Sparrows Point, Maryland, once home to a thriving steel mill, is poised for redevelopment and job creation, thanks to a new public-private partnership, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown announced following a gathering of stakeholders Thursday.
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It wouldn’t be a Maryland summer without fleshy tomatoes, juicy peaches and steaming hot corn on the cob. Warm weather brings an abundance of fresh local produce to the State. But behind the farm stands are businesses facing unique challenges. Fortunately, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development is active in supporting these businesses and connecting them with other agencies, as well as federal and local government programs, which offer solutions and relief.
One of the State’s most powerful resources for assisting Maryland farmers is the Maryland Agricultural & Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO). The organization offers low interest loan and grant programs and assists with rural land preservation, among other services. MARBIDCO recently assisted Red Rock Enterprises—a Garrett County-based third‐generation, family‐owned and operated sustainable forestry company—purchase additional timber from the State. It also helped a young husband and wife, JC and Kristina Davis, secure a loan to purchase a 77‐acre farm in Caroline County. Together they will continue a family legacy.
Nonprofit arts organizations and programs bring creativity, color and character to dozens of Maryland communities. Governor Martin O’Malley, this week, demonstrated the State’s commitment to these resources, announcing nearly $13.4 million in Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) grant awards.
“The arts are at the very center of community life for so many Marylanders, whether it be in our schools, museums, churches, or at festivals, concerts and exhibits,” Governor O’Malley said. “The livelihood of our arts organizations is critical to the quality of life we enjoy, and an economy strengthened by 12,700 jobs and an impact of $1 billion annually.”
In past generations, it wasn’t unusual for a family doctor to make a house call, perform a broad range of medical services and offer emotional as well as clinical support. While the traditional house call may be a thing of the past, patients today are taking advantage of a return to cooperative hands-on care in the form of patient-centered medical homes, including many in Maryland. Data shows that this care model is not only lowering costs but also improving care.
In a growing number of medical homes, doctors, nurses, care managers and medical assistants work together to help patients manage their care among different facilities, coordinate referrals to specialists and help track health outcomes. Rather than wait until he or she needs emergency care, the patient receives consistent preventative care from a familiar team of practitioners and builds a “long-term healing relationship,” according to the Maryland Health Care Commission.
Medical homes are one of the fastest growing trends in the healthcare industry. In the last six years, the number of certified medical homes nationwide has exploded, from 20 in 2008 to 6,800 today. As of January 2014, Maryland has 58 home health centers, most of which are located in areas with a large number of Medicaid patients, according to Heather DeCarlo, a health IT expert at RxNT in Annapolis.
Thanks in part to funding from the Affordable Care Act, medical home practitioners are now assisted by new forms of information technology, including electronic medical records. The ACA has also fundamentally changed how the country pays for healthcare, DeCarlo said.
Medical facilities are moving away from fee-for-service payments, which encourage more and oftentimes unnecessary medical procedures, to models that encourage cost efficiencies and improved medical outcomes, according to DeCarlo. The ACA incentivizes providers who can prove that they are bringing more services under the healthcare umbrella, like patient education and care coordination, and medical homes support this new team-based model, she said.
State officials have already found promising results among Maryland medical homes.
In 2011, through the MHCC, the Maryland Multi-Payer Patient Centered Medical Home Program began a three-year pilot study to test the medical homes care model. The study included 53 primary and multi-specialty practices throughout the State.
By the second year of the study, nearly half of the practices generated savings and overall care quality increased by approximately 10 percent, according to the MHCC.
CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Maryland is one of the State’s success stories. Through the use of medical homes, patients’ overall health care costs have been reduced by 4 percent, leading to an estimated cost savings of $40 million in 2011, according to the MHCC.
The MHCC concluded, “Physicians who practice in medical homes anecdotally report much greater satisfaction with their work than in a traditional practice; and investing in comprehensive medical home care has improved quality and reduced total cost to the system because of better care and coordination.”
A growing number of cybersecurity companies, from startups to industry trailblazers, are choosing to build their brands in Maryland.
