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Mtech was established as the Engineering Research Center, an outreach arm of the A. James Clark School of Engineering designed to leverage the University of Maryland's resources to help companies and contribute to the Maryland economy. The ERC would continue as a primarily industry-focused outreach center until 2000, when it adpoted an increased emphasis on entrepreneurship education and venture-building. In 2002, it became an institute at the University of Maryland and was renamed the Maryland Technology Entreprise Institute, also known as Mtech today.
Mtech's first program, modeled after UMD's Agricultural Extension Service, was created to help Maryland manufacturers succeed. MTES was a cost-effective, objective resource. Later, MTES became Maryland’s affiliate of the federal NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), drawing upon a national network of solution providers, as well as the expertise of the entire University System of Maryland. MTES was later reorganized and its name was changed to University of Maryland Manufacturing Assistance Program (UMMAP). Service areas included: Lean Manufacturing/Productivity, Sustainability, Growth and Technical Solutions. The program was phased out in 2014; nevertheless, UMMAP was successful in its efforts, serving more than 500 Maryland companies and helping them create or retain 2,040 jobs, with an overall economic impact of $383 million from 2000 to 2012.
The state’s first technology business incubator, TAP offers high-tech and biotech laboratory and office space, complemented by a staff of seasoned veterans of startups and VC firms. More than 100 companies have graduated from the incubator, including Martek Biosciences and Digene Corporation, both of whom have had billion dollar exits. TAP was run from an elaborate trailer system in the parking lot outside of what is now the Jeong H. Kim Engineeering Building until 1997, when 387 Technology Drive, the modern building that now houses TAP and additional Mtech Ventures activities, was built.
The Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility was created to help Maryland companies, as well as university and federal researchers, scale-up biotechnology products efficiently and inexpensively. The BSF would later be expanded to include yearly workshops on Fermentation, Downstream Processing and Cell Culture, as well as customized trainings for companies such as MedImmune. A second facility dedicated to Cell Culture technologies was opened in Shady Grove in 2010.
The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program accelerates the commercialization of technology in Maryland by jointly funding collaborative R&D projects between Maryland companies and University System of Maryland (plus Morgan State University and St. Mary’s College of Maryland) faculty. MIPS provides funding, matched by participating companies, for university-based research projects that help companies develop new products. MIPS and company funds both go to the university researchers. The program has supported research projects with more than 500 different Maryland companies since 1987. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS have generated more than $28.1 billion in revenue, added more than 5,000 jobs to the state, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc's mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical's diseased-tissue ablation platform.
ASPIRE seeks to broaden the educational experience of undergraduate engineering students through direct involvement in real-world engineering projects. ASPIRE offers students a unique opportunity to venture beyond the classroom through collaboration with engineering faculty and staff on mutually interesting projects with industry relevance. In addition to its intrinsic educational value, ASPIRE gives students a competitive edge when applying for jobs or graduate study.Students perfrom research during the Fall and/or Spring semesters under the guidance of an engineering faculty or staff mentor. ASPIRE awardees receive a scholarship of $1,000 for each semester project.
As the nation’s first living-learning entrepreneurship program, the Hinman CEOs Program is a groundbreaking initiative placing entrepreneurially-minded students from all technical and non-technical academic disciplines in a unique community. Students live together, learn about entrepreneurship, and can launch new ventures. The mission of the Hinman CEOs Program is to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, create a sense of community and cooperation, and develop ethical leaders. All undergraduates from the University of Maryland, College Park are invited to apply for this competitive program. Brian Hinman, University of Maryland A. James Clark School of Engineering alumnus and successful entrepreneur, provided funding to initiate and support the Program.
Mtech offered its first entrepreneurship course in 2001. Since then, these efforts have grown to include an average of 20 entrepreneurship courses offered each year across the spectrum of Mtech's programs and across the university. These include the Hinman CEOS, EIP and Hillman Entrepreneurs programs, Minor in Technology Entrepreneurship, Master of Technology Entrepreneurship, Coursera course, and summer Young Scholars programs.
Launched in 2001, the annual Technology Startup Boot Camp was an intensive, one-day workshop on how to launch a technology-based company. The event drew between 400-600 entrepreneurs each year for more than a decade from UMD, local universities and throughout the region.The Boot Camp was created as part of an initial plan to bookend each school year with an entrepreneurship-related event. During the Fall semester, the Boot Camp would introduce students and faculty to the idea of starting a company. A series of workshops held throughout the year would then further explore key concepts and prepare potential entrepreneurs to enter the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition/UMD Business Model Challenge in the spring.
