Mtech Ventures, Association of University Research Parks and Center for Accelerating Innovation win $50K in SBA funding to support Opportunity Zone innovation
Mtech Ventures, a University of Maryland technology company incubator program, won a $50,000 U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund competition award to support innovation in federal Opportunity Zones in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.
Through the grant, Mtech Ventures is partnering with the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) and the Center for Accelerating Innovation to organize community-needs roundtables, identify promising innovations, develop entrepreneurs and build awareness of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Tech Transfer (STTR) program in low-income census tracts called federal Opportunity Zones (OZ). Maryland has 149 Opportunity Zones, while the District of Columbia has 25. Federal tax incentives for new investments are available in these zones.
"We are truly excited to leverage Mtech’s technology commercialization capabilities and resources to support startups in local Opportunity Zones,” said Mtech Ventures Director Satish Tamboli. “We aspire to make a significant impact in solving some of the most challenging problems in our distressed communities through entrepreneurial leadership and innovation.”
This SBA grant adds to Mtech Ventures’ capabilities to connect innovators, investors and entrepreneurs to the needs of OZ communities to attract more investment capital in facilities and businesses. The initial effort will be geared towards start-ups and projects in Opportunity Zones located in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, especially around anchor institutions, research parks, innovation districts, emerging accelerators and places for growth companies to locate. Funds will not be invested in entrepreneurs’ small businesses or projects.
The SBA Growth Accelerator competition focused on incubators and accelerators that work with high-tech entrepreneurs that are potential Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Tech Transfer (STTR) program applicants. A total of $3 million was allocated by the SBA to accelerators and incubators across 39 states. Fifteen of the awards, including the Mtech Ventures grant, went to accelerators across the U.S. that support startups, entrepreneurs, and innovation in Opportunity Zones.
Opportunity Zones have the potential to attract new capital in real estate development and investment in technology businesses in the U.S. over the next seven years. The State of Maryland has created its own state incentives and an OZ portal.
About Mtech Ventures
Mtech Ventures is a University of Maryland incubator for technology-based innovations commercialized at the university. Mtech Ventures helps early-stage startups survive the critical period in their development between conducting customer discovery and raising their first round of venture capital. The Mtech Ventures facility offers affordable space and hands-on mentoring for early stage companies. Companies involved in the program also benefit from the extensive facilities and services available from the University System of Maryland, one of the country’s largest public research and teaching systems.
About the Association of University Research Parks (AURP)
The Association of University Research Parks (AURP), a global nonprofit, represents research parks, innovation district and communities of innovation in the U.S., Canada and around the world. Founded by the research park directors at Stanford University, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, Texas A&M, RPI and others, AURP has grown to represent university research parks, federal labs, corporations and localities building communities of innovation in 42 states and 13 countries. AURP is working on a national Opportunity Zone Accelerator focused on the role of anchor institutions in OZs. AURP has its principal offices at the University of Arizona Tech Parks, Tucson, Az., and at its Washington, D.C.-area office at the University of Maryland Discovery District in College Park, Md.
About the Center for Accelerating Innovation
The Center for Accelerating Innovation partners with businesses, universities, non-profits, and government agencies to accelerate innovation, entrepreneurship, industry clusters and sustainability. The Center has worked on solving complex policy, strategic and operational challenges associated with maintaining US technology leadership, competitiveness, talent, manufacturing and broadband at the federal, state and local levels. A special initiative is now underway to engage the US innovation ecosystem to play a larger role in revitalizing low-income, high poverty communities designated as Opportunity Zones.
February 11, 2020