Jeffrey Wells, Executive Director of Cyber Development with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, explains why in the above video.
Wells cites a number of unique benefits to launching a cybersecurity company within Maryland’s borders, including the following:
- Advanced technology
- Research facilities
- Federal agencies and military commands
- Academic institutions
- Trained workforce
Financial assistance is also available through the Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit and other State and federal incentives.
For more information on the State’s efforts to stimulate the cybersecurity industry, visit CyberMaryland.
The latest Maryland business news:
- Oak Investment Partners was the largest venture investor in Maryland 2013, according to the Baltimore Business Journal’s list of the top five VC firms. Oak’s investment in the State totaled $75 million last year.
- Convergence Technology has new digs — 8,000 square feet in Columbia that will accommodate the cybersecurity company’s growth. According to the Baltimore Business Journal, Convergence plans to hire 20 to 30 people on top of its staff of 65 by the middle of next year.
- The new eyeglass assembly facility in Baltimore County could grind prescription lenses for Google Glass, the wearable device by the web search giant. The plant could employ up to 40 people in the next two years.
- The Chesapeake Innovation Center is moving to Odenton, the Baltimore Business Journal Reports. The move will bring the incubator closer to the growing high-tech, cybersecurity cluster around Fort Meade.
- The City of Westminster launched a downtown business incubator program this week, according to The Sun. The program is seeking restaurants and retailers and “will offer financial assistance and mentoring to business owners looking to locate downtown.”
- The Baltimore Business Journal picked up the announcement of the 12 companies named finalists in the InvestMaryland Challenge, Maryland’s national business competition. The finalists are competing for $100,000 top prizes in four categories — Information Technology, Life Sciences, General Business and, new this year, Cybersecurity. A full list with links to the finalists here. More information on the Challenge here.
- Employment in downtown Baltimore rose 8 percent to about 122,000 in 2013, The Sun reports. That marks the second year in a row for job gains in the city’s core, the first time in a decade that has happened.
- Citybizlist reports on a pair of acquisitions by Maryland companies. Precision for Medicine, a Bethesda-based company that supports drug development and commercialization, acquired Hobart Group Holdings. And Digital Management Inc. acquired KnowledgePath of Burlington, Mass. DMI is a mobile and big data company and KnowledgePath has found its niche in omnichannel e-commerce.
The next great idea was easier to find than a necktie at TechBuzz2014, a semi-annual event put on by the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) where entrepreneurs, given more to flannel shirts than business suits, pitched their fledgling companies to an auditorium full of venture capital and angel investors.
The event aimed to link investment firms with 20 promising startups seeking about $1 million to $3 million to expand their businesses, hire talent and begin building their products.
Dozens of startups have presented at six similar TechBuzz gatherings since 2010 and 40 percent received venture funding within a year as a result, said MAVA Executive Director Julia Spicer. The growth of TechBuzz over the past four years reflects growth of early and venture-stage investing in the mid-Atlantic. The Baltimore-Washington region is among the most active areas for venture investing in the country, along with California, Massachusetts, New York and Texas.
Venture capital funding in Maryland increased to $663 million in 2013 from $408 million in 2012, according to the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. The state’s 63 percent growth far outpaced the national average of 7 percent. Maryland is also establishing itself as a major market for early investment, according to a report by the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) last month.
That was evident Tuesday at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club, a newly renovated Art Deco-era moviehouse, where startups, some of whom who just sold their first product weeks ago, came in search of early “angel” or “Series A” investment. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) was a co-sponsor of the event. James Keeratisakdawong, Principal with DBED’s Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), co-chaired the committee that reviewed the applicants and selected 20 companies to present.
