Krissa, a fifth-grader at Bollman Bridge Elementary School, was chosen from among over 4,000 other children with business plans. Cupcakes for Literacy is a spin-off of the website her mother started six years ago that catalogs YouTube videos of Krissa reading books to children. Since February, Krissa and her board of classmates regularly bake and sell cupcakes to raise funds for schools, libraries and literacy, art and music programs.
Sugarloaf Alpaca Co. in Frederick County received a Maryland Value-Added Producer Matching Grant from MARBIDCO.
Farming in Maryland can be sustainable and profitable. Just ask Kilby Cream in Cecil County, which is expanding its gourmet dairy home delivery selection, or Sugarloaf Alpaca Co. in Frederick County, which is raising more alpacas for their fiber than ever.
Maryland Resource-Based Industry Financing Fund Loan (MRBIFF), through MARBIDCO, offers low-interest loans to established agriculture industry firms for the purchase of land and capital equipment for production and processing activities. Monies may also be used to help finance environmental or water-quality enhancement projects.
Registration for the Celebration of International Trade has reached 70 percent and will remain open online until the day of the event. Admission, including breakfast and lunch, is free for government employees and $99 for others.
The world market is a “surprisingly small place,” according to Carl Livesay, chairman of the DEC.
“Businesses perceive that there are overwhelming barriers to exporting goods and services, and that’s just not the case. It is confusing and it can be cumbersome, but if you align yourself with businesses and people who have traveled that path before, they will help light the way,” he said.
The region benefits from transportation systems that easily support trade, including the top-ranking Port of Baltimore and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Livesay also described the area as a “hotbed and innovation and technology.”
“There’s no other area in the country that is better suited, better qualified or has access to stronger resources than we do here in Maryland,” he said.
Ultimately, as more companies in Maryland and Washington, D.C. trade internationally, the more the overall economy will grow and the national trade balance will improve. He said, ”We do not seek to help companies import foreign goods or services into the United States. To put it bluntly, this is about creating permanent, sustainable jobs right here in Maryland.”
Whether you prefer them sunny side up or whipped into an elaborate souffle—eggs play a major role in Maryland’s agriculture economy.
As May is National Egg Month, the Maryland Department of Agriculture is celebrating the Maryland farms that produce nearly 71 million dozen eggs a year. According to the department, Maryland’s combined poultry and egg industry accounts for the state’s largest farm revenue category, measured at $784,237,000 in 2011.
“Eggs are a commodity that can work for both large and small scale producers,” MDA Secretary Buddy Hance said in a statement. “Only nine Maryland egg producers have flocks larger than 3,000 birds. We have another 500 small-flock producers. Together, they produce about 71 million dozen eggs a year while Maryland consumers purchase 72 million dozen a year. We’re very proud of our farmers, large and small, who produce nutritious eggs to help meet the demand in our state.”
Maryland’s Best, a website managed by the MDA, recently produced a behind-the-scenes video at Sauder’s Eggs and Sunnyside Farm in Carroll County, that both produce and process eggs in Maryland.
Find more information, recipes and a prize drawing through Maryland’s Best.
Marylanders celebrated the new super post-Panamax 400-foot cranes at the Port of Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal.
Soaring above the Baltimore skyline, four new 400-foot cranes stand ready to move containers from some of the world’s largest ships.
A widened Panama Canal, expected to be completed by 2015, will allow super post-Panamax ships to travel through Central America. The recent crane installation at the Port of Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal makes it one of just two East Coast ports able to accept and load these container ships, capable of carrying at least 8,000 20-foot containers, at a width of 22 containers or more.
Super post-Panamax ships are already widely used throughout Asia, although access to the East Coast has been stifled by the Panama Canal’s current restrictive width and a scarcity of updated crane and port systems. Improvements in both Panama and American ports are expected to lead to a boom in international trade.
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined private investment partner Christopher Lee, chairman of Ports America Chesapeake and founder and manager of Highstar Capital, and others during a celebration of the cranes on Wednesday morning.
