The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (MADC) was formed in 1995. The members of the organization are a combination of public and private entities such as universities, government agencies, state agencies, businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals. In addition, the Corporation has an office space for consultants who assist with business development issues. The mission of the MDEC is to enhance Maryland’s ability to compete in cutting edge industries.
There are two main components to the Mission Statement of the Maryland Technology Development Corporation. The first part, the Technology Strategy, lays out MDEC’s strategy for promoting and maintaining a competitive information technology system and develops a strategic plan for technology development. The second part, the Technology Translation Strategy, develops a plan to communicate to businesses and other interested parties on the benefits of creating a local information system. Both parts, according to the MIDS website, “aim to support the growth of businesses in providing innovative and accessible information systems, while also assisting them in taking advantage of growing innovations in information technology.” By facilitating access to technology development opportunities, the Maryland Venture Fund, a state agency, aids Maryland businesses by acting as a clearing house between venture capitalists and start-up companies.
On its website, the MDEC states that it “focuses on the tools, services, and related programs that will help Maryland businesses succeed in today’s information technology industry.” However, on the Technology Translation Strategy, the term “terms expire” appears three times. This suggests that any and all partnerships that had been signed with the University of Maryland were, in fact, terminated after the end of the term. The same can be said for any pre-existing agreement with university research facilities. As well as ceasing to exist, there also seems to be confusion about the use of the term “terms expire.”
The Main Goal
According to the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, it is “aiming to strengthen the economy by linking Maryland’s research and innovation capacity with those of other nations.” While this statement is accurate, it is unfortunate that the technology transfer component is omitted from the release. According to the governor’s office, the federal programs are “still very important.” These statements indicate that the Governor may be unaware that the research fund was being canceled. In a news conference, Balancing the budget was one of the topics discussed, but the statement about the end of the federal programs by MDEC did not make it clear that the technology transfer portion of the MDEC’s strategic plan had been cancelled.
The news release also indicated that the MDEC would be working with the Maryland Office of Technology Development to “identify gaps in the commercialization process.” To me, that sounds like a budget item that should be included in the annual budget presentation, but I am not an official state officer. If you would like to see the complete list of items included in the MDEC strategic plan, you can contact the office for a copy. The MDEC’s website does not list the number of staff members or other personnel that will be working on these issues. The information about the Strategic Planning Council was not mentioned.
On the Maryland Technology Development Corporation’s website there is also a link to go to the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission’s site. On the Stem Cell Research Commission’s site there are links to go to its six agencies, which are accredited by the Maryland Department of Health. It is interesting that the MDSC is not listed with the state as one of the six agencies. According to the news release, the MDEC will be working with the Stem Cell Research Commission to identify funding opportunities. According to the Stem Cell Research Commission’s site, the Maryland department of Health is “reviewing” the MDEC’s application for stem cell research funding.
There are some venture capital groups that do not fund technologies in small business startups and would instead look at a M&A adviser, venture capital, private angel investors or an SBA investor. These venture capital groups may want to visit the Maryland Technology Development Corporation to “understand” how the organization does business. If funding is offered from a venture capital group, the venture capital group will look at the company’s revenue and profit margins. Venture capital funds are not based solely on profitability; they consider the company’s ability to generate the revenues it needs and will invest in companies that have a solid future growth plan that will generate revenues.
Another aspect that the Maryland Technology Development Corporation must consider is how they will obtain an Enterprise Investment Fund. Currently, the corporation has agreements with several venture capitalists and auto manufacturers to invest up to ten percent of the company’s capital. The corporation also has a contract with the city of Baltimore for approximately $300,000. This funding was supposed to be used for workforce training and other community development activities, but according to Governor Larry Hogan’s press release, the state is reviewing the agreement to ensure it is not being used for the Enterprise Investment Fund as was mentioned. If the state ends up rescinding the agreement with the company, the county will end up having to pay the money out of its own budget.