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Entrepreneurship Invitational

College Park, MD

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you all very much,… It’s always great to be here in College Park.

To President Loh, Dean Anandalingam, Dean Pines,  Chairman Walsh, and everyone with the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship  – thank you for your commitment and the commitment of the University of Maryland to making Maryland’s children winners in this changing new economy.

To Mike Binko, Julie Lenzer, and everyone with the Startup Maryland board, thank you for such a great kick-off to today’s event.

To Kevin Plank and everyone with Under Armor,… to Rob McGovern and everyone with Jobfox,… to Sam Medile and everyone with Propark America and to Michael Schwab and everyone with D &H Distributing,…to Ro Parra and everyone with Daylight Partners, . . .  to all the judges, sponsors, contestants and to all of you – thank you for your commitment to job creation in Maryland, thank you for your commitment to opportunity in Maryland, and thank you for your commitment to entrepreneurship in the State of Maryland.

Bethesda’s own Tom Friedman says “we must become a nation of starter-uppers.”  We agree.  And since we’re at one of the world’s greatest universities, I thought I’d offer an equation: “education + entrepreneurship = jobs.”  “Education + entrepreneurship” also equals greater opportunity.  And jobs plus opportunity equal a better quality of life, both for ourselves and for the next generation.

Maryland: Creating Jobs

Marylanders are an entrepreneurial people.  You don’t have to take the word of our State’s braggadocios governor:  a recent study found that more than one in four Marylanders have either founded or partnered in a new business, many in the last several years.

But you and I are here because we believe we can do even better.

I have some good news to share with you – and it’s hot off the presses.  We’ve just learned that over the last year, the people of our State created new 47,000 jobs!  We have now recovered nearly 80% of the jobs we lost during the Bush recession.  The nation as a whole has recovered 39%.  Our neighbors in Virginia have recovered 63%.  But here in Maryland we’re at nearly 80%.

If you think about it, there is no reason why our State shouldn’t lead all states in entrepreneurship and job creation,… particularly in innovation sectors like the life sciences, IT and cyber security, green-tech, advanced manufacturing, global trade, aerospace and space.

We are home to world class institutions of science, discovery, and higher learning like the University of Maryland, and 50 federal facilities.

What’s more, in Maryland we rank #1 in America in public education, so says Education Week magazine for an unprecedented four years in a row. It’s no coincidence that the Milken Institute ranks us #1 in America for investing in our own human capital, the talents and skills of our people.  What’s more, we rank #1 in research and development per capita.  Milken says we’re #2 for science and technology assets.  We are among the three states best positioned in the new economy, according to the Kaufman Index.  And the United States Chamber of Commerce – hardly a spokesperson for the Maryland Democratic Party or the O’Malley Brown Administration – ranks us as a Top 5 state for Growth and a Top 7 state for innovation and entrepreneurship.

But traditionally we’ve lagged behind in entrepreneurial activity.  In 2010, we ranked 37th in the Kaufman index.  In 2011, with the hard work of innovative Marylanders from across our State, we were able to climb to 20th.  But better isn’t good enough.  20th isn’t good enough. Our goal is to be #1.

To create jobs and get to #1,… the work that all of today’s honorees are doing is so very important;

To create jobs and get to #1,… this Cupid’s Cup matters.

And because we want to create jobs and get to #1, we’re so very excited about the launch of Startup Maryland earlier today here at the University of Maryland – and we’re excited about its mission to connect entrepreneurs with the recourses to succeed.  I understand, more than 200 Maryland entrepreneurs are involved with Startup Maryland.

Sparking Entrepreneurship

There are a number of things we can do – and are doing – to cross the delta of opportunity between the research that goes on in our State, and our ability to transfer that research out of the labs and into the job creation in the market.  I thought I’d share with you just a few of them:

First is through two of the most important words for entrepreneurship and job creation: Venture.  Capital.  If we are going to create the next Under Armor, the next Google, the next Microsoft here in Maryland, it begins with venture capital.  Venture capital from the Maryland Venture Fund is what allowed Moodlerooms, an education software company in Baltimore City, to grow from 2 to more than 90 employees.

Venture capital is the lifeblood of entrepreneurship, and therefore, last year we created InvestMaryland to pump the largest single shot of venture capital in our State’s history into Maryland’s economy.  Earlier this month, we held a first-in-the-nation online auction to raise $84 million to make this a reality (exceeding our goal of $70 million).

Secondly, is by investing in education. To create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments: investments by all of us, for all of us. That’s not a Democratic or a Republican idea; it’s an economic and historic truth. It was true for our parents, it was true for our grandparents, and it is a truth that has built our State and has built our country. These modern investments are not free. And nobody else is going to do this for us, except for us.

Maryland’s economy is an Innovation Economy, and in an Innovation Economy, the single most important, modern investment we can make is in the skills and education of our workforce.  Therefore, even as we’ve cut $7.5 billion in state spending – the most in Maryland’s history – we’ve made record investments in K-12 education.  And we’ve also invested to make tuition more affordable for more families here at the University of Maryland and at all Maryland’s public four year colleges and universities.

We are investing directly into Maryland’s Innovation Economy, through for example the $1.3 billion BioMaryland initiative, the Biotech Tax Credit, the R&D Credit, and Stem Cell Research.

And we’re asking the General Assembly to join us in investing in Maryland’s transportation infrastructure, so we can upgrade, repair, build, and maintain the transportation network necessary to attract the jobs, businesses, and opportunities of the new economy to Maryland.

We’re also asking the General Assembly to join us in creating the Maryland Innovation Initiative with the goal of transferring 40 new technologies out of the lab and into the market to create jobs within a year.  President Loh and the University of Maryland have shown great leadership in teaming with Johns Hopkins and Morgan State University to make this initiative – and the historic partnership it represents – a reality.

Inspired by the success of the Cupid Cup, today we’re announcing a first-of-its kind contest, hosted by the Governor’s Office, the University of Maryland, and the Baltimore Angels – a great team of entrepreneurs and business leaders who make angel investments in startups.

Using the new online, multi-media platform known as “Pinterest” – we’re asking Marylanders to pitch their best new business ideas.  The Baltimore Angels are offering some great prizes to the winners – and we’ll be featuring the winning ideas on our “Pinterest” page.


Our parents didn’t give us a car, they gave us a country.  This isn’t something we trade in, it is something we build up.  That’s what your work is all about.  Creating jobs, advancing innovation, sparking entrepreneurship,… that’s how we move forward in a changing, increasingly knowledge-based global economy.

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