The governor focused on the port’s role as a job creator.
“When it comes to job creation, Maryland is a net winner in trade and that’s why we make this investment. That’s why we crow about the fact that these men and women smoke the competition at 37 lifts an hour. We had the best year on record last year in the Port of Baltimore. More cars, farm machinery and construction equipment came through the Port of Baltimore than any other port in our country, thanks to these men and women. And more imported sugar, aluminum and forest products arrived here than any other port. And out of the 60 ports across the country, we were No. 2 in terms of the amount of coal and iron ore that came through our port. These rankings are important for one reason, and one reason only, and that is jobs—jobs, jobs, jobs,” O’Malley said.
Find video of a portion of the governor’s speech below.
The use of a public-private partnership to facilitate port expansion is historically uncommon, but Baltimore will likely become an example to other states and cities, Lee said.
“This success occurred because this governor didn’t just talk about it. He didn’t just wail and moan and lament the lack of public money. He mobilized the public sector to partner with the government to provide the investment dollars to open this great port to more ships, more economic development and most importantly, more jobs. It was a win for workers, a win for investors and a win for the tax payers and citizens of Maryland,” he said.
Lee said his firm was attracted to investment in the port because it represents long-term stability. ”A port, by definition, is a key strategic asset. We’re the principal port to Washington, D.C., so the revenues here are pretty stable. We also have a 50-year concession from the state, so it’s perfect for what our investors are looking for,” he said.
His interest in the project is personal, as well. Lee, a longtime Baltimore resident and community activist, spoke extensively about the port’s historical significance. He also dedicated one of the cranes to his wife, Susan Ginkel.
“We’ve had some forward thinking people who have attracted some great businesses to our county. We were always known for agriculture, but we now have four industrial parks. We’ve been very successful,” Whaley said.
In recent decades, the county on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, with a population just under 33,000, has attracted major manufacturers like Solo Cup Company, Maryland Plastics, Hanover Foods, Pillsbury and Tri-Gas & Oil. Several privately owned flower farms have been incorporated into Bell Nursery’s network of growers, which supplies Home Depot stores. The number of smaller technology start-ups is also expected to grow within the expanding Caroline Technology Park. The county’s roughly 710 businesses employ 7,310 workers, according to county government reports.
The Caroline Economic Development Commission, a non-profit organization closely associated with county and state government, is currently seeking a qualified individual to continue its legacy of growth. The Director of Economic Development position recently opened and will remain active until June 7. Caroline County government is conducting the hiring process that is scheduled to be completed by July 15.
The job description emphasizes the ability to forge partnerships. It states:
The successful candidate must have the ability to market Caroline County, promote its strengths, and identify weaknesses through the development of a strategic economic development planning process. The ideal candidate must be able to develop and establish partnerships with municipal, county, regional, state, and federal organizations to identify and achieve goals and to collaborate with the Caroline County Chamber of Commerce, the MidShore Regional Council, and the Caroline County Association of Municipalities.
The position also includes assisting businesses, whether they be small businesses or major corporations, through the process of procuring tax incentives. These incentives have played a major role in preventing businesses from migrating to Virginia and North Carolina, according to Whaley.
Funded at $3 million, the Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit provides a refundable tax credit to qualified Maryland cybersecurity companies that seek and secure capital from an in-state or out-of-state investor.
“The passage of the bill is very exciting. It’s going to reinforce the dynamic nature of what’s happening in this industry. We started out largely with government-driven activity in cybersecurity. Now we have a lot of new companies that are developing cybersecurity products for both federal government and government in general, as well as banks, utilities and retailers. And yet, venture capital investors don’t really know much about what’s happening in this community. This is really a way of increasing our profile with those investors, and that’s going to be one of the biggest benefits with this tax credit,” said Ursula S. Powidzki, Maryland DBED Assistant Secretary of Business & Enterprise Development.
Maryland DBED Secretary Dominick Murray said the legislation complements the industry’s comparative advantage in Maryland.
