Maryland Commerce, Maryland Business Innovation Association Launch the “Maryland Business Innovation Challenge”

Initiative brings together Maryland’s innovation and corporate communities to solve real-time business challenges

BALTIMORE, MD (December 15, 2020) — The Maryland Department of Commerce is partnering with the Maryland Business Innovation Association (MBIA) to launch the Maryland Business Innovation Challenge (MDBIC), a unique program which will bring together the state’s corporate community with local innovators to solve real-time business challenges.

Through this initiative, larger corporations will submit “challenge statements” that will be distributed throughout the state’s extensive innovation network. In response, Maryland’s innovation community – including startups, academia, and other small businesses – will pitch potential solutions. Participating corporations will benefit from access to talent, technology, and new ideas that may not be realized within their internal R&D efforts. Innovators will benefit from new professional relationships, customer feedback, market exposure, and ultimately unique and significant business opportunities.

“The Maryland Business Innovation Challenge is a great opportunity for our corporate community and our innovators to build new connections, accelerate business opportunities, and raise the awareness of the immense talent of our state’s innovation network,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “We are confident this challenge will help us to grow stronger, more competitive companies, attract investors, and ultimately create more jobs.”

In Fall 2021, the Maryland Business Innovation Challenge Celebration will be held to share the many positive stories, outcomes, opportunities, and best practices that have been realized within this challenge and throughout Maryland’s extended innovation community during the prior year.

Mike Thielke, MBIA’s board president, shares his enthusiasm for the Maryland Business Innovation Challenge. “The Innovation Challenge provides a valuable opportunity to create an open innovation platform and reverse pitch model that accelerates solutions to current industry challenges and enhances Maryland’s global reputation as a place for innovation.”

Currently, IBM and Healthworx, the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, have committed to be MDBIC’s premier “Corporate Challengers”.

John Joaquin, managing executive at IBM states that “Innovation is critical to growing an equitable society and IBM is honored to be part of Maryland Business Innovation Challenge to help identify expertise and promote entrepreneurialism in the State of Maryland.”

Healthworx operates at the intersection of healthcare and innovation by creating, co-creating and investing in companies that are improving healthcare quality, accessibility and affordability.

“We’re on a mission to develop a community and ecosystem around early-stage entrepreneurship that helps people live healthier lives,” said Emily Durfee, Healthworx program manager. “The Maryland Business Innovation Challenge is a unique opportunity for Healthworx to support healthcare entrepreneurs and the wider health innovation ecosystem, and collaboratively build a healthier future.”

TEDCO and Nemphos Braue, LLC, have also joined as visionary sponsors to support this important ecosystem development initiative.

If you would like to be involved as a corporate challenger or sponsor of the Maryland Business Innovation Challenge, email  If interested to receive updates or participate in the challenge – register at:

About Maryland Commerce

The Maryland Department of Commerce stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit

About MBIA

The Maryland Business Innovation Association (MBIA) is a network of incubators, innovations centers, accelerators, co-working spaces and academic entrepreneur centers – that supports the many facets of innovation in our state. Our mission is to improve the economy and business environment for entrepreneurs and innovators through member-based resources, connections, and services. Our vision is an ecosystem where innovation can succeed.

Leave a Reply