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MAGIC secured a federal Build to Scale grant nearing $275K. Here’s the plan

Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory's Graham Dodge envisions the grant putting a national spotlight on the collaborative efforts of some immediate and nearby county tech sectors.

Graham Dodge. (Courtesy Graham Dodge)

Shortly after Baltimore’s EDA Tech Hubs designation win, Maryland’s innovation community is getting another federal boost.

Joining Delaware and Pittsburgh, last week, the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory (MAGIC) in Westminster announced its inclusion in the 10th cohort of the federal Build to Scale program grants.

Build to Scale is an annual initiative by the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration focused on fostering tech-based economic development. The grants associated with the program aim to boost job opportunities and entrepreneurial ecosystems, particularly in agtech, bioscience, manufacturing and healthtech industries.

Along with its Build To Scale subrecipients the Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI) and the Harford County Office of Economic Development (HCOED), MAGIC is presently in the “Ignite” tier of Build to Scale’s Venture Challenge for planning the Grow Rural Opportunity in Maryland project, aka GRO MD.

The grant, totaling $274,498, is part of the $53 million distributed by the EDA to 60 recipients across various sectors and regions.

In a phone interview with this week, MAGIC Executive Director Graham Dodge discussed the pre-announcement anticipation, noting that MAGIC was aware of being in consideration for the grant due to the extensive “diligence questions” posed by the EDA.

Hearing they’d gotten the grant, Dodge said, “was thrilling and exciting, and it makes me really excited for Carroll County, Frederick and Harford County in terms of the partnerships that we’ll be developing through this grant.”

MAGIC’s project aims to identify cross-sector collaborations, focusing on biotech, autonomous vehicles and defense systems. With a required local funding match of $283,033, grant funds will be used for planning and research studies over a two-year period.

Dodge was previously a mentor for FITCI and said alongside HCOED, they were put back into touch by a significant regional information connector.

“It was through an introduction from Carroll County Public Library regarding this specific opportunity that put us in touch with FITCI, initially to discuss how we could work together on that particular grant,” he said. “So I can thank Carroll County Public Libraries, actually, for their role in identifying MAGIC as a potential partner in this particular grant opportunity and sort of matchmaking us with FITCI.”

Dodge added that this effort might align with the Baltimore Tech Hubs designation, specifically boosting biotech in Frederick, and contribute to a broader support of the Baltimore tech ecosystem through research and collaboration.

Companies: MAGIC / U.S. Department of Commerce / U.S. Economic Development Administration

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