Events / Investing / Municipal government / Startups

‘Blessing and curse of MD is proximity to D.C.’: DBED assistant secretary

At this month's Tech Impact event, Ursula Powidzki said closeness to D.C. has "blunted a culture of risk" in Maryland.

The panelists, from left: Marc Mercilliott, Ira Levy, Ursula Powidzki, Yair Flicker and Denis Dunn.

As we’ve said before on Technically Baltimore, Charm City tends to fill the role of scrappy underdog to its bigger cousin to the south, Washington, D.C. When it comes to venture capital, there’s some reason for this.
At last week’s Tech Impact event, a panel of five talked about ways Maryland can ramp up the economic reach of technology companies and workers in state. In talking about entrepreneurship, Ursula Powidzki, assistant secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development, pointed out an idiosyncrasy of Maryland’s startup ecosystem that’s been noticed by local venture capitalists before:
“The blessing and curse of Maryland has been its proximity to D.C.,” she said. While this closeness “has driven economic growth,” she continued, it “has also blunted a culture of risk.”
Being near a culture of contractual obligations and “guaranteed money” for workers, as Wasabi Ventures cofounder Tom Kuegler puts it, serves to make Maryland (and Baltimore) a bit more skittish when it comes to betting money — which means possibly losing money — as opposed to making it.
Nevertheless, Powidski said the state is “improving in risk capital.”

Companies: Maryland Department of Commerce

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