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The latest Maryland business news:

Gov. Martin O’Malley presented on Tuesday $765,000 in matching grants to fourteen Maryland nonprofit and government entities in support of fifteen War of 1812 bicentennial projects.

“The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake and the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner are important chapters in our history as a state and as a nation,” said Gov. O’Malley. “I want to thank the grant recipient organizations for their commitment to telling this story and using these funds to invest in community revitalization, tourism development and job growth in Maryland.”

Star-Spangled 200 grantees celebrate Maryland Day at the State House.

Governor O’Malley and Star-Spangled 200 grantees celebrate Maryland Day at the State House.

The grants, supplemented by more than $2.5 million in matching funds, will support capital improvement, visitor experience, programming and education projects that expand economic development and tourism-related job creation throughout the State.

“From the kick off to this year’s Chesapeake Campaign in St. Mary’s County to the Bicentennial Living American Flag with 6,700 school children at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, these grants will bring the bicentennial to life in 2014,” said Bill Pencek, executive director, Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

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BALTIMORE, MD (March 25, 2014) – The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) announced today that 12 startup companies have advanced to the final round of the InvestMaryland Challenge, the State’s national business competition. The finalists are competing for $100,000 top prizes in four categories — Information Technology, Life Sciences, General Industry, and, new this year, Cybersecurity. All companies who entered the Challenge are eligible for more than $300,000 in other prizes, including grants, software and lab and incubator space. The winners will be announced in May.

“Congratulations to the finalists and all the companies that advanced in the InvestMaryland Challenge. To stand out from the field of 260 applicants is an achievement in itself and a testament to the strength of the companies competing for the top prizes,” said Dominick Murray, DBED Secretary. “For two years in a row, Maryland has been named the #1 state in the country for innovation and entrepreneurship and companies like those competing in this Challenge are the reason why. They are the future leaders of Maryland’s Innovation Economy and we are proud to support them as they grow and create jobs.”

Now in its second year, the InvestMaryland Challenge drew 260 applicants, including 29 companies from 11 other states and Washington D.C. The field was narrowed over two rounds of judging by more than 80 investors, successful entrepreneurs, business executives and other members of the Maryland startup community. In early March, panels of judges interviewed 41 semifinalists — 14 in IT, 10 in Life Sciences, 11 in General Industry and six in Cybersecurity — and selected the 12 finalists from that pool. IT, Life Sciences and Cybersecurity were open to only Maryland companies. The General category was open to out-of-state companies as well as Maryland companies.

IT Finalists: Continue Reading…

The latest Maryland business news:

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), through the Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), has invested $75,000 in CoFoundersLab, a Rockville startup that provides an online matchmaking service for entrepreneurs. The MVF investment was made with funds raised byInvestMarylandone of Governor Martin O’Malley’s key economic development initiatives. A public-private partnership between the State and venture capital firms,InvestMaryland raised $84 million to reinvigorate the State-run MVF and support the growth of young Maryland companies in biotechnology, cybersecurity, e-commerce and other high-growth industries.

“CoFoundersLab is an innovative, exciting young company and a valuable resource for their fellow entrepreneurs. Having a strong team in place is often the most important ingredient in a startup’s success,” said Dominick Murray, DBED Secretary. “Entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses are the engine that drives Maryland’s economy and keeps our State competitive. We are proud to make this investment in CoFoundersLab and look forward to their success, and the success of the companies they touch.”

“We’re delighted to gain the support of the Maryland Venture Fund to help CoFoundersLab achieve its ambitious plans for growth. InvestMaryland has proven to be one of the most progressive state programs to help foster startups activity, the engine for job creation,” said Shahab Kaviani, Cofounder and CEO of CoFoundersLab. “With this investment we’ll continue to improve our matching algorithm and launch events in more cities so the best founding teams can unite to launch new business and create jobs for Maryland and beyond.”

CoFoundersLab is the world’s largest online community of entrepreneurs and helps them discover and connect with more than 25,000 cofounders, advisers, and interns to launch and grow new businesses. Members make connections through an online matching site at CoFoundersLab.com and through in-person matchup events hosted in more than 35 cities across the globe. Its success stories include ReelGenie, an online service based in Silver Spring that creates videos from a customer’s videos and photos. ReelGenie received a $150,000 investment from the MVF in July 2013. CoFoundersLab has also provided Premium Memberships to all 41 companies that advanced to the second round of the InvestMaryland Challenge, Maryland’s national business competition.

