TEDCO is known for providing seed funding for early stage companies.
“We want to help the incubation industry raise their bar, too, and keep pace with acceleration and innovation in Maryland,” said Neil Davis, Director of Entrepreneurial Development at the quasi-public agency that backs early stage companies.
So the agency is offering a new grant to help incubators try something new — or, something that’s been tried outside of Maryland.
The formal call for proposals recently went out for the Incubation Challenge. TEDCO set aside $300,000 in grant money, and will make up to two awards, Davis said. To enter, a seven-page proposal must be submitted by July 31.
The whole point is to bring in new ideas, so the parameters are fairly loose. Since Maryland has lots of incubators already, Davis said the proposal could come from an existing organization, as well as a new group that’s looking to get started. Whether the focus is attracting talent, generating traction with partners and institutions or something else, the idea is to provide some funding for a new resource that can help meet the needs of startups.
“We would love to see someone propose something that’s been used successfully elsewhere, but that’s not a requirement, either,” Davis said.
TEDCO often commissions studies to see what was happening in other places, such as the Emerging Trends study referenced in the RFP. With the challenge, the agency is “taking it to another level and providing real dollars for people to propose and put ideas into place here, said TEDCO President John Wasilisin.
For those interested in learning more, an in-person info session is being held from 2-3:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon at TEDCO headquarters in Columbia, as well as two conference call sessions from 2-3 p.m. on June 15 and 16.