The startups spanned a wide array of ideas and products, some targeting consumers, others geared to the enterprise market. Companies ranged from Basepair, developer of software to analyze DNA sequencing data, to Brain Sentry, a Bethesda company whose wearable helmet sensors can signal when a youngster in a contact sport needs to be checked for a possible concussion, to LoveThatFit, a “virtual fitting” technology that enables users to try on clothes “virtually” and that aims to improve online apparel shopping. Armed only with slide presentations and “elevator speeches,” the entrepreneurs had four minutes to make a pitch. A countdown clock ensured not a second more. A panel of judges then evaluated them in the venture capital equivalent of “American Idol.”
One judge, MVF Managing Director Thomas S. Dann, observed that many local startups are focused on the hot markets of cybersecurity and cloud computing. But whatever the venture, he said, “we want to see entrepreneurs focused on the problem that the customer is trying to solve and how the ROI [return on investment] they offer can attract that next customer.”
Passion was also important. The judges said they made special note of whether the entrepreneur was motivated by a “pain point” they had experienced while seeking a product or service. One example of that was Mark Olcott, who described his College Park-based company Vitus Vet as a cloud-based network of medical records for pets. He described an example of a dog named Bogey that was brought to an emergency clinic for treatment after being injured. The pet died later that night because it couldn’t tolerate the type of anesthesia administered.
Olcott revealed he was the vet.
“I felt like I got kicked in the stomach,” he said.
Startups also must not overlook the potential competition for what they’re trying to create, said Dayna Grayson, a Partner at New Enterprise Associates, which ranked sixth last year for investments in Maryland, according to a recent Baltimore Business Journal survey. “A lot of presenters today didn’t talk about competitors,” she said. “Many large public companies have few direct competitors. It’s not enough to say you’re going to be among the best of five or six.”
Ultimately, as one investor judge told the entrepreneurs, the proof is in the product: “You get enough customers,” he remarked, “then you don’t need our money.”
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 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 byInvestMaryland, one 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 CoFoundersLab.com 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.
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will deliver his final State of the State address at noon today in Annapolis.
Watch the full address live in the above video player.
The State of the State is one of the governor’s key annual speeches, in which he lays out priorities and goals for his administration and the current legislative session. This is O’Malley’s final speech, as Maryland’s next governor will take office in January 2015.
The Washington Post reports that he plans to reflect on progress made over the past seven years and speak on plans to increase the state’s minimum wage.
Videos of past speeches, including the governor’s 2013 State of the State address, are available here.
For workers with New Year’s resolutions to learn new skills and advance their careers, the EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) program may soon provide some assistance.
The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) announced last week the recipients of planning grants for collaborative worker training programs in various industries across the state. The 29 awardees will now use the grants to fund the creation of partnerships with fellow key players in their industries, ranging from biotechnology to manufacturing.
Through conferences, meetings and training sessions, they will determine the type of training needed most among workers in their industry. They will submit finalized Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plans by March 2014, and by May 2014, DLLR will award implementation grants.
The two-phase process of planning grants and implementation grants is funded by the state at $4.5 million. Funding for planning grants averaged $22,000, according to DLLR.
Governor Martin O’Malley praised the program, which has become a signature part of his jobs creation plan for the state. ”There is no progress without a job. By awarding today’s state-funded Planning Grants to these selected strategic partnerships, we’re moving our State forward and helping more Marylanders get the skills they need to qualify for Maryland’s most in-demand jobs. Working together, these EARN planning grants will provide industry-specific, state-of-the-art training for high-demand occupations,” the governor said in a statement.
While the initiative is the first of its kind in Maryland, similar programs have succeeded in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and have already assisted workers in industries including aerospace, healthcare and clean energy.
Organizations and business leaders applied for grants to fund the creation of Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plans between October and November.
Find a full list of awardees categorized by industry below. Learn more about the applicants by clicking on the links.
|Industry||Planning Grant Awardees|
|Biotechnology||1) Baltimore Biotechnology Strategic Industry Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): BioTechnical Institute of Maryland, Inc., and Baltimore BioWorks, Inc.