Created by Governor O’Malley and passed by the General Assembly in 2011, InvestMaryland is the largest venture capital investment initiative in Maryland’s history. In March 2012, the State raised $84 million for the program through an online auction of tax credits to Maryland insurance companies. Two-thirds of the funding – $56 million – is being managed by carefully screened private venture firms that will invest the funds and, if successful, return 100% of the principal and 80% of the profits to the State’s general fund. The remaining third of the InvestMaryland capital is largely allocated to direct investments by the state-run Maryland Venture Fund.

The Maryland Venture Fund is a regionally recognized leader in seed and early-stage investing and a national model for state-supported investment programs. With nearly two decades of experience and numerous successful investments, MVF invests in highly innovative technology companies across the full range of industry sectors including software, communications, cybersecurity and life sciences companies in the areas of healthcare IT, medical devices and diagnostics.

The latest Maryland business news:

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 5, 2013) – Governor Martin O’Malley joined Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral Filho last night to sign an agreement to share best practices for keeping both the Chesapeake Bay and Rio’s Guanabara Bay clean, healthy and sustainable. The agreement aims to connect the more than three decades of experience Maryland has in restoring the Chesapeake Bay with the current challenges that Rio faces with improving the water quality of Guanabara Bay in time for the 2016 Olympics. The agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the two Governors in March 2011 and a cooperative effort that began earlier this year between Maryland’s Secretaries of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Environmental Secretary and State Environmental Institute (INEA) in Rio.

“We’ve made tremendous progress cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and today, we’re building on that progress by sharing our experiences with our counterparts here in Brazil,” said Governor O’Malley. ”From BayStat  to restoring our signature blue crab and creating hundreds of green jobs across our state, Maryland’s programs are leading the way to a greener, more sustainable future.” Continue Reading…

Maryland added 6,200 private sector jobs in June, and 4,300 total to continue the state’s streak of strong job creation in 2013, according to figures released Thursday afternoon by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Over the last 12 months, Maryland has added 42,800 jobs, a 1.7 percent increase. Since the bottom of the recession, Maryland added back 99.4 percent of the jobs lost to the downturn.

“Last month, Maryland’s businesses created 6,200 new jobs. Together, as a state, we’ve now recovered more than 99 percent of the jobs lost in the national economic downturn — a significant step forward in our job creation and recovery efforts,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a written statement. “Thanks to the better choices we’ve made together, all three bond rating agencies recently affirmed Maryland’s fiscally responsible approach by certifying our State as one of only nine with a Triple A bond rating. But there are still too many moms and dads out of work, and that’s why the most important job we create is the next one. The O’Malley-Brown Administration is committed to investing in the skills, talents, innovation and creativity of our people so that we can continue to strengthen and grow our State’s economy, and move forward by expanding opportunity for our diverse and growing middle class.”

The leisure and hospitality sector added 3,200 jobs and education, health care and social assistance added 1,800 to lead the private sector growth. Other sectors posted smaller gains or declined. Government employment declined by 1,900 in June.

Labor officials also revised higher the preliminary estimate of Maryland’s job growth in May, leaving the state with an increase of 6,500 jobs that month rather than the 4,600 originally reported.

bytegridWith a headquarters in Silver Spring and recent acquisitions in the South and Midwest, data center company Bytegrid is conducting expansion by consolidation.

The company announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Labor has begun migrating data to Bytegrid’s Silver Spring facility, a low, sprawling complex with security fences, biometric locks and massive generators to protect more than 90,000 square feet of server rooms. The move comes as part of a seven-year, $59.4 million contract won by Lockheed Martin and Bytegrid to consolidate the functions of several data centers run by agencies under the department’s umbrella.

The Obama Administration launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) in February 2010 to cut $2.4 billion in data storage, software and IT support costs. The goal is to eliminate or consolidate nearly 1,200 federal data centers by 2015.

“We see this as a huge opportunity for us,” said Don Goodwin, Bytegrid’s executive vice president of leasing and marketing. “This is just a beginning of a lot more to come.”

The company has already worked with other federal customers and is seeking other FDCCI contracts. Executives hope their work with Labor will showcase Bytegrid’s ability to successfully transfer large amounts of critical data from federal data centers to those run by the company.

“Having this success under our belt here will serve us very well,” said Bytegrid President Manuel Mencia. “It will give other agencies some comfort. The process is proven.”

