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2014 applications are no longer being accepted.
View the 2014 InvestMaryland Challenge Finalists

View a special message from Governor Martin O'Malley


Are you an entrepreneur in need of a jump start?

The InvestMaryland Challenge is a national seed and early-stage business competition hosted by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development in partnership with Inc. Magazine. The Challenge will award $400,000 in grants and a host of business services to companies in the life sciences and high tech industries. Grants are provided by the Department's Maryland Venture Fund and the BioMaryland Center.

Companies also have the opportunity to receive direct investments from venture capital firms and angel investors.

  • Fewer than 25 employees
  • Annual revenue less than $1 Million
  • Duly-organized legal entity

The competition is for independent ventures in the seed, start-up, or early-growth stages. The company must be a duly-organized legal entity and in good standing with the state in which they are legally registered. Sole proprietorships are not eligible. Existing Maryland ventures must have a principal place of business in Maryland. Non-Maryland ventures are expected to establish a place of business in the state either through acquired space or a state incubator. At least 51% of the grant money must be spent within the state. Entrants can only apply for one category. A non-refundable $100 application fee required. Subject to other requirements.

$100K Categories

IT Hardware & Software
Businesses in industries including but not limited to cloud computing, data mining & analytics, forensic tools, geospatial, data management, social media & apps, cellular tools, and e-commerce (Open to Maryland companies only).

2014 Finalists:

Life Sciences
This category covers a broad range of products and services critical to the life science ecosystem including, but not limited to Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices, Diagnostics and Therapeutics (Open to Maryland companies only).

2014 Finalists:
Harpoon Medical
Brain Sentry
Vasoptic Medical

Businesses in industries that development products and services to protect computer and network systems from unauthorized access and attacks including but not limited to information security, data storage, backup and recovery. (Open to Maryland companies only).

2014 Finalists:
Light Point Security

General Industry
This category is open nationally to all industries and covers a broad range of technologies focused on Maryland’s top industries including, Energy, Agriculture, Aquaculture, Maritime, Clean Tech, IT, Life Sciences and Manufacturing and concepts with high social impact. (Open to Maryland & Non-Maryland-based companies).

2014 Finalists:

IT Hardware & Software

2014 Judges

Life Science

2014 InvestMaryland Challenge Judges


2014 InvestMaryland Challenge Judges


2014 InvestMaryland Challenge Judges


September 5, 2013 Application Submissions Open
October 29, 2013 Maryland Entrepreneur Breakfast
December 6, 2013 Application Submission Closes
December 2013 Judges Boot Camp
January 24, 2013 Night Out with the Judges Networking Reception
January 31, 2014 Round 1: Application & Business Plan Review
February 2014 Top 50 Semi-Finalists Announced
February 2014 Round 2: Face-to-Face Interviews
March 2014 Finalists Announced
April 2014 Finale Awards Ceremony
* all dates subject to change


Governor’s Cup Awards

$100,000 - IT Hardware/Software
$100,000 - Cybersecurity
$100,000 - Life Sciences
$100,000 - General Industry

Provided by the Maryland Venture Fund
and the BioMaryland Center

Incubator Space

$75,000 in Laboratory Incubator Space
from Army Research Lab (Adelphi, MD)
$60,000 in Laboratory Incubator Space
from Army Research Lab (Aberdeen, MD)
$18,000 in Incubator Space
from TowsonGlobal

Cash & Grants

$10,000 Rural Entrepreneur Award
from Rural Maryland Council and ESEC
$2,500 Cash Prize
from i-Lighting
$1,500 Prototype Development & Commercialization Award
from Sterilex
$500 Grant
from Morgan State University

Consulting & Services

$50,000 Software Services Package
from Microsoft BizSpark
$3,000 in Kauffman Fastrac Tech Venture Course Scholarships
from Montgomery College
$2,500 in SBIR Grant Proposal and Consulting Assistance
from BioHealth Innovation
Logo & Creative Services
from MOS Creative

Consulting & Services

$25,000 Life Sciences R&D Award
from Noble Life Sciences
$5,000 in Legal Services
from Whiteford Taylor Preston
$5,270 in Web design & Development Services
from Buzzquake Marketing


2014 applications are no longer being accepted.
Applications accepted September 5th - December 6th 2013
All InvestMaryland Challenge Applicants Receive The Following:
  • Scoring and business feedback from the Challenge judges
  • Placement in the Challenge applicant database
  • Free admission to the Maryland Entrepreneur Breakfast – Fall 2013
  • Free admission to the Night Out With the Judges Networking Event- Winter 2013
  • Free admission to the InvestMaryland Challenge Finale – April 2014
  • Ongoing social media promotion

Partner With Us

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development invites you to partner with us on the 2014 InvestMaryland Challenge! As an IMC Partner, you will work directly with Challenge affiliates, applicants, judges, sponsors and other partners to promote, advance and inspire the entrepreneur community in Maryland. In addition to networking opportunities, IMC Partners will receive the following:

Partner Benefits
  • On-going promotion and recognition
  • Your logo on and marketing materials
  • Opportunity to score applications
  • Access to the TechMATCH applicant database
  • Complementary tickets to all Challenge events
  • Social media promotion
Partner Contributions
  • Provide a cash or in-kind award valued at $500 or more to the company of your choice
  • Designate at least one management-level industry expert from their staff to score applications
  • Place the IMC logo on their organization’s website with hyperlink
  • Actively distribute IMC information to affiliate members of their organization
  • Actively promote the partnership through social and traditional media
  • Allow IMC to have exposure at select partner organization events
  • Provide a hi-res logo

To participate, please provide the following information to Michelle Jackson at Partner Organization Name, Point of Contact Name, Address, Phone Number & Email Address, Description of Award & Award Value, Judge Name, Title, Head Shot, Bio (one paragraph only).


Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Please Contact Us?

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