Co-Conveners: BioTechnical Institute of Maryland, Inc., and Baltimore BioWorks, Inc.
|2) Montgomery County Biotechnology Training Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Montgomery College
Convener: Montgomery College
|Construction||3) Prince George’s and Charles County Construction Industry Partnership for Jobs
Lead Applicant(s): Finishing Trades Institute
Convener: Washington DC Building Trades Council
|4) BIM Technology for the Incumbent Worker in the Construction Industry
Lead Applicant(s): Towson University Division of Innovation and Applied Research
Convener: Maryland Center for Construction Education & Innovation
|5) Project Jump Start Construction Industry Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Associated Builders and Contractors Baltimore Metro Chapter
Convener: Associated Builders and Contractors Baltimore Metro Chapter
|Cybersecurity/IT||6) Central Maryland Cyber/IT Consortium
Lead Applicant(s): Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation, Inc.
Convener: Dunbar Digital Armor
|7) Western Maryland IT Center for Excellence
Lead Applicant(s): Allegany College
Convener: Exclamation Labs!
|8) 21st Century Technology Business Services Partnership for Prince George’s County
Lead Applicant(s): AgemO Technology
Co-Convener: Prince George’s Community College & Bowie State University
|Green Industry||9) Water and Wastewater Career Development Partnership of Central Maryland
Lead Applicant(s): Maryland Environmental Service (MES)
Convener: Maryland Environmental Service (MES)
|10) Baltimore Regional Green Strategic Industry Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Civic Works
Convener: Civic Works
|11) Maryland Offshore Wind Strategic Industry Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Humanim
Convener: Business Network for Maryland Offshore Wind
|Healthcare||12) Northeast Maryland Health Industry Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation
Convener: Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation
|13) Ready to Care: An Eastern Shore Partnership to Train Healthcare Workers
Lead Applicant(s): Eastern Shore Area Health Education Center
Convener: Eastern Shore Area Health Education Center
|14) Montgomery County Healthcare Practitioners: Rx for Employability
Lead Applicant(s): Montgomery Business Development Corporation
Convener: Montgomery Business Development Corporation
|15) Baltimore Healthcare Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (BACH)
Co-Conveners: BACH and Center for Urban Families
|16) Southern Maryland Healthcare Industry Alliance
Lead Applicant(s): Tri County Council
Convener: College of Southern Maryland
|17) Prince George’s and Charles Counties Healthcare Industry Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Associated Black Charities
Convener: Associated Black Charities
|Health Information Technology||18) Health Information Technology Strategic Industry Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Community College Baltimore County (CCBC)
Convener: CCBC Continuing Education and Economic Development Division (CEED)
|19) Mobile Health Technologies in the Baltimore/Washington Corridor
Lead Applicant(s): Howard Community College
Convener: Maryland Health Tech Coalition
|Retail / Hospitality||20) Baltimore Regional Culinary/ Hospitality Strategic Industry Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Humanim
|21) Building Employer Led Alliances for Careers in Hospitality (BEACHES)
Lead Applicant(s): Wor-Wic Community College
Co-Conveners: The Governor’s Economic Development Committee of Ocean City Maryland & The Carousel Group
|22) Purple Line Skills Training Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): CASA de Maryland, Inc.
Convener: CASA de Maryland, Inc.
|Logistics||23) Maryland Mid-Western Transportation & Logistics (MOVE) Partnership
Lead Applicant(s) Montgomery College
Co-Conveners: Hagerstown Community College and Montgomery College
|24) Chesapeake Transportation and Logistics Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Cecil College
Convener: Mid-Atlantic Transportation and Logistics Institute
|Manufacturing||25) Manufacturing Workforce Partnership of Frederick County
Lead Applicant(s): Wright Manufacturing
Convener: Wright Manufacturing
|26) Shore Manufacturing Strategic Industry Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Chesapeake College
Convener: Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board
|27) Maryland Manufacturing Incumbent Workforce Training Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)
Convener: Maryland MEP
|28) Maryland Manufacturing Boot Camp
Lead Applicant(s): Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)
Convener: Maryland MEP
|Marine||29) Marine Trades Industry Partnership
Lead Applicant(s): Marine Trades Association of Maryland
Convener: Marine Trades Association of Maryland