and local businesses are not only the backbone of Maryland’s economy, they’re helping to make the world a better place.
Port of Baltimore expands to meet new demands:
- Maryland’s bustling Port of Baltimore, which has gained an international reputation for excellence, is receiving some important upgrades. As ships continue to get taller, wider and heavier, the port has installed new cranes to accommodate super post-panamax container ships. Vice President Joe Biden even visited the port to welcome developments, slated to bring millions more in revenue to the state.
Legislators renew film industry incentives, keep hit TV series:
- Was that Kevin Spacey you saw driving around Harford County? Or Julia Louis-Dreyfus leaving a Baltimore hotel? It’s likely. Maryland was more star-studded than usual in 2013, with hit TV series “House of Cards” and “Veep” filming renewed seasons around the state. Updated film industry tax incentives, approved by the legislature this year, ensure that filming will continue in Maryland, and in turn, benefit hundreds of small and local businesses.
Cybersecurity’s prominence grows:
- 2013 was a landmark year for cybersecurity in Maryland. State legislators approved a new tax credit to support local leaders in cyber defense, the state hosted a well-attended CyberMaryland conference and several companies took advantage of the state’s fertile market by launching new products and hiring more talent. Look out for more expansion next year.
Maryland regains pre-recession jobs numbers:
- Maryland officially regained all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession. Crossing that cusp in September, Maryland joined just 15 other states that had exceeded pre-recessionary jobs levels. That is no small feat considering the national economic upheaval that began in 2007. While Governor Martin O’Malley said there is more work to be done, he and other officials have praised Maryland businesses for weathering the changing marketplace better than most.
Contractors find new opportunities in Maryland infrastructure development:
- Infrastructure is proving its investment potential in Maryland. U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, Governor Martin O’Malley, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray and Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Leonard J. Howie III have worked to draw millions of dollars in federal and state funding into infrastructure improvement. New projects range from the Purple Line extension to roads surrounding the Port of Baltimore. The state is also providing an unprecedented number of training programs and events to help educate contractors on qualifying for funding.
Worker training gains steam through EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now):
- For the first time ever, Maryland companies, groups and organizations in a common industry can join together, identify a needed skill and deliver that training directly to employees. Governor Martin O’Malley signed the EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) bill in the spring, with an enthusiastic response from industry leaders. Funded through a public-private partnership, training programs will begin in summer 2014.
Tell us about the business stories you’ll remember most from 2013, and some of the developments you’re looking forward to in 2014 on our Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Facebook page.