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Business Pulse - Monitoring Maryland's Business Beat

Comparatives
STEM graduates increase 37% since 2006
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Capital
ExportMD assists Eastern Shore business
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Companies
Eyeglass manufacturer opens Northeast HQ
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2014 legislative session fosters economic progress

With the 2014 legislative session concluded, Secretary Dominick Murray (left) sat down to recap how Governor O'Malley's approved budget supports DBED programs. The Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF), which offers financial assistance to companies, counties, and research studies, received a $7.4M infusion; the State Arts Council, which helps revitalize A&E districts and education programs, received $17.1M; and the Office of Tourism Development, known for promoting MD attractions, received $14.4M. Lastly, three tax credit programs also received funding increases, including the Biotechnology and Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credits, and the Research and Development Tax Credit.

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InvestMaryland Challenge finalists announced
After evaluating 260 applicants in two thorough rounds of judging, the finalists for the 2014 InvestMaryland Challenge have been announced. The 12 startups – competing for $100,000 prizes in Information Technology, Life Science, General Industry, and Cybersecurity categories – include Maryland firms DinnerTime, ClickMedix, Pulse8, Harpoon Medical, Brain Sentry, Vasoptic Medical, Foodem.com, Staq, Light Point Security, Luminal, and ZeroFox, and New York based Healthify. The winners will be honored at a finale, taking place Monday, May 19th, at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

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ExportMD assists Eastern Shore business
Bel-Art Products is just one of the companies to take advantage of DBED's ExportMD Program, which provides financial assistance to businesses looking to market services and products internationally. In February, the Pocomoke City manufacturer traveled to Portugal and Malta to attend European Union sales meetings for its two largest customers. As a result, the company received four orders totaling nearly $270,000. Mary Seto, Executive Vice President of Bel-Art commented, "International sales is an expensive endeavor, and government assistance from programs like DBED's ExportMD help make it possible for us."

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MD receives good rankings for small business
Recent studies show that owning a small business in Maryland is not only a smart investment, but a step towards equal opportunity for female entrepreneurs. Maryland ranks 9th in the country for the growth of women-owned businesses, increasing 75% since 1997, seven percent higher than the U.S. growth rate of 68%. Meanwhile, the cost of buying a business in Baltimore is down 11% from last year, and small businesses continue to profit. According to BizBuySell, small business revenue increased more than $16,000 this first quarter, compared to Q1 in 2013.

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STEM graduates increase 37% since 2006
Earlier this month, Governor O'Malley held a video chat with students from UMBC and UMUC through Google Hangouts. During the stream, the Governor announced Maryland schools have increased STEM graduates by 37% since 2006, climbing from 9,500 to over 13,000. Most recently, new STEM education programs – which include science, technology, engineering, and math – have been announced, including technology entrepreneurship at UMD and biotechnology and management at Mount St. Mary's. The Governor's STEM Task Force, created in 2008, is on track to meet its goal of increasing STEM graduates in Maryland by 40% by 2015.

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Eyeglass manufacturer opens Northeast HQ in MD
California vision care company VSP Global has opened its first Northeast manufacturing facility in Baltimore County. The center is in Halethorpe, at a location that provides plenty of space for expansion opportunities – which may be necessary if the company moves forward with producing products for Google. The lens lab has the capability to process prescription orders for the upcoming Google Glass technology expected later this year. VSP says the new location could potentially grow from four to 40 employees in the next two years.

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Economic Snapshot
  • Marylandís February 2014 unemployment rate was 5.7%, ranking 17th in the country.
  • Marylandís unemployment rate fell 0.9% in one year, since Feb. 2013.
  • The Port of Baltimore handled $52.6 billion in international cargo in 2013, ninth for the total dollar value for all U.S. ports.
  • The Port of Baltimore handled 30.3 million tons of international cargo in 2013, 14th for cargo tonnage for all U.S. ports.

Featured Event

Celebration of International Trade: Conference and Exposition
May 22 | Linthicum

Whether your company already has an international presence, or is looking to get into a new market, the Celebration of International Trade Conference can help. Meet with seasoned trade representatives and hear how you can succeed globally. Learn more.

Secondary event
Annual Meeting & Business Hall of Fame Awards
May 6 | Upper Marlboro
One of the year's largest networking events, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual membership meeting and inducts three top business leaders into the Maryland Business Hall of Fame. Learn more.
Secondary event
Aberdeen Proving Ground Spring Technology Expo
April 23 | Aberdeen

Join over 500 attendees and up to 70 vendors at the expo focused on information technology, research, intelligence, and communication systems support. Learn more.

Bonus Bulletins

+ Maryland businesses strongly optimistic this spring, Fed survey shows
+ Building your Maryland business in Caroline County
+ Maryland travel guide offers $2,500 in discounts
+ RedOwl Analytics praises Baltimore's business friendliness
+ Small Business Administration to honor 14 Maryland business leaders
+ Building your Maryland business in Worcester County

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