The University of Maryland offers faculty and students a vibrant ecosystem that nurtures and encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. Several indicators and new initiatives support the University of Maryland's standing as the nation's fastest growing center for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Bringing Research Innovation to Market
University of Maryland programs play an important role in helping advance entrepreneurship and innovation in the state. Over the past 25 years, University of Maryland research has produced 400 patents and licensed more than 500 technologies to industry. Currently, the university generates about 130 invention disclosures each year (about 1 every 3 days), which result in about 5 tech start-ups each year.
The University of Maryland's Baltimore and College Park campuses are promoting entrepreneurship and tech commercialization efforts through a new collaboration. UM Ventures is a joint effort between the technology transfer offices at the two campuses and the entrepreneurial business services programs at College Park that will promote tech transfer activities. UM Ventures, a core initiative of the new cross-campus collaboration between the two research powerhouses —called "MPowering the State"—will help stimulate discovery and new business development.
The University of Maryland’s Office of Technology Commercialization provides expert guidance, support, and assistance in safeguarding intellectual property, encouraging research, facilitating technological transfer, and promoting collaborative research and development agreements with industrial sponsors. The University's many innovations continue to stimulate the local economy, provide valuable products for public use, and help fuel research and entrepreneurial initiatives through inter and intra-University collaborations.
The University's Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) has had a $25 billion impact on the state economy since 1983 by helping to educate the next generation of technology entrepreneurs, create successful technology ventures, and connect Maryland companies with university resources to help them succeed. Mtech's Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program has supported 500 Maryland companies and their MIPS–supported products have generated billions in sales and added thousands of jobs in Maryland. Mtech sponsors Start-Up Bootcamp events to encourage faculty and student entrepreneurs to develop business plans and commercialize their technology.
The Maryland Small Business Technology Development Center, a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration and the University of Maryland, links private enterprise, government, higher education and local economic development organizations to provide assistance to Maryland's small businesses. In the last year alone, the center's staff assisted nearly 12,000 entrepreneurs, and helped businesses secure more than $37 million in loans.
The Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (AIE) was launched in 2013 and charged with engaging all 35,000+ of the University of Maryland's students in innovation & entrepreneurship (I&E) experiences to prepare them to tackle the world's toughest problems.
The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) promotes the development and commercialization of products and processes through industry/university research partnerships. MIPS provides matching funds to help Maryland companies pay for the university research. Projects are initiated by the companies to meet their own research and development goals. MIPS matching funds are awarded on a competitive basis for projects based on proposals submitted jointly by Maryland companies and researchers from any of the 13 University System of Maryland institutions. The program is administered by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech).
The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship connects startups from regional tech councils, incubators and state-funded institutions with a network of more than 40 active, accredited angel investors and venture capitalists for early-stage capital. The Center also provides MBA and undergraduate students at the Smith School of Business with practical experiences and opportunities to pitch their business ideas, obtain feedback from experienced entrepreneurs-in-residence and access funding. The Dingman Center sponsors the annual Cupid’s Cup competition to encourage student entrepreneurship.
The University of Maryland's entrepreneurship education programs, which include the Hinman CEOs living-learning program, have served as national models. U.S. News and World Report, the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine have named the University of Maryland one of the nation's top schools for entrepreneurship education.
The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP), a joint program of the University of Maryland Honors College and the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), provides freshmen and sophomores with an interdisciplinary, living and learning education to help build the entrepreneurial mindsets, skill sets, and relationships invaluable to developing innovative, impactful solutions to today's problems.
The University of Maryland hosts 30 Days of EnTERPreneurship, a full month of events dedicated to promoting the campus culture of innovation and entrepreneurship which last year included business plan competitions, invention of the year awards, and a National Academy of Engineering conference on Advancing Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
In the Spring of 2012, Governor Martin O'Malley unveiled the Maryland Innovation Initiative, a new measure passed by the General Assembly that commits $6 million to help increase the commercialization of university research. The new initiative is a collaboration between the state and five Maryland universities, including the University of Maryland, College Park and Johns Hopkins University, focused on promoting the commercialization of research and facilitating technology transfer from university labs to start-up companies.
Faculty researchers at the University of Maryland and other state universities also have new incentives to engage in innovation and entrepreneurship activities. The University System of Maryland Board of Regents recently approved a new policy to formally give credit in tenure and promotion decisions for faculty efforts and activities that result in the generation and application of intellectual property through technology transfer.
The Maryland Venture Fund is a state-funded seed and early-stage equity fund that makes direct investments in technology and life science companies and indirect investments in venture capital funds. The fund invests in technology companies in the areas of software, communications, and IT security, as well as life sciences companies in the areas of therapeutics, medical devices, and diagnostics.
A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce report named Maryland the #1 state in the nation for entrepreneurship and innovation. The annual report on Enterprising States, also ranked Maryland #1 in academic research and development and #3 in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs and in the concentration of high-tech business locations.