The Maryland Technology Development Corp. is searching for a firm to assess Maryland’s current economic development strategy and make recommendations to help shape the creation of a possible $500 million fund.
TEDCO issued a request for proposal (RFP) for firms to conduct the study earlier this week. The research will be used by TEDCO to help create draft legislation for the Maryland Equitech Growth Fund, which has a recommended minimum of $500 million worth of public investment over a 10-year period. The study is being done at the behest of the Maryland legislature, which called on TEDCO to create the report.
“We’re nowhere near defining what the fund is going to look like,” TEDCO CEO Troy LeMaile-Stovall said. “This study is going to talk about the need for it, what the investment is going to look like and what that structure could look like.”
The legislation will be created in partnership with the Maryland Economic Development Corp. and the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority along with other industry, university, and representative community groups. Upsurge Baltimore, an organization started last year with the goal of making Baltimore a top-tier tech city with inclusiveness and equity in mind, is also involved in the project.
“There was a coalition who worked on putting together an approach for the state to think about how to build investment for diverse entrepreneurs, along with some of the other work of equitech, and how that was going to align with the efforts that we and others are taking to build more job pathways into tech,” Upsurge CEO Jamie McDonald said.
Along with recommendations for the creation of the fund, TEDCO hopes to use the final report to begin a statewide planning process to build Maryland into a top 10 fastest growing innovation economy by 2033 and a top global innovation economy by 2050.
LeMaile-Stovall said the study is supposed to provide a birds-eye view of the Maryland ecosystem, identify where investments should be made to help grow the Maryland economy and examine what funding mechanisms are required, rather than just on the fund itself.
“This is less focused on trying to create a fund,” LeMaile-Stovall said. “And more of a focus on how we create an ecosystem.”
Similar studies conducted in the United States focus on specific regions like Minneapolis or Pittsburgh, instead of a whole state, he added.
The selected firm will analyze Maryland’s national competitiveness in the cyber, biohealth and advanced and emerging technology industries and determine the effectiveness of publicly financed advanced industry investment in other states.Another aim of the research is to create recommendations to achieve a 10-year goal of raising minority participation in the advanced technology sector, along with the number of minorities in STEM education and minority entrepreneurs in startups, to a level equal to overall minority participation in the workforce. The research also requires an analysis of minority community wealth with recommendations on how to raise the amount of resident-owned businesses and housing.
Along with looking at existing data from national and statewide publications, the firm will make recommendations for future studies that could fill in the gaps needed to assess the effectiveness of Maryland’s economic development strategy.
“The point of the study is to answer the question of where Maryland should be competitive and what does that competitiveness look like,” LeMaile-Stovall said. “And where we are lacking and what investments need to be made.”
TEDCO plans to spend between $80,000 to $200,000 on the service. The submission deadline for the RFP is Aug. 1, with the final report due on Dec. 30.
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