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Maryland technology group TEDCO stresses accountability under new leadership | COMMENTARY

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation, or TEDCO, provides resources and connections that early stage technology and life sciences companies need to thrive in Maryland.
The Maryland Technology Development Corporation, or TEDCO, provides resources and connections that early stage technology and life sciences companies need to thrive in Maryland. (CSIRO // Wikimedia Commons)

During the last year, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) has made significant changes to enhance our leadership, update our programs and reinforce our core values to better serve universities, entrepreneurs and the technology sector in our state. We place great pride in our values as they guide our efforts and interactions with people inside and outside of our organization. They are critical to our mission and for serving our stakeholders.

During these challenging times as our world, nation, state and communities are coping with a health crisis, an economic crisis and social justice issues, it is time for each and every one of us to step up and be accountable for our actions. With the recent hiring of a new CEO and executive director, we at TEDCO are ready to move forward and help entrepreneurs, counties and our state. We are ready to leverage our outstanding people, technologies, universities and companies and lead innovation to market.

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When discussing TEDCO’s core values, first and foremost, it is important to talk about enhancing our accountability, or how we spend public funds, invest in the next generation of research and technologies, measure our impact, and openly report it to our stakeholders.

Part of our accountability is to adhere to our mission to enhance economic development by fostering an inclusive and entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. We manage many programs at TEDCO and they all have a unique mission, distinctive ecosystems and they address communities or a unique tech sector. But we also try to identify, support, fund or invest in, and help grow new technology companies in Maryland.

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We also ensure that accountability is ingrained throughout the organization, that means recording and reporting our data, what works and sometimes what doesn’t work. We share this data on our website, with other agencies, other states and the public through testimonies, meetings and annual reports. We also comply with the Maryland public meetings act, and many of our board and commission meetings are open to the public. We publish minutes from those meetings regularly.

But for us accountability is not just the measuring and reporting of our activities. Accountability as a core value is the continuous improvements of our actions to advance our programs and create value. We routinely review and comply with our statute and policies that we and our oversight boards have implemented. Throughout all our programs we assess our guidelines and operations to identify gaps and plans to address them with new policies and procedures.

Through these actions our advisory services programs are able to serve entrepreneurs in every county in our state. Our Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund supported research and commercialization targeting 24 diseases in just the past year, including stem cell injection into the stump site of amputees to try to help the more than 2 million amputees in the U.S. Our flagship technology transfer program, the Maryland Innovation Initiative, was able to increase our universities' start-up formation by 31%. And through our multiple federal programs, we leverage our state investments with non-state funding to enhance our reach.

Accountability means that in our investment programs we don’t just count the number of applications, we track diversity in terms of the number of women, minority and disadvantaged founders. We are accountable for the capital we invested in each company, in total, and the amount of follow-on capital, and we make sure Maryland jobs are created in those companies.

We all at TEDCO will continue to track, record and measure our activities and the progress our programs make. We’ll continue to improve our service and are ready to assist the next wave of entrepreneurs. As we move forward, we are ready for the legislators to bestow upon us new programs and new initiatives and help Maryland grow.

Dan Gincel (dgincel@tedco.md) is vice president for university partnerships at the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and executive director of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund.

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