Accelerating Maryland’s economic growth will require improved access to venture capital, improved human capital development and enhanced technology transfer resources, according to a new study commissioned by the Maryland Tech Council. The Jacob France Institute of the Merrick School of Business at the University of Baltimore was retained by the MTC to assess the financial/access to capital and other related barriers facing the growth and development of the entrepreneurial life sciences and technology companies served by MTC and its Business Continuity Task Force.
The study found that Maryland’s innovation ecosystem is one of the nation’s strongest, but lags behind its competitor states in certain attributes found in highly dynamic economies. The study concludes:
Maryland lags its aspirational and regional peers in both overall and per capita venture capital investment. While the state ranks 9th in total Venture Capital Assets Under Management and 10th in Venture Capital Assets Under Management measured per capita in 2022, it lags its neighboring states, as well as California and Massachusetts, in these key benchmarks.
Maryland must improve its translation of research and development into commercializable products. Despite Maryland’s strong national position in R&D activity, the state lags behind the nation and peer states in per capita patents issued to Maryland assignees, as well as in the level of university commercialization activities normalized by research and development expenditures.
Access to talent is one of Maryland’s critical innovation ecosystem strengths. Maryland ranks fifth nationally in STEM degree production per million residents. With 42.5% of Maryland residents 25 and older having a Bachelor’s degree and above, Maryland is ranked sixth nationally and ahead of all peer states except Massachusetts.
To grow Maryland’s economy, the study recommends:
● Deploying new funding for innovation and technology-based support programs and increasing coordination across state, local and institutional programs;
● Addressing the capital and operational support needs of early-stage companies advancing from the start-up/development phase to the middle phase of testing and production;
● Improving the translation of locally generated innovations at federal and academic research labs into business and economic activity that creates jobs;
● Designating a Technology Champion organization with strong industry involvement and sufficient resources to coordinate improvements at scale.
“Maryland has one of the nation’s strongest innovation ecosystems, but only with purposeful action can we take it from good to great,” said Kelly Schulz, CEO of the MTC. “Our new report’s findings echo what our industry members tell us: improving access to capital, a deeper talent pipeline and stronger technology transfer are vital to expanding our global innovation leadership. We look forward to a productive dialogue with government, industry, and higher education leaders to put these recommendations into practice.”