“Cybersecurity is one of our strengths and you always capitalize on your strengths. We have that critical mass here, including one of the most highly educated workforces, especially in math and science. We’ve got the land, air and sea covered, but now there’s this extra domain on the Internet, and Maryland will be able to participate in protecting our nation and our state,” Murray said.
The tax credit also specifically encourages out-of-state investors to contribute to Maryland cybersecurity companies. ”We don’t have all the capital here in the state of Maryland, so we’re encouraging worldwide investment,” he added.
“We want to make it easy to invest in venture funds that will in turn partner and invest our money in Maryland companies,” Murray said.
Since 2012, select Maryland companies and venture capital firms have benefitted from the program, funded by $84 million raised by the state’s first online auction of premium insurance tax credits. Legislators approved adjustments to the program during the 2013 session to ensure proper authorization of investments and allow for easier negotiations with participating venture capital firms.
Governor Martin O’Malley announced that Media Rights Capital started filming the second season of the Netflix series House of Cards in Maryland.
“We are pleased that House of Cards, a critically-acclaimed and ground-breaking series has returned to Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “Season One had an economic impact of more than $140 million and provided jobs for more than 2,200 Marylanders. Together with our leaders in the General Assembly, we’ve expanded the Film Production Tax Credit, and as we welcome the cast and crew back, we also look forward to more job creation and economic opportunity to come.”
Moscow, Russia and Baltimore, Maryland are separated by language, culture and nearly 6,000 miles, yet similarities emerge within each city’s concentration on the life sciences industry.
Thanks to a recently signed memorandum of understanding between Russia’s Pushchino BioTech Cluster and the BioMaryland Center, common ground between life sciences companies in Maryland and regions across Russia is expected to grow. The Pushchino district, in the suburbs of Moscow, represents Russia’s second largest in terms of academic research, with 100 laboratories and 2500 research scientists working in the field of biotechnologies and bio-pharmacology. Likewise, Maryland is home to more than 500 life sciences companies, 59 federal labs and several additional academic and research institutions.
Innovation Working Group members—led by the Russian Deputy Minister of Economy Oleg Fomichev and Special Representative for Business and Commerce of the U.S. Department of State Lorraine Hariton—gathered on April 26 to visit the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore BioPark to explore opportunities for collaboration. They were joined by leaders from the Pushchino BioTech Cluster, several representatives of Maryland and Russia biotech firms and Evgeny V. Chuprunov, the rector of Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod.
Dr. Bruce Jarrell, Chief Academic/ ResearchOfficer, Senior Vice President and Dean of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, Baltimore; and Dr. Mary Ann Rankin, Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs, welcomed the delegation. Dr. E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, Distinguished Professor, and Dean UMD School of Medicine also spoke to the delegation during a special reception.
The program on April 26 included several presentations and tours of the BioPark facility and Maryland Forensic Medical Center.
“We are very pleased to welcome the Innovation Working Group to Maryland, and have the opportunity to showcase our world-class universities and expanding life science community, as well as share approaches to economic development,” said Dr. Judith Britz, Executive Director of the BioMaryland Center, said in a statement. “As a global bioscience leader, Maryland is looking forward to collaborating with the Pushchino BioTech Cluster to identify opportunities for partnering together on joint research and economic development initiatives.”
“We are very elated to see that one of the Innovation Working Group initiatives has come to fruition,” Svetlana Infimovskaya, Deputy Executive Director, Association of Innovative Regions of Russia, said in a statement. “Collaboration of Pushchino BioTech Cluster and BioMaryland Center will open an opportunity to join efforts in research and economic development.”
“We are proud to have the BioMaryland Center and Pushchino as partners in the U.S.-Russia Innovation Working Group,” Lorraine Hariton, Special Representative of Commercial and Business Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, said in a statement. “These types of partnerships between regions in the United States and regions in Russia exemplify the very best of the Bilateral Presidential Commission. We hope that the BioMaryland Center-Pushchino memorandum of understanding will serve as a model for other regions.”
Find highlights from program’s presentations in the above video.