Started in 2001, the University of Maryland $75 Business Plan Competition was created to promote the commercialization of innovative ideas and university-created technologies by offering faculty and students prizes for the best new venture plans. The competition has emphasized learning through coaching and the experience of presenting ideas to an expert panel of judges.Since its inception in 2001, the BPC has awarded $705,500 in prizes to University of Maryland faculty, students, and alumni to help them launch their innovative new ventures.Previous winners include five multi-million dollar ventures, two of which have made the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies.In 2013, the competition was renamed the University of Maryland Business Model Challenge, growing in focus to include methodologies drawn from the Lean Startup movement.
Launched in 2005, the VentureAccelerator program helps University of Maryland inventors get their research out of the starting blocks and racing down the track toward successful venture creation. Through this intensive program, Mtech Ventures team members work with 2-3 companies at a time based upon technology developed at the University of Maryland and aggressively help them succeed.While at VentureAccelerator, many companies take advantage of other initiatives offered by Mtech, including the Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility, MIPS funding for product development, and now DC I-Corps.
The Young Scholars Program hosts high school students from throughout the U.S. and the world to a pre-college experience at the University of Maryland. Rising high school juniors and seniors with exceptional ability and promise pursue academic interests, discover career opportunities, and earn three university credits. The three-week program offers residential and commuter options to students. Students earn three college credits upon successful completion of the course. Mtech began offering ENES 140, Discovering New Ventures, in 2005. Through this three-week summer course, high school students work in teams to develop an original new venture concept and deliver an investor presentation.
The David H. and Suzanne D. Hillman Family Foundation created the Hillman Entrepreneurs program by partnering with the University of Maryland in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Prince George’s Community College (PGCC). Since 2006, the Program has supported students who might not otherwise be able to afford a college education by starting their college career at PGCC on full scholarships, including books, and then supporting them in a seamless transfer to UMD in pursuit of their bachelor’s degrees. In 2014, this program was transferred to the Office of Undergraduate Studies at UMD.
In 2006, stewardship of the Myers Building, located next to the College Park Airport and across from the College Park Metro Station, was passed to Mtech to establish second-stage incubator space for TAP graduate, UMD and local companies.
Launched in 2009, Mtech offers free office hours for entrepreneurs in the region once a month, during a two-hour time slot, on the second Tuesday of each month. Since that time, more than 1,000 entrepreneurs have registered for this service, not counting the multitude of walk-ins experienced each month. Entrepreneur Office Hours have also served as a platform for pulling together resources from both the university in the region, as teams of advisors are needed to meet with such a large influx of current and aspiring entrepreneurs. In 2014, Entrepreneur Office Hours were expanded to a Baltimore location on the third Tuesday of each month.
Funded by SAIC, this grant was offered annually as seed capital for VentureAccelerator companies with innovative alternative energy and threat detection technology.
The Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund, supported by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and administered by Mtech, invests into Maryland-based startup companies with innovative technologies that may help improve air and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay area. Fund recipients are jointly selected by Mtech and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
MI2 assists international companies (12-18, typically) in establishing a presence in Maryland by offering premium office space and a broad array of business services, in addition to connecting them with UMD faculty, students, and Maryland companies for collaboration. The Maryland International Incubator is located next to the University of Maryland, College Park campus on Route 1.
Managed by the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and located in the TAP Building in College Park, the Maryland Intellectual Property Legal Resource Center offers free legal services to Maryland entrepreneurs, including assistance with patent applications, prior art searches, license agreements, non-disclosure agreements, company formation, and more. The Center delivers legal services primarily through law students, who practice under the supervision of experienced faculty members.
The TERP Startup Lab is a coworking space for University of Maryland faculty, students, and regional entrepreneurs who are too early for or don’t yet meet the requirements for the VentureAccelerator or Technology Advancement Program, but need a place where they can quickly develop their technology prototypes and get some help to start their companies. The TERP Startup Lab is located in Mtech’s Technology Advancement Program incubator building, at the University of Maryland.
Supported by serial entrepreneur Warren Citrin, this program provides full-ride fellowships for master’s or doctoral engineering students looking to start companies based on research in sustainability. All fellows are automatically accepted into the VentureAccelartor Program and receive a dedicated mentor.
