• ACTiVATE. Created at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, ACTiVATE stands for “Achieving the Commercialization of Technology in Ventures through Applied Training for Entrepreneurs.” The yearlong, applied, entrepreneurship training program focuses on teaching women with some technical or business experience to create technology companies based on inventions from the region’s research institutions and federal laboratories. www.umbc.edu/activate
• BRAC Technology Transfer Initiative (BTTI). Offered through the Technology Development Corporation (see below), the BTTI seed stage investment program is a component of the Maryland Technology Transfer Fund (see below). www.choosemaryland.org/moveyourbusiness/Pages/TechTransferPrograms.aspx
• Business incubators. Most of Maryland’s business incubators are nonprofit organizations sponsored by economic development or college/university initiatives. Many specialize in helping high-growth tech companies, but at least some specialize in helping local, small businesses. Visit the Maryland Business Incubator Association web site for a listing of incubators by location and services. www.mdbusinessincubation.org
• Entrepreneur Office Hours. A program within the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (see below), Entrepreneur Office Hours features experienced entrepreneurs, as well as legal and business professionals, who give advice on how to build a successful startup company. Inventors and entrepreneurs can receive free and impartial advice, brainstorm business strategies, investigate funding opportunities and learn about additional resources.
• Inventors Network of the Capital Area. This nonprofit educational organization was founded in 1993. Its members are interested in patents, the innovation process, product design, marketing, licensing, prototyping and other product development issues. Meetings are free and open to the public. www.dcinventors.org
• InvestMaryland. InvestMaryland is a funding source for early-, mid- and late-stage growth companies. Through a premium insurance tax credit auction sale, the state of Maryland raised $84 million to invest in early-stage technologies in the areas of software, communications, cybersecurity and life sciences. Starting in July 2012, InvestMaryland funds have been apportioned through venture capital firms, the Maryland Venture Fund and the Equity Participation Investment Program.www.choosemaryland.org/businessresources/Pages/InvestMaryland.aspx
• Johnson & Johnson Joint Investment program. Offered through the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (see below), this fund was designed as a complementary component of TEDCO’s Maryland Technology Transfer Fund (see below). In order to be eligible for funding, companies must be early stage businesses engaged in health care technology transfer collaboration with a university or federal laboratory in Maryland. http://tedco.md/programs
• Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS). Offered through University of Maryland’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (see below), MIPS accelerates the commercialization of technology in Maryland by jointly funding collaborative research and development projects between companies and University System of Maryland faculty. MIPS provides funding, matched by participating companies, for university-based research projects that help companies develop new products.
• Maryland Intellectual Property Legal Resource Center. A program within the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (see below), the Maryland Intellectual Property Legal Resource Center offers free legal services to entrepreneurs and emerging technology companies, including patent applications, prior art searches, license agreements, non-disclosure agreements and company formation. The center delivers legal services primarily through law students. www.mtech.umd.edu/miplrc
• Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech). Offered through the University of Maryland, Mtech’s mission is to educate the next generation of technology entrepreneurs, create successful technology ventures and connect Maryland companies with university resources to help them succeed. Mtech offers programs, courses, workshops and competitions to help aspiring entrepreneurs learn how to bring their ideas and products to the world.www.mtech.umd.edu
• Maryland Technology Transfer Fund (MTTF). A program offered through the Technology Development Corporation (see below), the MTTF exists to foster greater collaboration between businesses, Maryland universities and federal laboratories to bring technology into the marketplace. Dozens of companies have received tech transfer funding to date, and each of the companies has gone on to receive downstream funding from angel and venture investors. http://tedco.md/programs
• Startup Maryland. This regional initiative has been launched out of the Startup America Partnership, which connects innovation communities and recognizes the importance of startups to state and regional economies. Driven from within the community and led by entrepreneurs, Startup Maryland is locally-operated and inclusive. Startup Maryland rallies entrepreneurs, supporters and other innovation stakeholders around four main initiatives: access to capital, celebration/awareness, resource mapping and revenue opportunities/corporate connections. http://startupmd.org
• Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO). TEDCO was created by the Maryland state legislature in 1998 to facilitate the transfer and commercialization of technology from Maryland’s research universities and federal labs into the marketplace and to assist in the creation and growth of technology-based businesses statewide. In Maryland and beyond, TEDCO is a resource of mentoring, funding and networking for entrepreneurs and startups that need guidance as they bring innovative concepts to the market. http://tedco.md
• United States Patent and Trademark Office. On this government agency’s web site, inventors can search for patents, view fee schedules, file for patents online, check the status of patents and more. The office also keeps updated records of patent statistics, including a list of independent inventors by state and year. www.uspto.gov
• Women Inventorz Network (WIN). WIN was created to inspire, nurture, educate, award, protect and promote women inventors across the U.S. and Canada. WIN provides a web site that allows women inventors to sell their products directly to consumers, thereby eliminating cost and dependency on retail distribution. www.womeninventorznetwork.com