The Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO), of Columbia, announced the formation of the Task Force for Women Entrepreneurs. The task force will be dedicated to the recruitment, funding, and operational support of women-owned and led startups in Maryland.

The TEDCO Board of Directors Executive Committee commissioned the task force in conjunction with the TEDCO management team. Myra Norton, vice chair of the TEDCO Board of Directors and president and COO of Arena, will lead the task force. Jennifer Hammaker, TEDCO’s vice president of business development, will serve as chief liaison between TEDCO and the task force.

The task force will assess and analyze the challenges that women entrepreneurs in Maryland face when accessing seed capital and ways to overcome those challenges. The task force will deliver a report to the TEDCO Board of Directors with its findings and recommendations.

Studies show an industry-wide problem with women-owned companies receiving support from venture capital firms. One study showed that, in 2018, just 10% of all global venture dollars went towards solely women-owned startups. While this is an increase from previous years, it is still significantly less than the 83% of all global venture dollars that went towards men-owned startups that year. Similarly, the percent of global seed dollars in 2018 that went towards women-owned startups was just 6% compared to the 80% received by men-owned startups.

“This task force is something that we at TEDCO have been looking to implement for some time,” said TEDCO CEO George Davis. “We have had great success with TEDCO’s Builder Fund, which financially and operationally supports startups run by entrepreneurs from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and we are excited to apply the lessons learned there to this task force. Our goal will be the eventual creation of a similar fund geared towards female-owned startups. Additionally, we expect that through this initiative we will be able to better assess our internal service delivery operations to ensure we are responsive at all levels.”