The University of Maryland is planning to expand entrepreneurship space and activities at its campus in Baltimore, and a new innovation center on the southwest side of the city is part of the plans.
The aim is to open a new space during the summer, UM Ventures Director Jim Hughes said at a President’s Symposium event at the UMB campus. The location of the new space has yet to be finalized.
Along with researchers and private companies clustering at the BioPark and UM Ventures’ work on tech transfer, Hughes said the center could help encourage more students to start companies, and be a gathering point for efforts taking place across the different schools and departments of the university located at the campus on the west side of downtown Baltimore.
“We’d like this to be a nexus where we can have students, staff and faculty from all the UMB schools, but also the [University System of Maryland] schools to be interacting with each other,” Hughes said.
It could also bring university entrepreneurship efforts together.
Existing resources identified at the event include a student group focusing on entrepreneurship and an expected expansion of the university’s National Science Foundation–backed I-Corps program, which offers a chance to validate business ideas and an “innovation sandbox” area with digital media and 3D printers. Leaders also spoke of encouraging social entrepreneurship, and serving as a connecting point with the city.
UM Ventures recently opened subleased space at the Lion Brothers building in Hollins Market, where the startup Surgigyn and two other companies are working. The innovation center that comes online this summer would be larger than that space, Hughes said. It would also be separate from a Baltimore branch of Cambridge Innovation Center that is expected to be part of a new BioPark building in the works at 873 W. Baltimore St.
Plans for the center come amid a wider effort to spark commercialization and collaboration across the University of Maryland campuses called the Center for Advanced Ventures, which is funded with $4 million from the General Assembly.
Hughes also talked about funding that would encourage companies to locate in the city and hire city residents after they are formed.
“This is real money and we want to have a high impact,” Hughes said.