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Daily Record: Hi-Tech Opportunities in Maryland for Small Businesses

Thursday, May 24, 2018

For those looking to start a high-tech venture in Maryland there are plenty of resources and opportunity to help them succeed.

“We have great public and private universities and federal agencies full of technology for licensing,” James Hughes, Director of UM Ventures, says, “The state of Maryland (government) is very aggressive in supporting startup companies. And, the Biotech Investment Tax Credit is I think the best in the country, giving investors a 50 percent tax credit of the amount of their investment, making it much easier for biotech companies to attract funding.”

Hughes is also the vice president and chief enterprise and economic development officer at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Under Hughes, UM Ventures is one of several academic commercializing routes for inventors or investors to start or join a small technology business. Entrepreneurs may also choose to launch a company through the nurturing advice and training at the state’s Small Business Development Center, part of a national SBDC network. Still others may emerge from one of a growing number of state and county business accelerator or incubator programs with a startup business.

The scale of ambition or target markets doesn’t matter. Consultants are readily available at low cost in all corners of Maryland as long as you can sell your technology invention or idea for a company.

Systems engineer Christopher Mennan at the University of Maryland School of Medicine felt the full potential of UM Ventures. About eight years ago, he and his team of four computer geeks were working in a large attic room in a small brick building two blocks from the university’s hospital in downtown Baltimore. He told Phillip Robilotto, assistant vice president of technology transfer at the university, they had invented innovative information technology “tools to provide a more global view,” which will connect all hospital systems and thus “surely help take better care of patients.”

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