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February 2017:

Growing Maryland Small Business Takes More Than Money

February 6, 2017

Posted in: News

The Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO) is continuing to make investments in small businesses to help entrepreneurs grow their companies. By leveraging industry experts, TEDCO provides Maryland’s entrepreneurs with solid, practical advice once a month from its Columbia headquarters.

One way is via the Maryland Entrepreneurs Resource List (MERL), which is described as “a pool of business experts across industry verticals and skillsets who offer pro bono time to meet and advise companies facing unique challenges as startups,” said TEDCO President John Wasilisin. “While TEDCO is known for our direct funding activity, we also have programs like MERL that help companies grow and succeed.”

MERL members have far-reaching business and technical expertise that can help guide entrepreneurs in areas of business development, marketing, law and regulation. Many MERL members have successfully led and exited companies in various fields such as software, cybersecurity, biotechnology, chemistry, medical devices, networking and wireless solutions, physics and engineering.

Howard County entrepreneur and CEO of diyRealty Inc., Brian Wojcik, met with Per Aagaard Jacobsen at a recent MERL Office Hours event. “The meeting went beyond my expectations, and I truly appreciate the approach Per took,” Wojcik said. “Rather than first jumping into the business, he wanted to learn more about me, my business and life experiences. Those provide a context for conversation around the business. He asked appropriate questions and was very candid. He was flexible and generous with his time, which led to a second appointment that day to dive deeper into the business.”

MERL can be used by entrepreneurs who need a professional’s help to commercialize their technology, or by university and federal laboratory technology transfer professionals who want to identify management for a startup opportunity being developed at their institution.

At another MERL Office Hours event, David Hicks, vice president of product management at Howard County-based A&G Pharmaceuticals, met with MERL member Tuesday Williams. A&G has developed a test for cancer, and to market this test requires an understanding of how medical insurance might pay for the test. Hicks and Williams discussed Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes and reimbursements from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Hicks said, “Tuesday’s experience and knowledge in the area of CPT codes and CMS were of tremendous assistance in helping me understand how A&G can negotiate a route to market for our oncology-based test.”

“Tuesday Williams has over 20 years consulting with biopharmaceuticals and health care organizations, and Per Aagaard Jacobsen is experienced in the telecoms, mobile communications, enterprise software, hardware and cloud industries,” said Linda Saffer, manager of TEDCO’s MERL program. “We at TEDCO are pleased to connect leaders like Tuesday and Per to entrepreneurs at tech companies.”

MERL members have the advantage of attending and participating in technology showcases and other networking events hosted by TEDCO. Entrepreneurs interested in joining MERL Office Hours should contact Linda Saffer at lsaffer@tedco.md. For more information, visit https://merl.tedco.md/members.

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