Startups

Maryland Tech Council launches task force to help companies navigating economic downturn

The Business Continuity Task Force is made up of executives who can help companies as they seek sustainability.

At a Maryland Tech Council Venture Mentoring Services event.

(Photo courtesy of Maryland Tech Council)

With the economic downturn brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, many tech and life sciences companies are adapting.

In the initial period after the pandemic’s spread arrived in the region, that meant shifting operations remotely and seeking aid.

But as companies move from a phase of reacting to a crisis into looking at the coming months, Maryland Tech Council (MTC) CEO Marty Rosendale is seeing them in a variety of situations. Some have the funding they need to weather the current moment, while others need to raise capital. And when it comes to attracting new business, others are exploring new markets as sales pipelines dried up. For life sciences companies who had to put lab work on hold, it might mean raising more capital in an environment where investors are cautions, or a new kind of sales process.

They’re challenges where MTC saw a chance to tap its network of experienced business builders to help. In May, it launched the Business Continuity Task Force to offer support to companies in the state as they navigate these challenges.

“Our members are companies from across the region, and we want to use the community we have built to support business leaders that are presently struggling,” Rosendale said. “The aim of the task force is to focus beyond the current situation, and to help those companies with their plans on how to excel well beyond the circumstances caused by COVID-19.”

To spin up the task force quickly, it drew on infrastructure that was already in place. The Council has a network of executives helping companies to navigate new markets through its program called Venture Mentoring Services. Along with experience working with companies, the folks who serve as mentors in this group have undergone specific training to help guide entrepreneurs.

It’s made up of executives that have experience weathering crises, including the dot-com bubble and 2008 recession. While Rosendale maintains that no two economic crises are alike, he said experience can help serve as a guide.

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Business leaders seeking help can fill out a form at MTC’s website, then have an initial call with one of the eight members of the task force who raised a hand to help within 24 hours and talk about how to prioritize challenges.

Through the task force, MTC is also referring to resources, like specialists and folks who are members such as tech companies like Fulton-based cloudtamer.io or service providers like law firm Schulman Rogers.

For MTC, it’s one of a number of efforts meant to bring companies together and offer support during the pandemic, alongside efforts to network companies working on COVID-19 treatments and a website that helps navigate relief programs.

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