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Baltimore-based Light Point Security is competing in the InvestMaryland Challenge.

Baltimore-based Light Point Security is competing in the InvestMaryland Challenge.

Light Point Security, a Baltimore cybersecurity company, was tapped Monday for the Wall Street Journal’s first “Startup of the Year” competition that pits 24 young companies from across the country against one another in series of tasks and challenges.

Light Point and its fellow competitors will be assessed “on the basis of their firms’ scalability, long-term viability, originality and distinctiveness of their products and services, utility, and ability to perform tasks we and our mentors set for them,” according to newspaper. (More on the contest here.)

Startups will be pared from the pool over 20 weeks until one is named “Startup of the Year.” Sir Richard Branson, of the Virgin Group, AOL cofounder Steve Case and other big-name entrepreneurs will serve as mentors throughout the competition.

“We are honored that Light Point Security’s innovative technology earned the attention of The Wall Street Journal,” Beau Adkins, cofounder and CEO of Light Point, said in a statement. “Our unique approach to protecting companies from web-based malware has already been embraced by the security industry, and it is encouraging to see that it is also gaining recognition among the mainstream media. We congratulate the 23 other startups selected for this prestigious honor, and look forward to engaging with them and the amazing mentors.”

Light Point uses virtualization and cloud computing technologies to protect its clients from malware. Its product, according to the company, creates “virtual computers” within each employee’s machine to handle web browsing. After use, the “virtual computers” are destroyed, meaning no malware ever reaches the actual computer.

Maryland added 4,600 new jobs in May, according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted figures released Friday morning by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

So far this year, Maryland has added jobs in four out of five months. Most of May’s new jobs, some 2,800, were added in the private sector. Since May 2012, the private sector has expanded by 31,100 jobs. Overall, Maryland has added 35,600 jobs during that time, an increase of 1.6 percent.

“As a state, we have now recovered over 95 percent of the jobs lost during the Bush recession – another step toward our goal to recover every job we’ve lost during the downturn by the end of 2014,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a statement. “In Maryland, we continue to target our skills and investment pipeline to bolster the life sciences, biotech, cyber security, space and aerospace, global trade, and advanced manufacturing because we know that to move forward in our jobs recovery, we must make the better choices to grow our Innovation Economy. Though this jobs report is promising, there are still too many moms and dads out of work. That’s why together, we must continue to give our highly-skilled and educated workforce the tools they need to compete and expand the ranks of our diverse and upwardly-mobile middle class.”

The professional and business services sector led the way in May with 4,000 new jobs, while trade, transportation, warehousing and utilities added 2,200. Information, a small sector, added 400 jobs. Leisure and hospitality also added 400.

Government employment increased by 1,800, with 1,200 state and 700 federal jobs added. Local government employment dipped  100.

The unemployment rate ticked higher in May, to 6.7 percent, as more Marylanders entered the labor force.

Labor officials also revised last month’s employment report, reporting a decline of 4,900 jobs in April, down from the 6,200 job decline that was first reported.

Fifes and a drummer greet Cross Tech attendees at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Fifes and a drummer greet Cross Tech attendees at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Some 200 cybersecurity executives from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom gathered in Annapolis in mid-June for Cross Tech, a two-day conference at which attendees discussed cyber solutions and showcased collaborations in information assurance between the private and public sectors.

The event, held June 10 and 11 at the U.S. Naval Academy, was part of Maryland’s bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 and celebrated the evolution of Canada and the United Kingdom from adversaries of the United States to the invaluable allies they are today.

Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, Deputy Commander, U.S. Cyber Command

Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, Deputy Commander, U.S. Cyber Command

Cross Tech featured presentations by top cybersecurity officials and executives, including Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command; Rear Admiral David G. Simpson, vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency; Charlie McMurdie, former detective superintendent of Scotland Yard; Michael Daniel, President Obama’s cybersecurity coordinator; and Steve Hawkins, Raytheon vice president and general manager of cyber.

Cyber executives from Canada and the United Kingdom were also given the opportunity to present their technologies and companies to U.S. experts in hopes of developing international connections, partnerships and business opportunities.

Cybersecurity entrepreneurs, experts and officials gather at the Cross Tech conference, held at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Cybersecurity entrepreneurs, experts and officials gather at the Cross Tech conference, held at the U.S. Naval Academy.

For more information on Maryland’s commemoration of the War of 1812, visit starspangled200.org. Click here for more photos from the Cross Tech conference.