Based on the growing demand for undergraduate programs and courses in entrepreneurship and innovation, Mtech introduced the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) in fall 2010. In contrast to the Hinman CEOs Program’s focus on juniors and seniors, the EIP is exclusively designed for freshmen and sophomores. When entrepreneurship and innovation are introduced early, the knowledge gained significantly impacts direction towards more entrepreneurial and innovative careers. This knowledge combines with the community to create a dynamic hub for entrepreneurial skills building and innovative venturing. This living-learning, Honors-based Program is a natural extension of Hinman CEOs and filled a gap in the entrepreneurship and innovation offerings for underclassmen.
The Young Scholars Discovery Program enrolls rising eighth and ninth grade students at the University of Maryland. For two challenging weeks, academically talented students explore career opportunities, engage with experts in innovative fields, collaborate during interactive seminars, and learn about university life at Maryland. The Program offers residential and commuter options to students. Students earn a non-credit certificate upon completion of the course instead of college credit. Courses offered by Mtech within the Young Scholars Discovery Program include EXST 011 Designing Your Own Business. Course topics include the basic business, strategy, and leadership skills needed to launch new ventures.
The goal of the Minor in Technology Entrepreneurship is to infuse technology-creating students with that knowledge and its accompanying skills. Armed with an entrepreneurial mind-set, technology creators drive economic growth by launching successful ventures and bringing life-changing products and services to market.The Minor in Technology Entrepreneurship develops the entrepreneurial mind-set and functional skill sets of students to improve their ability to create, launch, and manage technology ventures. Students earn the minor by completing 15 credits of coursework which focuses on entrepreneurial opportunity analysis, marketing high-technology products, strategies for managing innovation, and international entrepreneurship and innovation.
The Startup Shell was launched in May 2012 by three entrepreneurial students, who were provided 670 sq. ft. of former equipment storage space to address their request for a student-led space where they could work together to create a multidisciplinary community of innovators focused on creating projects, events, classes, and companies to better meet the rapidly growing needs of the student entrepreneurs on campus. The Shell's initial success, with dozens of companies operating in facility at any point in time, helped students win approval to double its space in fall 2014.
Taught by Mtech and offered through Coursera, Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies is the #1 entrepreneurship course on Coursera, according to CourseTalk, with more than 500,000 students worldwide enrolled since 2013. This course assists aspiring entrepreneurs in developing great ideas into great companies.
DC Innovation Corps (I-Corps), is a National Science Foundation-backed program aimed at translating the region's vibrant research community into successful startups and licensed technologies. DC I-Corps guides entrepreneurial teams through the Silicon Valley-tested Lean Startup Model, which emphasizes developing a Minimal Viable Product, gathering extensive feedback from potential customers (a minimum of 75), pivoting and iterating. Teams seek a product-market fit for their innovation while developing a repeatable and scalable business model. DC I-Corps is a joint effort of the University of Maryland, the George Washington University, Virginia Tech, and Johns Hopkins University. The program was later expanded to include the DC I-Corps Accelerator, which offeres continued support to teams completing the initial program.
The goal of Mtech Baltimore is to direct, coordinate and encourage connections between the University of Maryland and the University of Maryand, Baltimore in the biomedical arena, particularly engaging engineering, medicine, pharmacy, law, business and other colleges within both universities. The program also aims to provide direction and support for Mtech’s activities into Baltimore, using Mtech’s capabilities to create an innovation ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs turn novel ideas into sustainable businesses.
The 30-credit, 15-month Master of Technology Entrepreneurship, available online to current and aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide, features the university's most advanced and comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum to date, taking students from concept development and prototyping to business model generation and customer validation, as well as legal aspects of entrepreneurship, financial and innovation management, and effective growth strategies.
The Rapid Prototyping Center is home to three higher-end machines, electronics prototyping equipment, several high-powered desktop workstations for CAD, and high-accuracy measurement equipment. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to come visit this space and discuss project ideas or existing projects with lab managers. The Rapid Prototyping Lab is Terrapin Works' main hub of collaboration.
The University of Maryland MakerBot Innovation Center is a centralized, scalable 3D printing space that empowers everyone to invent, innovate, iterate, and replicate. With the establishment of the MakerBot Innovation Center, students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community are given a unique opportunity to learn about the benefits that 3D printing can provide, both inside and outside the research/prototyping setting. The Innovation Center boosts innovation by building capability while concentrating resources and knowledge in one centralized location that everyone can use.
The University of Maryland has partnered with several student and alumni startup companies to create the area’s first “Startup Village.” Part of the university’s Greater College Park initiative to rapidly revitalize the Baltimore Avenue corridor and academic campus, the Startup Village was created to help bridge the gap for student and alumni entrepreneurs as they grow their business ideas on campus and work toward launching them in the market.